What Readers are Saying - 84 Ribbons

84 Ribbons

Holly's Review from GoodReads ★★★★★ June 7, 2014

84 Ribbons is one of the best books I've read in a while. I love ballet and think it is beautiful so I thought this would be a light summer read. It wasn't but it was a really beautiful,heartbreaking story.

The book is set in the 50's and Marta is a very dedicated and quite mature 17 year old perusing a ballet career. Her dream since a young girl. She is not your average teenager wanting to go to the mall. Her commitment and love for ballet is serious. She chases a dream and goes to extreme lengths pushing herself to her limit to get what she's been wanting forever. Keeping herself slim and purposely dieting to look like a true ballerina. Hitting some small bumps along the way and a few major ones, she still keeps her dream in sight. This is an inspirational, educational, beautiful story. It's also sad. It made me smile, laugh and almost cry a few times. It made me sigh from the beauty of the visions of her dancing but then had me huffing over her misfortune. Marta is a strong young woman. I was always keeping hope up for her.


I’ve always been fascinated with ballet. I used to watch it and be in wonder, because they looked like they were floating. When you start to look at the struggles, and misfortunes that can happen in the life of a dancer, then you really see a story. Paddy Eger’s “84 Ribbons” is one of those stories.

Marta, 17, has been accepted into the Intermountain Ballet Company. It’s all she’s ever wanted. But, as we all know, no fairy tales happen in life, and Marta experiences that first hand, she’s away from home, lonely, trying to make friends, and trying to succeed when it seems like everything is stacked against her. The ballet mistress is set against her, and causes her to struggle and make tough choices.

For a YA novel, this is an interesting option. I expected a ballet story that only teetered on the edge of unhappy, and provide us with a beautiful, happy ever after picture of life as a ballerina, but Eder doesn’t choose that route. She provides real struggles, honest characters, and situations which call for a person to reevaluate what they truly want in life. I did feel it was a bit deep for a YA novel, but wonderfully well written. I don’t know much about ballet, so I can’t speak on the reality of this world and these situations, but to me, as a reader, I felt Marta was a good character. A bit naïve and a little fragile at times but overall, a character that can be built up and torn down through the novel to create a solid coming of age story. Download the full review PDF here or visits Rebecca's Reads.

Reviewed by Cianna Reider for Rebecca’s Reads

February, 2014


84 Ribbons was my first accepted book request (from Netgalley). I can honestly say it was an absolute pleasure reading this book!

84 Ribbons is about 17 year old, Washington State native Marta traveling to Billings, Montana to fulfill her dreams as a professional ballerina. While there she makes life long friendships, finds love, looses herself and begins the journey of finding out who she is. As a child she figured that it would take her 84 worn pointe shoe ribbons for her to be ready to dance her first solo piece professionally. The story takes you through her many trials and tribulations in an attempt to meet this goal.

There are 3 things that this book contained that I personally thoroughly enjoyed. Read more of Anna's review on brunette with brains...

Reviewed by Anna Swenda of brunette with brains