A capable if limited story of pre-teen self-discovery.
Sage is a pretty girl who can play the flute and saxophone better than most people with recording contracts, but all she wants is to be able to sing, dance and look like the performers on MTV. This becomes especially true once her grade school talent show rolls around, and cutie Darren lets on that his aunt is a professional ballerina. This follow-up to The Love Note (2004) is a cautionary tale about the importance of being true to who you are, appreciating what you have and giving people the benefit of the doubt. The author has a knack for capturing pre-teen angst: Sage tries and fails at a ballet routine that Darren doesn’t even attend; major drama ensues when Sage’s outspoken best friend Kim picks a fight with tough girl Lisa (who turns out to be not so tough) and expects Sage to back her up. Various other melodramatic situations follow, many of them predictably, but the author’s message remains intact.
Esparza-Harris’s approach is a bit heavy-handed at times, but readers will appreciate Sage’s foibles nonetheless. (YA)