Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review - Dance Team: Surviving Southside

Dance Team: Surviving Southside

By: Charnan Simon
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Publication Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1467707077
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Izzy Coleman was new to Southside High and was pleased that Olivia made the effort to be friends with her. They did have a lot in common, including the fact that they loved dance. Olivia urged her to try out for the dance team and because it was a new one, Izzy figured they might have a chance, even if they were lowly freshman. When she was in the Northside High School district, Leah Velasco, captain of the dance team, was her best friend. In fact, she had given her hints and nurtured her talents for years. The Northside dance team members were kind of blown away because Leah was a real star.

It was a bit touchy because when she told Leah she was trying out it kind of seemed like "all those years coaching her seemed like a waste" because she would "be on a rival squad." Leah was super nice and quickly forgot about the whole thing. Olivia and Izzy were psyched when they made the team, but soon found out that the team captain, Camilla, was the "most competitive person on the planet." She totally drove the squad and was critical of their moves. Izzy's triple pirouettes did leave a bit to be desired and she definitely needed to practice. Like a lot.

Izzy and Olivia got centered and practiced like crazy because the regionals were coming up. It would be Leah's fourth victory, but not if Camilla had anything to say about it. Camilla "was out for blood" and her attitude started to change big time. She was always intimidating, but now she wanted to push the envelope. "You know Leah," she said to Izzy, "You can help us take her out of competition." Strange and frightening incidents began to happen. Nailing to turn combinations were one thing, but actually hurting Leah was quite another. How far would the team go to hurt her and would they force Izzy into doing something crazy, something she'd regret?

This is an exciting tale of team rivalry, a rivalry that puts Izzy into a serious bind. Many young people don't quite know what to do when they encounter a moral dilemma and have to choose alliances. In Izzy's case, she has to figure out whether or not she wants to stay true to her best friend, keep the new ones she has, or do something totally against her moral fiber. The short read, which is perfect for the reluctant reader, comes with a free downloadable discussion guide that can be accessed on the publisher's website. If you have a young reader who wants a fast-paced, dramatic read, you may wish to consider checking into this series!

Quill says: If you are a classroom teacher and want the perfect series to discuss serious teen issues, this is one you may wish to consider!

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