One, Two, Three… by Elodie Nowodazkij
Publication date: June 26th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.
Last year, Natalya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.
But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.
At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present, and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell.
But when upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.
Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?
Book Review ~ ‘One, Two, Three…’ by Elodie Nowodazkij ~ 4 – 4.5 Stars!
I have a weakness for stories featuring Ballet dancers, and I knew as soon as I read the blurb that ‘One, Two, Three’ was going to be a interesting read.
Elodie Nowodazkji did a fantastic job at introducing the reader to the characters. Straight away I connected to them, and I could feel Natalya’s grief at the loss of her father, and her pain at having her future as a ballet dancer ripped away from her before it could begin.
It was the psychological aspects of this novel that really drew me in, and the author wrote them with such conviction that I felt myself absorbed in the emotional pains and stresses that NNatalya and her mother were going through. Having Natalya’s mother as an alcoholic added another dimension to the story which had my mind reeling with the implications. Would she become violent, emotionally or physically abusive? Or perhaps neglectful? All of the questions rose and I just had to keep reading to find out how Natalya’s home life would play out, and whether the unspoken truths that the two women were feeling would escalate in a way that made their relationship unsalvageable.
Antonio was a real breath of fresh air as a character. He swept in and attempted to keep the moments he was with Natalya light, even reminders of his own painful past returned. It was a sad realisation to see just how much young people are exposed to the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and the ways in which they will use it to escape their troubles. I loved that this story really brought in everyday issues that young people face, as it made it more realistic to read, and giving it all that more of an impact.
I adored how well rounded and developed the secondary characters were, and it was because of this that the novel really excelled. It was cleverly written how these characters were thrust into Natalya’s life, and the uncertainty Natalya feels towards letting people get too close, as it echoed perfectly the safe, solitary sanctuary that Natalya had created for herself at ‘The School of Performing Arts’, and the swift changes she had to make when she returned to a ‘normal’ life.
The only thing that is keeping me from rating this book at 5 stars, is the occasional stunted dialogue and development I felt there was in only a couple of scenes, almost as though it needed just one more look over by a beta reader. The scenes where Natalya gives in to alcohol, especially after her derision and disgust at her mother’s alcohol consumption seemed very suddenly out of character, and I didn’t quite feel her argument with Antonio flowed so well in this instance.
Nevertheless, this was a really wonderful, heartfelt book which is packed with the feel-good factor as we see a young girl overcome her past, and fight for her right to dance.
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Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives in Germany with her husband and their cat (who doesn’t seem to realize he’s not human), and uses her commuting time to write the stories swirling in her head. She’s also a serial smiley user.
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