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WILL YOU, WON’T YOU? by Jesse Haas


by Jesse Haas

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-029196-6
Publisher: HarperCollins

This is a less-than-riveting novel about a 13-year-old trying to decide who she is. Madeline, Mad for short, lets her fears rule her actions and is intimidated by the two very strong-willed women close to her. Her mother is an attorney and her grandmother is chair of the Senate Finance committee in the rural East Coast. Mad just wants to be invisible. She is sent to her grandmother’s for the summer to relax and ride her beloved horse, Cloud. Throughout the season Mad learns much about politics as her grandmother is caught in the controversial debate surrounding clear-cutting, but more importantly she discovers Scottish dance. Terrified during her first class, Mad progresses rapidly and learns to love the complicated steps and nuances of partnering. Meanwhile, she is trying to devise a way to help Cloud over his newfound fear of cows. The sub-theme throughout is her desire to impress the father she has never met. Her confidence grows in direct relation to her ability to dance, and to her amazement she speaks out at a heated political meeting. Senatorial details and the intricacies of Scottish dance steps bog down the story. Haas (Hurry, p. 714, etc.) links life to dance, and dance to horse riding, in a clumsy way, but by the end Mad begins to understand and like herself. This book will be of some interest to girls who enjoy stories with an equestrian element. (Fiction. 10-12)