Panic

Sharon M. Draper. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0896-8
A tumultuous week in the lives of students at the Crystal Pointe Dance Academy is told through a variety of viewpoints. Justin, the academy's principal male dancer, must continually defend himself against homophobic taunts while he pines for Layla, whose low self-esteem keeps her locked in an abusive relationship. Zizi is an airhead, and Mercedes lives under the thumb of her oppressively rigid mother. Then there is Diamond, who goes to the mall for dance tights and leaves with a handsome older man who has promised her a film audition. As readers will likely predict, the film Thane is making will not be rated G. Diamond is drugged, tied to a bed, and raped repeatedly in the presence of some burly cameramen, who post the film online and rake in money. Diamond's chapters are brutal but, perhaps mercifully, they are few and far between; the story sidetracks frequently to other characters' less urgent dramas. Draper writes about the lives of teenagers with authority and believable dialogue, but the juxtaposition of banal moments with Diamond's nightmare makes the sexual violence feel uncomfortably trivialized. Ages 14–up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/25/2013
Release date: 03/01/2013
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 262 pages - 978-0-606-35447-9
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-1-4424-0897-5
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4424-0898-2
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