DANCE, KAYLA! by Darwin McBeth Walton


Age Range: 10 - 12
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When her beloved grandmother dies unexpectedly, Kayla is forced to move from a close-knit South Carolina farming community to inner-city Chicago; there she struggles to adjust to living with relatives and making new friends. Walton’s attempt to incorporate a range of topics within the framework of a short novel collapses under its own weight: An uncommunicative father, an extended family, the death of a grandparent, adjustment to a new family, and incidents of random violence and racism (Kayla is African-American) all come into play as Kayla tries to maintain her dream of dancing despite the rapid pace of change in her life. The ending feels contrived and abrupt; the absence of Kayla’s father, a significant undercurrent in her emotional life, is never satisfactorily explored. Kayla is an appealing protagonist and readers with a special interest in dance will identify with her desire to achieve her dream, but others will find little to hold their interest. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8075-1453-5
Page count: 155pp
Publisher: Whitman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1998