Learning contemporary dance isn’t the most conventional route to earning a varsity football spot, but for Luc Waldon, it’s his only shot.
After biracial (black/white) Luc, a talented high school athlete, sustains a devastating knee injury, his coach orders him to take summer dance classes as a strength-building exercise. Since he dreams of winning a college football scholarship and hopefully playing in the NFL, Luc will do anything to retain his spot, but what he assumes will be an easy solution to his problem turns out to be far more challenging than expected. Deen (Sleight of Hand, 2015, etc.) is clearly in her element writing about dance, and every leg extension and muscle strain feels achingly authentic, as does Luc’s initial cluelessness, providing readers with an excellent introduction to dance terminology. She intertwines Luc’s journey as a dancer with a plot detailing his struggle to convince his workaholic father that time spent in the studio and away from the family lawn business is a worthy sacrifice. While the narrative zips along too quickly for some characters to become fully actualized, racial and sexual diversity is seamlessly integrated into the text. Dance is the central focus of the book, and deep reverence for the art form emanates from every page.
Sure to satisfy beginners and seasoned dancers longing to relive those first steps that made them love the craft. (Fiction. 10-14)