A dance scholarship takes Sara from Vermont to the Jersey Ballet – can she polish her small-town technique enough to stay there? Perhaps this is her chance to become a true ballerina instead of just a ballet dancer.

Taking the city bus from her host family’s house to dance class to private high school to dance class and dance class and dance class, Sara has never been so tired. The competition is intense, as she must master enough skills to move up to the next level in a short time. No scholarships for those who progress too slowly here.

Her eyes are always drawn to strong, intense Remington, choreography contest finalist, principal male dancer at Jersey Ballet, part-time teacher at age 22. And eventually Rem is drawn to 16-year-old Sara, taking her to small restaurants in stolen moments away from the studio.

As the girls compete to be soloists in the Nutcracker and Rem’s version of Goldilocks, each battles with herself to stay slim enough, to be flexible enough, to be good enough. As Rem and Sara create a very private dance in his apartment, she wonders if she’ll ever partner with him on stage as well.

This strong novel-in-verse gives very mature readers an open window into Sara’s longings and fears, her worries about succeeding in this immense opportunity that her parents are struggling to afford, her wonderment over how differently Rem treats her when they’re in public and when they’re alone.

Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA


Sara was a small town girl, going to dance classes since she was small. But at sixteen her life is dramatically changing. After auditioning for a New Jersey ballet company, Sara receives news of a scholarship and her excitement builds Until her new life takes over. Sara has lost her cocoon of normality. Sara begins to feel the pressure of living a completely different life without her parents, her friends, her small town. But with time, things slowly begin to change, especially when she catches the attention of another dancer/choreographer, Remington, who is much older than she is. She becomes his muse, making his dance come to life as well as Sara's heart, but is Sara truly loved or being used? Newcomer Stacia Kehoe writes a novel-in-verse about the trials of a sixteen-year-old in the midst of her triumphs and tragedies.  Ages 14 and up  310 pages

* strictly high school due to some sexual content - nothing graphic, well-written, but it's there.

Recommended by: Naomi Bates, Librarian, Texas USA

Read more of her reviews at:

User reviews

Have you read this book? We'd love to hear what you think. Click the button below to write your own review!