I was supposed to post this Saturday (whoops!), but better late than never!
All Kendra wants to do is audition for the Manhattan Dance Company. But when a debilitating illness threatens to overwhelm her, she must decide which dreams are worth fighting for.
This needs a longer summary. Kendra is wrenched away from her home in New York after her dad gets laid off, and they travel across the country to live between the vineyards of California. Soon after the move, she’s diagnosed with MS, and the world is turned upside down. Without ballet, she is no one. Now Kendra is dealing with the disease, a new school and studio, and her little brother all while dancing her way to the auditions for the Manhattan Dance Company.
I love reading about dancers and dance and ballet for some strange reason. When I was really little, I did ballet for a couple years, but nothing serious; it was just the normal toddler/ elementary schooler thing. I never particularly liked it, either. So I know nothing about ballet, I can’t dance, and I wouldn’t do it if you forced me to. Yet I love reading about it.
That being said, I obviously loved the plot. Kendra is faced to overcome normal contemporary issues like moving as well as more serious physical ailments that threaten to prohibit her dancing. Also, her little brother is autistic, so the reader goes through those hardships with Kendra, too. Basically, she has a lot of crap going on in her life and her only reprieve is ballet.
I thought there was too much stuff going on at times, though. She’s writing for the newspaper and helping in her brother’s class and dancing at her friend’s studio and dealing with the disease…. It’s too much. The plot jumped focus from one thing to the next, and I think structurally having a main issue would have been more beneficial.
I also noticed some stories seemed to start and then slowly disappear. For instance, her brother’s special needs school ended up being terrible, and the only solution that came about was that Kendra began volunteering every couple days. The book never brought up the problems again nor addressed the fact she was volunteering there. Some things were just mentioned in passing dialogue and not elaborated on when they should have been.
I did like the amount of dialogue and characters in the book, but I wasn’t feeling the writing style. In some places, the dialogue replaced actual explanations, which was confusing. And Kendra never seems to talk her problems out with her close friends, which also struck me as weird. In addition, some dialogue seems formulated and strained. I didn’t like how the scenes jumped around, though it did keep the plot moving. I felt like the scene never actually resolved, or it resolved hurriedly, before Kendra bounced to her next activity.
Overall, the premise is interesting and fun and the book is contemporary mixed with inside ballet info. I didn’t love the writing style or the structure of the novel, but it’s a quick read and keeps the reader enchanted with the story.