cover image Someday Dancer

Someday Dancer

Sarah Rubin. Scholastic/Chicken House, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-545-39378-2

It’s 1959, and 14-year-old Casey Quinn of Warren, S.C., knows she was born to dance, even as she imagines her neighbors’ opinion of her: “She ain’t got no grace, and she ain’t no beauty, neither.” In a lively first-person narrative, Casey shares her determination to live her dream, despite her family’s poverty, which has prohibited dance lessons and kept her mother and grandmother working long hours to make ends meet. Encouraged by her grandmother, Casey makes her way to open auditions at the School of American Ballet in New York City, wearing the secondhand clothes of her nemesis, wealthy Ann-Lee (“the Priss”). After eliminating Casey from round one, Mr. Balanchine sends her to audition for Martha Graham, whose style Casey recognizes as her calling: “You could dance anger like this.... Or joy, or sadness, or anything.” Accepted into the scholarship program, Casey embraces her opportunity, while struggling to manage the demands of family, friendship, and school. Deftly balancing themes of good fortune and passion, hope and heartache, Rubin’s fine debut will appeal widely to artists and dreamers alike. Ages 12–18. Agent: Lindsey Fraser, Fraser Ross Associates. (Aug.)