Title: Swan Boy
Author: Nikki Sheehan
Publication: May 5th 2016 by Oneworld Publication
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Dance
When Johnny moves house and starts a new school he has to deal with a bully who can’t leave him alone. But help comes from an unexpected and surprising source and Johnny’s growing power soon puts him in a very special place.
A chance encounter with a swan sparks a series of events that result in Johnny playing the lead in a school ballet. His teacher wants him to live the role, and when feathers start sprouting on his chest, Johnny begins to understand his true potential. But will he be strong or brave enough to beat his bullies, take care of his brother, support his mother and find a place for himself among all the chaos that is prevailing in his life.
Shelf it on Goodreads!
I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from HMH Kids in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.
I have never been fascinated with books about dance because I haven’t tried reading one. Ever since I requested this, I didn’t know what to expect. As lovely as the cover, I was astounded by the story itself. It left me emotionally unstable, and I just want to plead for more story in this setting. Well, it’s not just about dance.
Johnny has just moved to a new school where everything feels new and unfamiliar. Since his father died, his mother is the only one supporting them financially, leading them to move into another house and enroll in another school. In this new school, he is obviously bullied and has been called Swan Boy because the onlookers saw him controlled the swan to attack Liam, the school bully. After being continuously bullied and cornered in the school, they are caught fighting and got into detention, but instead of letting them go litter-picking, they are given a chance to join a dance club to be a part of a show.
“You didn’t need to dance. Dancing is mere presentation. You did something better – you became.”
I love how the way this book was written, even though I was in a mid-reading slump, it swiftly took it away from me. Boy, am I relieved. It was a short book and a book that will definitely give you the real emotional feels. I have never been emotional for a long time by reading a book, and now, it finally gave me a deserving read.
As I told you about me being emotionally unstable, it is because of the fact that I was able to easily connect with the character and adapt with the setting. There is a thing about the characters that make them perfect for its genre. Characters with simple and kind personality combined with the writing style of the author that give the emotional aspect of the book are what I completely love, and this book had it all.
“It’s not love. It’s more like . . . awe. Johnny, when you see the beautiful swan, it’s as if a light bulb goes on in your head, and you finally know what, or who, you want to be. You don’t want too be a prince, pampered and spoilt, but ultimately held prisoner by your status. You want to be wild and free. You want to swim and fly.”
There is something about the beautiful style of writing which I really want to read in every book possible. I can feel the author pouring her heart into her book and how she delivered her writing to reality. Every word she’s written breaks my heart (in a very positive way) because she knows how to convey the story through means of making the audience emotional as the story embarks in a negative mood.
A truly recommended read for middle-grade lovers. This will twist your heart in a good way and will leave you emotional in some way. I enjoyed reading this one because of my connection with the protagonist, Johnny. Also my first time reading a book about dance and not being disappointed at all. Good job!
4 swords for being dance-tastic!
About the author:
Nikki Sheehan is the youngest daughter of a rocket scientist. She went to a convent school in Cambridge where she was taught by real nuns in long black habits. She studied linguistics and then psychology and worked as a subtitler for the Simpsons, followed by many years as a journalist. She lives in Hove near the beach with her husband, three children, two dogs, one cat and definitely no more hamsters.
Have you read any book that is about dancing or anything related to it? Comment below and let’s talk about it.