A dancer driven to succeed.I can’t even begin to express how happy it makes me when a book is better than I’m expecting it to be. It’s one of the few circumstances where I LIKE being wrong. And this book was just so much better than I thought it would be. I mean, it’s not like it’s my new favorite book or anything, but I really, really enjoyed it.
A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.
The summer they share.
And the moment it all goes wrong.
Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.
But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.
Two things that this book had going for it before I even got very far into it were dance and Spanish. I adore dance movies, and this book pretty much read like a movie, so I was hooked on that aspect pretty much from the start. And Spanish…I don’t even know why, but I love that language. It just makes me happy. And since Soledad and her grandmother are Cuban, there was plenty of Spanish thrown in--not so much that people who don’t speak it would be confused, but enough to spice up the dialog.
I really liked Soledad. There’s something to be said for strong main characters who know what they want. And Soledad wants to dance--it’s her life and her passion. Soledad is just so strong and awesome. She doesn’t let anyone walk all over her, and even in the midst of her semi-obsession with Jonathan, she keeps a firm sense of self.
Jonathan--he’s a mixed bag. I knew going in that this book was a modernization of “Carmen,” so I knew things with Jonathan probably weren’t going to end well. But I thought the author did a great job making Jonathan a real person--he’s got weaknesses and insecurities, but he’s also got good qualities.
And Taz…he just made me want a hot Spanish lover. That boy is FINE.
Overall, I really liked this book. It sucked me in pretty much from the first chapter because the writing was good and Soledad was just so likeable. And of course because of the dancing. But the story itself is what kept me reading--I thought it was a fantastic adaptation of “Carmen.” So yep, I for sure recommend this one. Especially if you like your heroines and your dancing passionate and strong.