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Dax Murray

Software Engineer and Speculative Fiction Author.

Review: Second Position by Katherine Locke

Disclosure: I attended college with the author of this book.

"Second Position" came out about a month ago, but sat in my "to-read" pile for a bit due to that hell known as 'moving' happening. I was finally able to get around to it, and am really glad I did. Before I go further, though. I must make appropriate trigger warnings for the book itself. It discusses recovery for alcohol addiction, and recovery from an eating disorder. I had to put this book down several times, as I am in recovery for an eating disorder and it would get triggering.

The book is part of what people are calling the "New Adult" genre, for those of us who loved YA books, but are now finding ourselves less and less in the heroines and heroes as we battle student debt, the first job, and the dissolution of those high school and college romances. What happens when you realize George Cooper, dashing and 17 in the first book, is getting younger and younger?

"Second Postion" is a book about growing up, about dealing with change in other people and change in yourself.  Aly and Zed, the main characters, suffered a traumatic car accident four years to the start of the book. This accident has left them both scarred. The careers they had in dancing seemed so sure, so strong and reliable until that car crash. Now they must face the demon's they've been avoiding.

This is definitely a character-driven novel. The tension in the story comes from within both Aly and Zed, and between them. They are both their own worst enemy, and the others.  This book is about them overcoming their shared and individual trauma's and trying to fit back into the way things were.

The prose was like music, slow, then a crescendo, finally staccato. Then the coda and it repeats again. At points it wasn't clear if it was a poem or prose or both. There was a lot of mileage in the homophones of "barre" and "bar". and the comparing of addictions.

I did not read "Turning Pointe" before reading this novel, and I did not feel as though I'd missed out on anything. The back story was done justice throughout the novel. Enough details given to give the sketch, and the rest given to fill in the details as the story went on.

Because I'd seen the author worry over this: It does pass the Bechtel Test at least twice by my count. Once, when Aly and her mother go to the store, and once when Aly and a student discuss dance technique. With that said, this is primarily a romance, and almost all of the dialogue and interactions are between Aly and Zed.

Overall I would recommend this book if you are in a good place to read a tale of tragedy and hope and romance. It's not, in my opinion, the lighthearted beach read of the summer. Maybe the reflective camping-trip read of the autumn, though.


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