Up until her fifteenth birthday, the most important thing in the world to Beatriz Mendez was her dream of becoming a professional dancer and getting herself and her family far from the gang life that defined their days—that, and meeting her dance idol Debbie Allen on the set of her favorite TV show, Fame. But after the latest battle in a constant turf war leaves her gang leader brother, Junito, dead and her mother grieving, Beatriz has a new set of priorities. How is she supposed to feel the rhythm when her gang needs running, when her mami can’t brush her own teeth, and when the last thing she can remember of her old self is dancing with her brother, followed by running and gunshots? When the class brainiac reminds Beatriz of her love of the dance floor, her banished dreams sneak back in. Now the only question is: will the gang let her go?
Author’s note. Further information about gangs and drug dealing in 1980s Newark, the ACT-SO contest, and Debbie Allen.
JLG Release: Nov 2019
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Booklist, School Library Journal, The Horn Book Magazine, Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
8 1/4" x 5 1/2"
Level 4.6; Points: 9;
Scholastic Reading CountsN/A
Potentially Sensitive Areas
Crime: General, Language: Homophobic Slur, Language: Mild Language, Sexual Content: Mild Sexual Content/Themes, Violence: Mild Violence, Violence: Domestic/Physical Abuse, Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco: Marijuana Use
Puerto Ricans, Newark, New Jersey, Haitian Americans, Hispanic and Latino people, Gangs, Female gang members, Dance, The 1980s, Identity,