Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
369 pgs.
Target audience: Young Adult
Rating: Wizard

Despite the family tradition, Vanessa applies to the New York Ballet Academy because she needs to discover what happened to her sister, Margaret. She disappeared in her freshman year from the same institution after being cast in the lead role in the school production, The Firebird. It will come as no surprise that Vanessa is also chosen for the lead role by the perfectionist and overbearing choreographer, Josef. The male role is given to the gorgeous and charming Zeppelin who takes a keen interest in Vanessa despite his relationship with the senior queen bee, Anna. Another student, Justin, who’s secretive and standoffish manner keeps her from heeding his advice to avoid Zep. Along with the usual struggles against initiation rites, grueling schedules and senior cliques, she and her friends try to solve the mystery of Margaret’s disappearance. When one of her friends drops out without any obvious reason and the school seems oddly unconcerned, the girls’ research leads them to some frightening facts about the school’s bizarre reputation for student disappearances – each one cast in the lead role to perform Josef’s tailor made “Danse du Feu.” The rehearsal room with its eerie blackened wall with white dancing silhouettes, demonic summoning and ritualistic dancing take this teen romance to the next level. The story starts slow but picks up pace with the added supernatural element and becomes hard to put down. The descriptions of the ballet steps and routines are realistic and add to the believability of the plot. This debut balances teen romance, mystery and the occult well and leaves the reader anxious for more after the cliffhanger ending. (This book provided for review by Children's Lit -


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