Thursday, 28 January 2016

Review and Author Interview: One Dream Only & One, Two, Three (Broken Dreams #0.5 & #1) by Elodie Nowodazkij

*I recieved ARCs from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not in any way affect my opinion, and all thoughts expressed in this review is unbiased and my own.*

Title: One, Two, Three
Author: Elodie Nowodazkij
My rating: 4 hearts
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: June 26th 2014
Publisher: Createspace
Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.

Last year,seventeen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.

But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.

At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present. Keeping him an arabesque away proves to be a challenge for Natalya and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell.

When upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself? (synopsis from Goodreads)

My thoughts: This is a review of both One, Two, Three and the prequel novella One Dream Only.
One Dream Only
   I’m not usually a big fan of novellas, and prefer reading full novels, but I enjoyed this one. I thought it was nice to see exactly what happened before One, Two, Three, and I think it gave a different meaning, a different understanding, to Natalya and what happened to her at the beginning of the book. I thought it was a bit boring, and at first, it was hard to get into the story, but it got better. And the jumping from before the audition and after it could’ve been one of the reasons it was so hard to get into the story. But overall it was a good novella, and I enjoyed reading it, and it brings another depth and understanding to the story.
One, Two, Three
   I liked the main character, Natalya. She wasn’t as relatable as I’d hoped, but she was a good character. Her reactions to everything that happens makes sense, and I could relate to some of it. The book was a lot about how she had to deal with not being able to dance anymore, to go back to the small town where her grandmother lived before she died, with her alcoholic mother. One of the best things about Natalya was that she wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes, sometimes big mistakes, but she learned from them, and she grew a lot throughout the book. I loved seeing how she was learning, slowly, to not hide everything and lock it up inside and pretend everything’s fine, and to ask for help, to let people help.

   I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about Tonio at first, but I grew to like him more and more throughout the story, and the relationship between him and Nata feels realistic. It’s not perfect, but which relationship is perfect? I liked it.
   One of the things I liked the most about One, Two, Three was Natalya’s best friend, Becca. She was a great friend to Natalya, she was always there for her, even when Natalya pretended everything was fine and said she didn’t need help. Becca is the kind of friend anyone would be lucky to have.
   And I absolutely adored Karina, Tonio’s little sister. She was such a contrast to Natalya with her giddiness and hopefulness, and I think she was like a fresh gust of wind on a warm summer day for this book.
   The plot was good, a little boring at times, but generally good. The ending wasn’t too predictable, which is a big plus, because when I started reading, I thought I had an idea of how it would end, but I was wrong.
   It was a really touching story about family and friendship, and the importance to ask for help. It was a great experience. And I love the cover – might be because I dance myself, but those abandoned shoes, and her walking away from them, totally drew me in.

Thank you to the author for letting me do this interview.

1.     Which is your favourite character from your books? Why?
I love all of my main characters. I want to hug all of them. But...Nonna, the grandmother of Emilia (in A Summer Like No Other and Always Second Best) as well as Becca, the best friend of Natalya (in One Two Three) are very special to me. I was very close to my grandparents and I feel very lucky for the time I spent with them so writing grandparents is always special to me. Becca is fiercely loyal and she just spoke to me when I was writing One Two Three.

2.     What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing for a very long time. I loved loved loved the writing assignments in Middle School (especially the creative ones) and in high school, I started writing novels.

3.     What is your writing process?
I am trying to plan/outline a bit more but I used to be a pantser all the way.

4.     As a YA author, do you read YA? If not, what are your favourite genres to read? Do you have any recommendations?
I do read YA. Lots of YA. I read contemporary most, but I also really enjoy paranormal and dystopian.
If you haven’t read JELLICOE ROAD yet by Melina Marchetta, please please pick it up and tell me what you think about Jonah Griggs.
And then, Huntley Fitzpatrick’s books…I absolutely loved all of her books.
Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and The French Kiss is always my “feel good” book.
Heather Demetrios’ novels are amazing. They’re full of voice and love and hope and heartache.
And I’m also very lucky to read the books of some YA authors early as beta reader or critique partner. So I can tell you have to watch out for Katy Upperman’s book KISSING MAX HOLDEN which is coming out in 2017, Sara Biren’s novel which is also coming out in 2017, and then Jen Malone’s novel WANDERLUST which comes out this year.
Oh and I haven’t read it yet, but IN REAL LIFE by Jessica Love comes out very soon and I can’t wait to read it. And Elziabeth Briggs’ FUTURE SHOCK also comes out very soon.
And so so much more, I can’t list them all.
5.     What are your favourite YA authors?
In no particular order:
Melina Marchetta, Judy Blume, Heather Demetrios, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Miranda Kenneally, Morgan Matson, Kasie West, Jessica Love, Jen Malone, Katy Upperman and so much more.

6.     What is your favourite moment from the Broken Dreams series?
Tough question. The moment the main characters realize they’re not alone—either because they find their own strength or because they can rely on someone else.
Love those moments.

7.     Who has been your favourite character to write about and why?
I can’t play favorite. They all have their special moments. As mentioned, I love writing the secondary characters too.

8.     Which book was the hardest to write and why?
If you ask me during the drafting process, I’m pretty sure I’d say all the books are the hardest to write Always Second Best came with some added difficulties because I wanted to make sure I stayed true to the characters from A Summer Like No Other.

9.     Your next book in the Broken Dreams series will release soon. Are you planning any more books in the series after that?
LOVE IN B MINOR comes out on March 15th and is available for pre-order for only $0.99 (Amazon,iTunes) and is about Jen.
I do have more planned in the series…I have one planned about Becca and one about Camilo. I’m also thinking of writing a novella about Roberto and one about Jen’s friend from Love in B Minor.

10.  Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write, write, write.
And dream.
And do things that are not related to writing because inspiration can strike anywhere.
And find a wonderful group of writers because being part of their adventures too is magical.

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