Title: Second Position (District Ballet Company #1)
Author: Katherine Locke
Release Date: April 30, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Potential Triggers: Eating Disorder, Suicide mention, Self harm, Past Alcoholism
POV: dual first-person
My Rating: ★★★★★
Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight…
Now twenty-three, Zed teaches music and theatre at a private school in Washington, D.C. and regularly attends AA meetings to keep the pain at bay. Aly has returned to D.C. to live with her mother while trying to recover from the mental and physical breakdown that forced her to take a leave of absence from the ballet world, and her adoring fans.
When Zed and Aly run into each other in a coffee shop, it’s as if no time has passed at all. But without the buffer and escape of dance—and with so much lust, anger and heartbreak hanging between them—their renewed connection will either allow them to build the together they never had… or destroy the fragile recoveries they’ve only started to make.
“In the moments when the stage fails to save us, we’ve always sought to find the bottom of the well where things are magical again. We’re each other’s fairy tales. Maybe that’s why we always come back to each other. Our story’s not finished yet.”
Second Position has been collecting dust in my electronic TBR for a year and half now. I ended up loosing interest, but when I signed up for the 2017 New Adult Reading Challenge and saw there was a bingo space for a book at the bottom of your TBR, I knew I had to read this. I am glad that I did. Second Position is what New Adult/Sports Romance should be: actual sports and quality romance. It is a true gem, and deals with grief and reconciliation.
I love second chance romances, so right off the bat I knew I was going to enjoy Zed and Aly. I liked that their relationship before the car accident was moving in into friends to lovers, but didn’t quite make it. When they meet again in the coffee shop, it made their journey that more interesting. On top of the grief that came with the car accident, they had to try and rebuild relationship that was on the verge of something new. All of their interactions were adorable, and I loved seeing how they mended things.
Aly struggles with mental illness and an eating disorder, while Zed is disabled and a recovering alcoholic. Zed’s treatment of Aly’s eating disorder and mental illness, and Aly’s treatment Zed’s disability and struggles with alcoholism was done well. They built each other up, and were mindful of how each other’s actions impacted the other. There were two short chapters from each of their points of view. One had “Inappropriate Things People Say When You’re dating a Very Thin Dancer” and the other had “Inappropriate Things People Say When You’re Dating an Amputee”. I thought it was a really nice touch.
What I really loved about Second Position was Aly. She was an amazing character, and really the main focus of the book. Her eating disorder was portrayed so well. We get to see her get better and then relapse again, which was cool because eating disorders can’t be fixed overnight. As someone who has had an eating disorder, it was nice to see a character who struggled and had bad moments, but still worked towards getting better. Also, as an athlete who had an eating disorder, it was really nice to see that portrayed through Aly and how it played into ballet. I loved that Aly was still a work in progress by the end of the book.
Another thing I appreciated about Aly, was her therapy sessions and her dialogue with her therapist. I’ve only read one other book (Appealed by Emma Chase) where therapy is an important and recurring part of the main character’s development, so I was really happy to see that again with Aly.
The side relationships and characters in Second Position were compelling. Zed and Dan’s was relationship definitely the highlight. They both met in AA, and had been friends since. Zed reached out to Dan whenever he had problems, and they had a great support system in each other. It was a really nice change from New Adult novels where the hero just punches a wall when he is angry or hurt (you really wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve seen this happen) instead of turning to someone. (I’m really tired of the toxic masculinity in New Adult). Dan was also just a great character.
If you like lyrical writing and want to read Sports Romance or New Adult, but are tired of the tropes so common to the genre, then I would totally recommend Second Position.
“And you shouldn’t be afraid to purse what you want,”
That’s the problem. I don’t know what I want.”
“I think we just needed to both say that we haven’t finished grieving. And I don’t know if I ever will.”
“The only way you can learn to carry that grief without letting it color your interactions with the person you love and interfere in how you live your life is by accepting that.”
“I don’t know that I can do that today.”
“I know. But you’re open to that in the future.
“I want to be.”
“That’s enough for now, then.”
“It seems so utterly natural, but still makes my heart swell and sway inside my chest, like everything inside of me might slip free and float away. Happiness, I tell myself, and curl up next to him, my fingers sliding into his perpetually messy hair.
I read this for the 2017 New Adult Reading Challenge Bingo for a Book on the bottom of your TBR.