Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan
Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.
This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.
Flirty Dancing reminds me of a series I read back in 2009 when I was in year 9 called A Year in Girl Hell and me being the 14 year old that I was loved the series. Flirty Dancing is a four book series following 4 ex-best friends Bea, Betty, Kat and Pearl which is exactly why it reminded me of A Year in Girl Hell series because it also follows four friends who don't remain so close in their first year of high school.
A national competition called Starwars (think Australia's Got Talent for only teenagers) and Bea wants to dance in it with her best friend Kat. But it being high school and all Kat ends up with Pearl, a girl who Bea used to be best friends with but now hates (seriously don't miss high school). I loved Bea's Nan she was an excellent character and knew how to get Bea out of her comfort zone to get to her to learn swing dancing for the competition. Swing dancing is of course a partner dance which is where Ollie comes in.
Ollie is apparently Pearl's "boyfriend" which is what Bea assumes with the way she hangs around him, which is why dancing with Ollie doesn't sound like the best idea. Ollie was great for Bea he manages to get her to trust him in the most random way and how they are together is quite cute. The competition is how we saw the characters develop and as the stages went on with both the Swing Monkeys (Ollie & Bea) and the Pink Ladies (Kat & Pearls group) ending up on progressing through the competition.
Flirty Dancing is a cute, short read for YA contemporary especially for those in high school. The way Bea stands up to bullies shows readers that bullies don't always have to win and that standing up for yourself gets them to leave you alone.
Thanks Bloomsbury Australia for the ARC!