Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You

I had planned to review Pegasus next, but I wandered the bookshelves to grab some older reads to check out during my leave from work, and this review ended up coming out! Pegasus review up next, as always depending on baby arrival!


Title: Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You
Author: Dorian Cirrone
Publisher: HarperTeen 2005

Summary: Kayla never really thought of her double Ds as "problem breasts." It made them sound like children who wouldn't behave.

Kayla Callaway has prima ballerina grace and something else that most ballerinas don't have: a full figure. Her heart is set on a future in dance. Unfortunately, her proportions just got her cast as an ugly stepsister in Florida Arts High School's production of Cinderella. Kayla's disappointment makes her a prime suspect when the dance troupe receives a string of threatening messages.

First Impressions: Okay, confession time. I adore ballet. I love dance of all kinds (not that I have any talent myself, sadly) but ballet definitely holds a special place in my heart. Seeing as I am 5’10” and have an older sister who may, perhaps, still bear scars from pirouetting through a glass door at a young age, it’s no wonder I never took lessons, but I am a sucker for any and all media featuring dance or dancers. So, as I browsed the library stacks, it was inevitable that the book spine with the white tights and bright red toe shoes would grab my attention.

Good thing it wasn’t on the New Book display, face out, because the garish and punny cover would possibly have turned me off if I’d seen it before my hopes were raised. Pumpkins? Honestly?

But the book itself was cute, although a bit meh.

Plot: Well. Okay, the actual “mystery” portion of this novel was not really very well done. There wasn’t ever really any suspense about it, and the resolution isn’t especially satisfying. But, the point of the book is really about body image, feminism, and standing up for yourself. The plot starts out with the “mystery” of the red shoes, but it is quickly shoved aside by the much more interesting issues of Kayla’s decisions regarding her body and her future in ballet, and her sister’s art project and the question of censorship. Fun times! I was actually a little surprised when we returned to the shoe plot point. It had slipped my mind.

Style: While the themes may be Very Important Topics, for the most part this book is light and fun to read and doesn’t beat you over the head too much about its Message. The ending is a little trite, kind of, but not to the point it marred my appreciation of the book.

Characters: Kayla is very likable and charming, her sister and friends are realistic and the love interest is believable. The characterization didn’t knock my socks off, but it was serviceable.

Wrap Up: This book was cute and fun to read in an afternoon. I didn’t love it, but I did love having a little dash of dance in the middle of my day. This book would be great for teenage dancers to read, and anyone else with a soft spot for ballet would probably enjoy themselves as well.

Rating: 5/10

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