Author: Caridad Ferrer
Genre: YA fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: PoC; One, Two Theme (Dance); Reading from my Shelves
FTC Disclosure: I received this from my Secret Santa and am going to donate it to my school library
Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Dance is Soledad Reyes' life. About to graduate from Miami's Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall, who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: forget teaching. Instead, why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has. But in an uncanny echo of hte story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears. One explosive encounter later, Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened but her entire future as a professional dancer in jeopardy
Review: I wasn't sure about this one when I received it and I thought it was an adult book. Boy was I wrong. I really enjoyed this novel, mostly because in some ways it is so different from other books out there.
- Theme--the book is about dance, which is uncommon in YA (and adult) lit.
- Main character--the main character is a ballerina, but she has two things going that make her not a typical ballerina: she is Latina (Cuban) and she is not stick thin, she actually has some curves. Not just curves. She is 5'10" and "solid", which I am going to assume means she's got some meat on her since it is referred to more than a couple times. Also, Soledad is into Latin dancing in addition to ballet. I really liked that we got a different perspective on the dance world, especially when Soledad joined the drum and bugle corps
- Other characters--yes, there are some typical other characters: cute boy; other love interest; a mean dad (his, not hers) who doesn't approve, but somehow it doesn't feel like the typical YA storyline. My favorite secondary character was mamacita, Soledad's grandmother. She is wise, funny, and interesting. And, she and Soledad have a wonderful relationship.
- Plot--I liked the story. I mean, really, when did you last read a book that centered on a drum and bugle corps? At our school we have drum line in the fall and percussive theater in the spring. The drum and bugle corps sounds like our percussive theater. Right now one of my Student Library Assistants is in Percussive Theater (she's an awesome drummer!) so I am going to suggest this book to her.
When I picture Miami I picture heat, palm trees, Latin music, Cuban food, bright colors and people that love life. There is a bit of that in here, but it certainly isn't over the top. This is the first book I've read set in Florida, and certainly set in Miami. I liked that the main character was Cuban, touching on that part of Miami's history without getting political. Click to see my updated Google Map.