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Growing up in a city neighborhood, fifteen-year-old Joyce, unsure of herself and not quite comfortable with her maturing body, tries to find a place to belong and a way to express herself through dance.
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Grade 9-12 Joyce Collins stumbles through an array of adolescent crises, emerging by story's end with self-respect and recognition as a dancer. In the nitty-gritty language and world of an urban black teenager, 15-year-old Joyce rebuffs the advances of an older man, struggles for acceptance with snobbish peers, mourns an unrequited love, and aspires to a dancing career denied her lonely mother. Physique, not technique, excludes Joyce from her high school's classical ballet production of Sleeping Beauty. By accident, she intrudes on a practice session of African dancers. Joining the group, Joyce finds that her spirit, style, and abilities are at last unleashed in this dance form which reveals her talents. Although the introductory emphasis on Joyce's big ``butt'' and bustline and her subsequent sexual allure is heavy-handed, Williams-Garcia goes on to convey Joyce's eagerness to dance, hunger for acceptance, and need to be loved. In the end, Joyce develops a greater sensitivity to others and accepts responsibility for her own actions. She is no longer just ``Blue Tights'' to her ballet teacher or an object of ridicule among her peers. Readers will relate to Joyce's adolescent mood swings, be swept along with her dancing exuberance, and applaud her final success and independence. Gerry Larson, Chewning Junior High School, Durham, N.C.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Joyce Collins seeks warmth and loving that she can't find in school or at home. When she joins an African dance ensemble, her world begins to expand. The students welcome her, the teacher accepts her. Best of all, she meets J'had, a handsome drummer whom Joyce grows to love. The ensemble teaches Joyce many things: that in order to make the audience believe in her, she must believe in herself, and that to gain respect from others she must respect herself first. It's a lesson learned painfully, only after Joyce destroys her chance to experience real love with J'had. The story ends poignantly and positively, inspiring readers to look for love and strength within. Though the time sequence is sometimes confusing, the author successfully balances Joyce's many worlds: home, school, the dance studio, the world inside herself. Joyce's understanding is believably paced and powerfully realized, and her story is uplifting. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Starfire, 1989. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11055328293X