The Ballerina & the Fighter - Ursula Sinclair Full review also posted here on TotalTeenFiction

Disclosure:I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Ballerina & the Fighter follows the lives of Ivy, a ballerina destined to study at a prestigious ballet school in New York, and Maze, a fighter of mixed martial arts. When the two meet on the beach one summer they find themselves instantly drawn to each other.

The book is told in alternating chapters between Maze and Ivy. As characters I was pretty divided on my feelings for them because I really loved Ivy but I couldn't stand Maze. Either way, they were both pretty interesting and well developed (Maze just isn't particularly nice - more later) and I found the background on both of their abilities - dancing and fighting - really interesting. I also really liked seeing the friendship between Ivy and her friend Shel. They've attended separate schools yet they have this really strong bond and it was just nice to see a friendship like that.

The connection between Ivy and Maze is pretty instant and intense. I can kind of see why the relationship moved so quickly because it's a summer romance kind of deal, and I thought there were some moments where they had some good chemistry, but some moments were a big no-no for me. This is where my dislike of Maze comes in. Within seconds of meeting Ivy he's thinking of doing things to her that make him seem like a sex-mad lunatic. Like seriously, you've just met her, don't start mentally undressing her! There was a complete contrast in Maze and Ivy's chapters because Maze is this total lad - swearing, constantly thinking about sex, where was Ivy is obviously more innocent and naive when it comes to relationships. I know some people like the controlling bad boy type, but it wasn't for me. There were plenty of moments where I just felt very uncomfortable. The final nail in the coffin was when Ivy admitted to being scared of Maze (and having been scared of him for a while). Run away Ivy! Escape whilst you still can!

My dislike of Maze didn't totally ruin the story for me. The inclusion of Ivy's roommate Dante helped because he seems like all kinds of nice and I was totally rooting for something more to come with him. I loved how he looked out for Ivy and was protective of her in a caring friend sort of way (as opposed to the possessive way Maze is). I also thought parts of Maze's life were really interesting, especially the darker sides of the fighting world. He gets drawn into some pretty scary and dramatic stuff and not by choice. There was a lot of suspense when it came to Maze being in dangerous situations and I would find myself gripped by the action.

The author managed to pull at my heartstrings a good few times during The Ballerina & the Fighter. There's some pretty emotional scenes and I liked how the traumatic moments really shook up the story. There was one particularly dramatic scene that sort of shakes up Maze and Ivy's relationship and that completely blew me away. It completely shifted the feel and tone of the book from that moment forward which I loved. I also liked the exploration of issues like racism and how the book tackles diversity as well as the fact that both Ivy and Maze come from not so traditional family set-ups.

The book falls into the NA cater gory with Ivy being seventeen - almost eighteen - and Maze being nineteen, and it explores those stronger themes that the age category tackles. There are some pretty explicit scenes throughout the story which is why I've included the disclaimer at the top. If you like your romance intense and steamy then this is for you!

The Ballerina & the Fighter is a nice short read at just under 150 pages. It was a book I got through in a day, but at the same time it felt like I'd been reading it a lot longer because I'd connected so much with the characters and been on such a roller coaster of emotions whilst reading. I really liked the writing style and the book had a very intriguing cliffhanger so I'm intrigued to see where it goes and if there's more books! I'd still carry on if there was because I feel like these characters have potential (more Dante please!). The only thing that let this book down for me was Maze and the lines I felt he crossed.

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