Turning Blog Tour | Review + Mood Board
Author: Joy L. Smith
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Denene Millner Books/Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 1 March 2022
Hello Book lovers and welcome to my stop on TBR and Beyond blog tour for Joy L. Smith’s emotionally raw and unflinchingly honest, coming of age YA Turning, which explores tough themes such as toxic/ dysfunctional relationships (both familial and romantic) identity, regret and discrimination in the exclusive and highly competitive world of Ballet.
Today I’ll be sharing my review and Mood Board which I definitely had fun creating (I hope you enjoy it too.)
I also wanted to say a massive thank you to TabR and Beyond and Simon& Schuster for providing me with an e-arc.
You can also find the rest of the Tour Schedule down below.
In this raw, searingly honest debut young adult novel, a former aspiring ballerina must confront her past in order to move forward from a devastating fall that leaves her without the use of her legs.Genie used to fouetté across the stage. Now the only thing she’s turning are the wheels to her wheelchair. Genie was the star pupil at her exclusive New York dance school, with a bright future and endless possibilities before her. Now that the future she’s spent years building toward has been snatched away, she can’t stand to be reminded of it—even if it means isolating herself from her best friends and her mother. The only wish this Genie has is to be left alone.
But then she meets Kyle, who also has a “used to be.” Kyle used to tumble and flip on a gymnastics mat, but a traumatic brain injury has sent him to the same physical therapist that Genie sees. With Kyle’s support, along with her best friend’s insistence that Genie’s time at the barre isn’t over yet, Genie starts to see a new path—one where she doesn’t have to be alone and she finally has the strength to heal from the past.
But healing also means confronting. Confronting the booze her mother, a recovering alcoholic, has been hiding under the kitchen sink;the ex-boyfriend who was there the night of the fall and won’t leave her alone; and Genie’s biggest, most terrifying secret: the fact that the accident may not have been so accidental after all.
I found this such an incredibly moving and emotional read, truthfully I cried more than once reading this and loved how honest and heartbreakingly personal Genie’s experiences were—she starts out pretty angry and frustrated with the world and takes out her helplessness on everyone around her. It’s understandable of course but I couldn’t help but felt deeply for her mum, who definitely took the brunt of it.
Joy L.Smith does touch upon some pretty hard topics that impacted Genie’s upbringing such as her fathers’ abandonment, an incident of domestic violence and her mother’s struggle with alcoholism. But still she perseveres despite the obstacles and shows just how smart (and successful) she can be when she puts her mind to it—I honestly loved that!
Spending time with Kyle who has struggles and issues of his own, being a supportive and patient friend when Genie is feeling overwhelmed was a lovely change of pace and their chemistry together was really good—completely different from the kind of relationship she has with Nolan (which we see in flashbacks. They were definitely friend/ couple goals.
Nolan was definitely my least liked character—I despised him and his toxic, emotionally manipulative energy but was definitely satisfied with the outcome of his story arc.
There’s also a lot of emphasis on Ballet, the passion, the drive, the artistry (and obsession) that’s needed to thrive in such a highly stressful,competitive environment. I did love seeing Ballet through Genie’s POV— a POC who’s experiences, barriers and limitations due to discrimination or stereotyping is also refreshingly eye opening.
There’s not much more I can say without spoiling the entire plot but I definitely recommend that fans of coming of age YA and Nicola Yoon should definitely give this a read, but don’t forget the tissues cause it does get quite emotional.
Also, just wanted to say a huge thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and Simon & Schuster for the digital arc.