Friday, September 30, 2011

dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

Title: dancergirl
Author: Carol M. Tanzman
Publisher: Harlequin/Harlequin Teen
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Pages: 248 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: from the publisher via NetGalley

dancergirlThe videos went viral...





A friend posted a video of me dancing online, and now I’m no longer Alicia Ruffino. I’m dancergirl. And suddenly it’s like me against the world—everyone’s got opinions.

My admirers want more, the haters hate, my best friend Jacy—even he’s acting weird. And some stalker isn’t content to just watch anymore.

Ali. dancergirl. Whatever you know me as, however you’ve seen me online, I’ve trained my whole life to be the best dancer I can be. But if someone watching has their way, I could lose way more than just my love of dancing. I could lose my life.


A dancer with many years of experience, Ali is at first hesitant to let her friend Charlie film her when she's dancing. After some persistence, she gives in and when her dancing hits the web, she becomes dancergirl: a new Web sensation. Fan sites pop up, haters hate, and she has... a stalker? Someone is following her, taking pictures, making embarrassing videos of her dancing around in privacy and putting them on the Web for the world to see. But who could it be? Ali will have to find out what's going on before her stalker decides he's not okay staying at a distance.

Excuse me a moment while I squash my anger because once again, a POC heroine (specifically, one who is a mix of African-American, Puerto Rican, Italian, and possibly Cherokee) is kept off the cover in favor of a white person's face. The cover effect cannot hide it. Whitewashing isn't funny. Okay, I'm good for the moment. Sorry about that and I promise my anger had no effect on the rating.

I loved reading the parts where Ali was dancing and the whole dancergirl aspect of the plot. Originally, I found this book and picked it out because it was about a dancer; I'm currently trying to write something involving a dancer and I can never have enough research. (Speaking of which, if anyone can recommend me a few books about teen dancers, especially if they're on their high school dance team, I would appreciate it.) The suspense aspect of the story was its best point; the paranoia feels real and it's easy to start pointing fingers at every other character the way Ali was.

While I did like the idea of Ali as dancergirl, a Web sensation akin to Rebecca Black (except Ali dances instead and is good at what she does), the plot is quickly brought up and then dropped as soon as it gets the Ali-has-a-stalker plot going, leaving that particular plot unresolved and feeling inconsequential despite how important it really is. Side characters like Luke who beg for more development get none and once again, unimportant, depthless female characters are injected into the story for no reason other than to be mean to the main character for a minute over something stupid like a boy. Characters need more of a purpose than that and those girls deserved better.

Ali and Jacy's romantic development was near-nonexistent and what little there was was hasty. Their interactions went like this: Ali and Jacy meet up, Jacy gets moody, Ali and Jacy fight, ones of them leaves, they meet up again later and act as if those huge fights they had never happened. Repeat multiple times. This is not romantic development nor is it a good friendship. Pretending you never fought is not the way to get around issues in a friendship; it's how those issues get worse and worse until your friendship is ruined. While Jacy's behavior is explained later in the book, I can't say it was okay for him to treat Ali like he did.

This is only the first in a new series and the second book, Circle of Silence, will be out in August 2012. I may check it out and I may not. For fans of suspenseful stories and dancers, this is your book!

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead