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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Rhythm of Life: House of Dance by Beth Kephart

Hi there!

It's Wednesday (well, perhaps not if you're reading this on another day, but it's posting on a Wednesday)!  Whoo-HOO!  Halfway through another week and heading towards the weekend...hopefully the weather is cooperating with you in your neck of the woods.  I'd like to take a moment to thank those followers that have been with me for a bit now....your readership (is that a word?) and comments never fail to bring a smile to my face or a new thought to ponder.  Since I'm not one to leave out others if it can be helped, I'd also like to welcome our newer followers and readers to the site!  You've all chosen a marvelous time to be here as we head ever closer to my blogoversary (wow, hard to believe THAT'S just over the horizon) and celebrate many wonderful titles that have been released or are about to be with reviews, interviews, and contests in the coming weeks!

Speaking of contests, currently there are three running on the site.  First up is a new addition to the YA genre hitting shelves 04/27/10 by author Barbara Dee called This Is Me From Now On!  This was a joint review with There's A Book and the giveaway offers you a chance to win both book and swag, 2 winners in all!  Next we have a perfect match for dog lovers and humor fans alike entitled I Has A Hotdog....3 winners!  Finally, we have a legal thriller of a page turner from Scott Turow entitled Presumed Innocent....3 winners!  For all the details, check the right hand sidebar under CONTESTS!

Oh, wait..did I say that was all?  Nope!  There is a special ONE DAY ONLY contest coming up on Friday, 04/30/10 as we celebrate Blogmania 2010!  Haven't heard about this event?  Though hard to believe (the buzz is seriously strong out there) worries!  It's simply a one day MAJOR blog hop type event where everyone hosts a special contest all their own.  (Psst...on here, my contest will have multiple winners including one of our international readers as well!)  So be sure to check out all the on with the show!

Today's pick resides in the YA genre and is from an author that is on the rise in many circles.  Known for her touching stories and way with words, she comes highly recommended by many readers out there....despite all of this, I hadn't actually read any of her books (GASP!).  No worries, that fact has now been rectified and as a result of those efforts, the following review I submit for you!  Today's book of choice is....


Rosie is alone in the world.  Okay, not really, but for all intents and purposes she may as well be.  It's not that everyone has disappeared from the face of the Earth leaving her behind to fend for herself, but it can sure feel that way to a young girl.  Let's take stock of her current situation.  Her father ran off with someone else several years ago, yet tries to show his "love" by sending her money every week (hence the box of growing bills hidden away in her room....the hidden part, definitely reveals how she's dealt with the feelings from this situation).  Her mother, unable to move on finds solace in her work and perhaps the arms of another that aren't exactly free to accept visitors.  Her friends are scattered about since it's summer time and each had their own agendas, most not including her.  Her dying.  (I'll give you a moment to digest that shorter sentence....all better?  Okay, let's continue....)

One day after coming home from window washing (her work), Rosie's mother drops this heart-wrenching news on young Rosie.  The only thing is that while it is a bitter pill to swallow, the real tragedy is that she has yet to truly get to know him...a simple fact that is about to be rectified.  Unable to come to terms with her father since the last disagreement they had any more than she can with her ended marriage, her mother suggests Rosie visit with him throughout the summer.  Spend some time with him, get to know him...the works.  Begrudgingly, Rosie takes to the task at hand if only to escape her life as it now stands.  Little does she know the change in herself as well as her world that is about to take place thanks to the forever bonds of family and the colorful world of dance.  Watch as one persons small steps within a growing crowd, enables a garden of color to blossom before the eyes of a loved one simply as a means to remember and be remembered.

The House of Dance is not only the book's title, but also the dance studio within the novel.  It becomes a source of great joy for Rosie as she trains to bring the vibrant world her grandfather has traveled to in his mind and memory to life once again through dance.  Anyone that has ever taken a dance lesson (*raises hand* ....ballet and tap for me when I was younger) or even attempted to learn a new step on their own can appreciate the dedication even the smallest venture requires as well as the heart necessary to really make it shine.  You've seen people on TV dance before.  You can tell who is having the time of their lives (okay, stole that line from Dirty Dancing, the movie...but it fit perfectly) and who is merely going through the motions.  It shows on their faces, in their body language, and during the overall performance.  Dance is an expression of oneself that can communicate our true feelings and emotions for better of worse...that's why I think it works so well for this story.  The author's choice for Rosie to truly make a final connection with her grandfather, her mother, and the whole of the town as one through dance is a graceful way to show that the bonds of life run deep....much deeper than we can even know...and that making someone's experience here better starts with just one little step in their direction.

Tinged with sadness but with an overall zest for life, this one will definitely have you taking stock of those you need in your life and those you love to have in your life. The only thing that didn't quite work for me was the writing didn't quite flow.  I found it very hard to stay focused on the story while reading the descriptive yet often times choppy sentences.  Still, when all is said and done, I can appreciate the underlying messages and the way the author describes things through the characters eyes in such detail and color. Anything that has a hint of color is brightened ten fold when her writer's spotlight is applied.  You can feel the intensity of the reds, the mellow vibrations of the yellows, the liveliness of the greens.  It's almost as if for all the loss and sorrow within the story itself, the world surrounding them is making it it's job to chase away the dark clouds.  She truly shares a story that will leave readers with much to ponder after the last page is turned.

Special thanks to HarperCollins Children's Books/HarperTEEN for the review copy. (THANK YOU!) For more information on this title and many more, stop by their site or follow along on Twitter!  Look for a special post featuring another review on a title from this author (The Heart Is Not A Size) coming in May as an informal book tour (organized by Amy over at My Friend Amy) makes its rounds here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!

It's a simple question addition to any comments you'd like to share about the book or review, I'm curious to you dance?  If so, why?  What type of dancing do you enjoy?  Be it fast or slow, rumba or ballroom....feel free to share!

Until next time....happy reading!


Juju at Tales of said...

A. LOVE the Dirty Dancing pic. I know have that song in my head, "I simply say...babby"
B. I dance a bit. Spanish mostly. I'm not that good at it but it's fun.

GMR said...

Juju: Glad to share the soundtrack with you, LOL. Spanish dancing? Wow, that would be fun! I'm so not a dancer....but wouldn't mind trying one day! ^_^

Christina T said...

Fantastic review. I wasn't familiar with this book (I have heard of The Heart is Not a Size) but I am definitely going to add it to my TBR list. I can't dance at all but I love to watch Dancing With the Stars.

GMR said...

Christina T: LOL. Dancing with the Stars is fun to watch....I also like that best dance crew show...guess it's part envy part amazement. Glad to help add to your TBR list...hope you enjoy the read! ^_^

The1stdaughter said...

I LOVE Beth Kephart! I'm slowly finding her books and just adore them. This is another I'm going to have to pick up. Thanks for the great review!

As for the, yes, of course! But anymore, it's with my kiddos and their favorite to dance to is Sinatra, crazy right? So much fun though to twirl around with them and see their faces light up, I just love it.

GMR said...

the1stdaughter: Glad to hear you're a fan of the author as well...I look forward to reading her book THE HEART IS NOT A SIZE next month. As for the family Sinatra surprise there..he is a classic after all! ^_^

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