By Lynn Swanson
When 13-year-old Sara Sutherland lands a dream spot at the prestigious Lakewood Dance Camp, she knows it’s time to work. Her parents can only afford to send her for one year, and she must win a scholarship for next summer. But with a distracting boys’ camp across the lake, a tricky modern class and a difficult Russian ballet teacher, can Sara stay focused and conquer her technical shortcomings?
Summer Dance follows Sara’s experiences over the nine-week summer program as she makes friends with the girls in her cabin and learns to truly lift up on pointe. Written by former dancer and dance teacher Lynn Swanson, the 260-page tween novel is clearly geared for those in the art: She references real-life companies, choreographers and artists, and the dialogue reflects actual technical corrections a student might hear in class. (Swanson provides a glossary for the non- or novice dancer, as well as a list of critical thinking questions to spark discussion.) With many tween novels to choose from, Summer Dance is a book that may inspire young readers. Sara and her friends are determined dancers with solid work ethics—great fictional role models for your students.