ARC Review: Anything But Fine

Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden
Publication Date: 15 March 2022

For Luca, dance is everything. Ballet is his whole life – his only friends are his ballet friends. His only social life comes from ballet. Even his elite private high school has given him a scholarship to attend so that they can boast about his talents. He is on the road to being accepted into the Australian Ballet School and to the life he has always wanted. Until a tumble down a flight of stairs shatters the bones in his foot. The doctors put in all of the plates and screws to put his foot back together, but tell him he will never be able to dance again.

And then Luca loses everything. He loses his first love – ballet. He alienates himself from his friends because he can’t bear to listen to them talk about things he can no longer have. He pushes away his father. And he loses his scholarship and therefore his place at the private school, and has to change to the local public school instead. But a chance meeting with Jordan (cute and hot and athletic and unfortunately STRAIGHT), and a new friendship with the smart, quirky, irresistible Amina show Luca that maybe his life isn’t quite over yet.

Madden’s writing style is just so lovely, and he takes us along on this emotional roller coaster, and we never want to get off. I appreciated the way he showed us the aftermath of such a life-changing injury, and how Luca withdraws and then lashes out and how he makes mistakes, just as we all do. It’s an honest look at how terrifying it can be when we are forced to imagine a new path in our lives. But also how rewarding and truly beautiful it can be when we allow ourselves to take that path.

Tobias Madden has earned insta-buy status with just this one book. I look forward to reading whatever he may write in the future.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street YA for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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