Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in the big city anymore.
For thespian Maddie Brooks, junior year of high school is off to a rocky start. Forced to leave Chicago after her father loses his job, Maddie finds herself relocated to suburban Houston, a land of cowboy hats and four-wheelers so foreign to her that it might as well be over the rainbow. Focusing on drama to help navigate her life transition, Maddie devotes her energy to landing a part in the local theater’s production of Crazy for You. The only problem is…she doesn’t know how to tap dance. Enter Jesse Morales, her former dancer–turned–baseball star of a next-door neighbor. Jesse is handsome, well-mannered, and everything that Maddie could hope for…except that her fantasy boyfriend is Gene Kelly, not Albert Pujols. Rae’s (Wish You Were Italian, 2014) second novel in the If Only series proves that she knows her teen audience well, delivering a story that is well-paced, engaging, and enjoyable. Maddie is an appealing protagonist, as sassy and sophisticated as she is occasionally self-absorbed. Her great struggle ultimately is not with dance or boyfriends but with her expectation that life mirror the old-Hollywood movies she reveres. Though the plot resolution is unsurprising, snappy dialogue and compulsively readable prose render the characters fresh and the situations entertaining.
Sure to please any teen who loves the arts or dreams of musical-style romance. (Fiction. 12-16)