PANIC by Sharon M. Draper


Age Range: 14 - 18
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A troupe of high school dance students is rocked when one of their number disappears.

The Crystal Pointe Dance Academy is a refuge for the group of students who take classes and participate in dance recitals. Each of them—Diamond, Layla, Mercedes and Justin, the only boy in the group—has a different reason to dance, but they all want to earn a role in the upcoming production of Peter Pan. When Diamond disappears during a routine trip to the mall, the close-knit group is thrown into emotional turmoil that mounts as the days go by. As it turns out, Diamond has been lured by a sexual predator dangling the promise of a movie audition and finds herself in a dire situation. While the four main characters alternate narration, this is really a two-sided story: Diamond’s story of abduction and exploitation, and the everyday concerns her friends face back home. The other dancers face tough situations, from relationship conflicts to a parent returning home after a long incarceration. Diamond’s story, though, with elements of suspense and sexual horror, is the more interesting of the two, and readers will find themselves impatient to get back to her ordeal, which is depicted frankly but with sensitivity. Threading through it all is the importance of the arts as a vehicle to get through tough times.

By turns pulse-pounding and inspiring. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: March 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4424-0896-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2013


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