by Judy Lynn Hubbard, contemporary (2012)
Kimani, $6.25, ISBN 978-0-373-86267-2
Natasha Carter is a 26-year old ballerina who has yet to become a prima ballerina due to her unwillingness to play the casting couch as well as her often not having the "right look". While she's tired of trying to make it big only to be denied the opportunity because of reasons unrelated to her ability, she decides to audition for the role of Juliet Capulet in Damien Johnson's production of Romeo and Juliet. Of course she'd fall for Damien, but they really should keep things professional between them. They really should.
And that's basically the plot. Most of the story see these two going "Should we? Shouldn't we?" as if I don't know that they would. The author has a snappy writing style that makes this story a most readable one, but there's no hiding the fact that there is very little here that would keep me awake. The author attempts to introduce some conflict here and there, and these conflicts just have to be silly misunderstanding dramas that make both characters look like childish little kids or, always my favorite, scenes caused by jealous women.
Of course, it's okay for Damien to treat other women like crap because those women deserve such treatment for being jealous for our amazing heroine. Damien can be quite creepy in how persistent he is in pursuing our heroine despite him being the one to implement the ban on fraternization among the dancers in his company, and his treatment of those disposable women in his life makes him look like a jackass.
Natasha, on the other hand, is too perfect for her own good. She's naturally a capable dancer who is denied the opportunity to shine in a most unjust manner, she is amazing work ethics, she is liked by everyone (jealous bitches being the exception, of course), and on and on, until poor Natasha feels more like a poster girl for affirmative action than a real person.
By the late third of the story, these two are so distracted by their little petty spats that they are barely able to function professionally. I don't know whether this is the author's intention, but the moral of the day here ends up being that, sometimes, it is better for everyone if professional boundaries are respected and people stop sleeping with their colleagues. Otherwise, everyone ends up stupid.
At the end of the day, Our First Dance just lacks strong conflicts to keep the momentum going, and ends up being a tale of silly people doing sillier things.
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