Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You

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9780060557034: Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You

Kayla never really thought of her double Ds as "problem breasts." It made them sound like children who wouldn't behave.

Kayla Callaway has prima ballerina grace and something else that most ballerinas don't have: a full figure. Her heart is set on a future in dance. Unfortunately, her proportions just got her cast as an ugly stepsister in Florida Arts High School's production of Cinderella. Kayla's disappointment makes her a prime suspect when the dance troupe receives a string of threatening messages.

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About the Author:

Dorian Cirrone is a first-time author who has studied and taught ballet for more than twenty years. She lives in South Florida with her husband, two children, and a pair of iguanas that appear mysteriously in her backyard every now and then.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7-10 - Kayla, a talented ballet dancer, is a junior at Florida Arts High School (aka "Farts"). She's the sort of funny, generous person anyone would love to have for a best friend. But she has a big problem that is limiting the roles she is chosen for in school productions - her breasts are so large that they interfere with the visual composition of the performances. After Cinderellatryouts, when Kayla is selected to play one of the ugly stepsisters instead of the coveted starring role, a dance teacher gently takes her aside to commiserate and suggests that she consider breast-reduction surgery. The teen is appalled, and her feminist sister, Paterson, is even more offended. Almost immediately, the students polarize into two camps: those who would "Save the Hooters" (boys) vs. those who would "Reduce the Rack" (mainly girls). The appearance in the locker room of red ballet shoes with a death threat ("Dancing in red shoes will kill you," from a Margaret Atwood poem) initially energizes Kayla into sleuthing, and she discovers that the line was meant to be an artistic statement about society's negative messages to girls and women. A subplot involving Paterson's controversial senior art project is better developed and more integral to the novel than the mystery of the shoes. It's a shame that a predictable ending, in which Kayla realizes that she does not want to force herself into conventional roles, mars this appealing story. Nonetheless, Cirrone is an author to watch, and libraries with healthy budgets should consider this title. - Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
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