Marisol Perez, who lives on New York City's Lower East Side, has always loved to dance; when she is given a scholarship to the Manhattan Ballet School, she is thrilled. But she needs someone to take her on the subway, since both her widowed father and older brother work and they won't let her travel alone. She hooks up with the other scholarship student, Desirâ€še, a poor Haitian girl whose mother will take them. The book shifts between introducing the world of ballet (and its vocabulary, e.g., leotards, pliâ€šs, etc.) and current social issues. Marisol's brother comes close to working for a neighborhood drug lord, and anti-cop sentiment affects her relationship with her policewoman Big Sister. Also, Marisol must face her prejudice toward people who live in shelters and the shift in her relationships with friends who are resentful of her involvement in the uptown world of ballet. Tamar (The Garden of Happiness, p. 537, etc.), normally in command of her scenery and setting, is clumsy here; the book is often long-winded. The appeal is in featuring girls from various backgrounds involved in dance, and for that, the book should reach an audience well beyond balletomanes.