Dance with Your Heart

Bronwyn Mulrooney. Bronwyn Mulrooney, $8.99 paper (204p) ISBN 978-0-620-71245-3
In this paranormal-based middle grade debut, 13-year-old dancer Gemma James attends the South African Ballet Academy in Johannesburg with her friends Dineo and Marley. Sneaking out after curfew one night, the girls meet Emily, the ghost that haunts the school. The daughter of the academy’s founder, Emily was a ballerina who died by suicide at age 16 after she learned that the boy she planned to wed had married someone else. With the help of their friend Mitchell and new student Ethan, the girls pledge to help Emily move on. Meanwhile, the Grade 7s are putting on a performance of Giselle, and Gemma hopes that landing a solo will prove she truly belongs at SABA. While the two plotlines never fully cohere, each is enjoyable as the group researches the history of the academy and Gemma deals with a bully and a crush in her quest for a solo. Despite the inclusion of a trio of stereotypical mean girls, Gemma and her friends all have authentic voices, and Gemma’s struggles resonate. Ages 8–12. (Self-published.)
Reviewed on : 10/10/2019
Release date: 05/01/2017
Genre: Children's
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