Turning pointes by Emma Freedman
Angus and Robertson, 2016. ISBN 9781460751633
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Emma Freedman is a radio personality and 2015 winner of Dancing with the Stars... and now author. She has written a very likable dance school story that can be recommended to young female readers aged 11+ with absolute confidence.
April, the character around whom the story spins gracefully, is charming and is entering her teenage and high school years with elegance and maturity. Above all though, she is a dancer. She has given years to the discipline of ballet, and with her two close friends, has become a talented devotee of dance. But with the changes that high school has brought, there are other changes on the horizon - parties, new friends, more challenging times at school. Will ballet remain her first love or is there something else that will inspire her passions, or distract her from her artistic discipline? Being secretive or being honest become choices that challenge relationships at school, ballet school and particularly at home. Will she destroy everything by making the wrong choice?
What I loved about this story is the way Freedman shows that family and friendship are complimentary and not in competition. The respect shown to those in authority and peers is overwhelmingly positive. Even the 'mean girls' and 'wayward boys' that are part of the story give the central characters opportunities to show there are positive ways to live. This is a wholesome and refreshingly simple tale set within the disciplined and well-mannered community of those who love to dance. Be prepared to be inspired by their commitment.