FOR THE BEST de Mariko Turk

A stunning and wholly unique story of hope and ambition, perfectionism and jealousy, grief and rebirth; a gem of a YA novel with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters and surprising turns along the way.

by Mariko Turk
Poppy/Little, Brown, Fall 2021

Last year, Alina Kane was a ballet dancer who was accepted into one of the country’s top programs on a professional track. Then, she shattered her leg. This year, Alina has two metal plates holding her bones together, exactly one friend, and zero chance of a ballet career. She is an aimless high school junior who got roped into doing the spring musical because her previous coping mechanisms (namely laying in bed eating Cool Ranch Doritos while watching contraband ballet videos) were ‘depressing everyone around her.’ And when she is cast in a sexy role opposite Jude, the (charmingly? annoyingly?) laidback lead, it seems she must transform from a ballet swan into someone else entirely. As she starts to get used to her new normal, Alina begins to re-examine her broken dream. Maybe ballet wasn’t the beautiful thing she always thought it was. Maybe it didn’t give half-Japanese girls like her the same chances it gave to white girls. Maybe it made her afraid to speak up. The problem is, Alina still loves ballet. But now she wonders if it’s stupid to love something she can’t do anymore. If it’s wrong to love something that’s so flawed. And if it’s bad to fall in love with someone when her heart was just broken, along with her leg.

A romantic, emotionally-driven contemporary YA novel that blends the swoonworthy romance of Maurene Goo, the quirks and comedy of Emma Mills, and the timely subjects of Sarah Dessen.

Mariko Turk teaches writing and rhetoric classes and works as a writing tutor at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received her PhD in English from the University of Florida, with a concentration in children’s literature, and has published articles on the American Girl series and ballet books for kids. Previously she reviewed children’s books for Booklist and The Horn Book Guide and her fiction has been accepted for publication in Highlights.

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