cover image The Chance to Fly

The Chance to Fly

Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz. Amulet, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4393-1

Tony Award–winning Broadway star Stroker and veteran author Davidowitz (Freefall) combine their talents in this resonant middle grade debut. White musical theater aficionado Nat Beacon, 13, has just moved from San Francisco to Saddle Stream, N.J., with her parents, leaving behind her lifelong best friend, Chloe Suarez. While wheelchair racer Nat misses the camaraderie of her former team, her soul-deep dream of performing onstage, in a role epitomizing acceptance and friendship, drives her to audition for a community theater youth production of Wicked. Despite initial reserve—due in part to her burgeoning independence and past accessibility issues—she’s quickly absorbed into the cast, which includes handsome Malik Young, who has dark skin and locs, and whom she quickly develops feelings for; nurturing white dance captain Hudson, who is gay; outrageous white starlet Savannah Alexis; and sweet, multitalented Indian American athlete Rey Joshi. Navigating being onstage for the first time, Nat works with her new friends to translate obstacles into opportunities. Bolstered by realistic dialogue and Nat’s engaging internal narrative, this endearing novel will entrance a new generation of theater lovers and charm older ones with its allusions to beloved shows. Ages 12–up. [em]Agents (for Stroker): KMR Agency; (for Davidowitz) Hannah Mann, Writers House. (Apr.) [/em]