Growing up motherless in a neighborhood where drug dealers rule the streets, Marisol has her share of worries, but nothing can squelch her passion for music and dance. A door to opportunity opens for the 10-year-old when she wins a scholarship to the Manhattan Ballet School; still, there are obstacles to overcome. Getting the money for dance clothes is one problem, but even more pressing is finding an adult to take her safely uptown to afternoon classes. With the support of her Puerto Rican father and brother and showing real determination, Marisol manages to knock down each hurdle. Struggling for perfection, Marisol learns discipline, gains self-confidence and recognizes how others (including her ""cool and controlled"" brother and the ""rich"" girls in her dance class) experience hardships equal to her own. Scenes of the ballet school evoke both the frustration and elation of serious dance students. Scenes of Marisol's neighborhood flirt at grimness but stress the strength of community, as in Tamar's picture book The Garden of Happiness. Written with warmth and optimism, this highly readable novel is an easy choice for ballerina hopefuls, if not altogether convincing in its grasp of inner-city culture. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996 Release date: 10/01/1996 Genre: Children's
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