The Flamenco Academy

Sarah Bird, Author
Sarah Bird, Author . Knopf $25 (381p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4084-1
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-307-42862-2
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-9821-2
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When Cyndi Rae Hrncir, 17, moves with her family to Albuquerque, N.Mex., her Czech heritage makes her an outsider. When her father, and the father of "bad girl" Didi Steinberg, both succumb to cancer, the two form an alliance that strengthens as their mothers descend into grief. Cyndi then meets the charismatic, guitar-playing Tomás Montenegro, an up-and-coming star in the flamenco world, and her life changes. She studies flamenco with Tomás's great aunt, the daunting Doña Carlota Anaya de Montenegro, who raised him. Didi joins them, and the grueling physical and emotional challenges underscore the differences between the two girls. Meanwhile, their demanding teacher reveals bits and pieces of her own past in politically roiled Spain, unlocking secrets of Tomás's heritage. The emerging triangle between Cyndi, Didi and Tomás does not hold a candle to the stunning revelations about Doña Carlota's life and extraordinary history (which would have made a much more compelling novel). But Bird (The Yokota Officers Club ) delivers a story brimming with romance and visceral details of flamenco, its music and its history. (June)

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