Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Buy from

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 93
     Previous Book
    Next Book

Young Adult Fiction
        Previous Book
        Next Book

Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
Picture Books

2005 Stand-outs
2004 Stand-outs
2003 Stand-outs
2002 Stand-outs
2001 Stand-outs

Five-Star Books
Four-Star Books
Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Why Read?
Children and Books
Links For Book Lovers
Book Discussion Forum

About Me
Contact Me
Make a Donation

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You

by Dorian Cirrone

Reviewed March 29, 2005.
HarperCollinsPublishers, New York, 2005.  213 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J MCN F CIR).

Here’s a fun novel that reads like entertainment, but ends up having a good message thrown in as well.

Kayla Callaway is a junior in high school.  She’s been working hard at her ballet, and this year she hopes to win the lead part in the school’s production of Cinderella.  She knows that she danced her best in the audition, but learns that she lost the part because of a growing problem, or rather two overgrown problems—her breasts.  Instead, she gets to play an ugly stepsister.

Kayla wants to be a dancer, but her body is not the traditional shape of a dancer.  Her teacher asks if she’s considered breast reduction surgery.  Meanwhile, someone has fastened a pair of pointe shoes to the wall, painted blood-red, with the note, “Dancing in red shoes will kill you.”  Is it a death threat?  The whole school’s in an uproar, especially when Cinderella’s step-family ends up being scheduled to dance in red shoes.

As if that weren’t enough, Kayla’s sister’s art project—about how women’s bodies are expected to meet men’s expectations, but men are under no such constraints—is declared obscene.  A cute guy who’s new at school helps organize a protest.

All these themes come together in a funny book about what we’re willing to do to meet other people’s expectations.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

-top of page-