cover image Blue Tights

Blue Tights

Rita Williams-Garcia. Dutton Books, $12.95 (138pp) ISBN 978-0-525-67234-0

Joyce Collins seeks warmth and loving that she can't find in school or at home. When she joins an African dance ensemble, her world begins to expand. The students welcome her, the teacher accepts her. Best of all, she meets J'had, a handsome drummer whom Joyce grows to love. The ensemble teaches Joyce many things: that in order to make the audience believe in her, she must believe in herself, and that to gain respect from others she must respect herself first. It's a lesson learned painfully, only after Joyce destroys her chance to experience real love with J'had. The story ends poignantly and positively, inspiring readers to look for love and strength within. Though the time sequence is sometimes confusing, the author successfully balances Joyce's many worlds: home, school, the dance studio, the world inside herself. Joyce's understanding is believably paced and powerfully realized, and her story is uplifting. Ages 12-up. (November)