Avalanche Dance

Avalanche Dance

by Ellen Schwartz
     
 

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Gwen lives for dancing. When she has the chance to take an intensive - and expensive - course far from home, she knows her parents will object. She also knows that she can usually convince her father to support her. She raises the subject when they're together skiing, but the discussion turns into an angry confrontation that is cut short by a sudden dreadful avalanche

Overview

Gwen lives for dancing. When she has the chance to take an intensive - and expensive - course far from home, she knows her parents will object. She also knows that she can usually convince her father to support her. She raises the subject when they're together skiing, but the discussion turns into an angry confrontation that is cut short by a sudden dreadful avalanche that almost kills her dad.

The avalanche leaves terrible damage in its wake. Gwen is left wracked with guilt and injuries that may end her career as a dancer. Her life is complicated by her best friend, Molly. Molly has her own demons, and may either be a danger to Gwen or part of her salvation. Gwen must find a way to make peace with Molly, with her family, and with her own conscience if she is ever again going to experience the freedom that dancing brought her.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Stealing Home:
"Keenly felt internal conflicts, lightened by some sparky banter put this a cut above the average...."
— Starred Review, Booklist

"Schwartz....deserves cheers from the stands for her craft."
Vancouver Sun
Children's Literature - Traci Avalos
Gwen and Molly had been friends for as long as they could remember. That is, until the past year when differences began to drive them apart, culminating in a final blow-out at Gwen's birthday party. But after months of being separated, both girls go through traumatizing events and realize how much they need each other. Molly is sucked into a downward spiral of drugs, drinking, and partying and ends up with a delinquent record and 30 hours of community service to complete. Molly, whose entire life has centered on her dancing, is caught with her father in a horrible avalanche and must deal with the reality that she might not recover enough to dance again, and the guilt that her father might not recover at all. Will Gwen and Molly be able to look past their differences when they both need each other the most? Students familiar with dancing will appreciate the in-depth descriptions, Gwen's passion for dance, and the author's obvious background knowledge. The unique point of view shown in this book (alternating between third person from Gwen's point-of-view and first person from Molly's point-of-view) would make it a great classroom example illustrating point-of-view. Subjects include dealing with guilt, friendship, and emotional/psychological issues. Reviewer: Traci Avalos
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this pedestrian story, two best friends grow apart and then find one another again. Molly and Gwen were inseparable until the seventh grade, when Molly decides to start hanging out with the kids who drink and smoke pot, while Gwen continues to work on her dancing. When she and her father are caught in an avalanche while skiing and he is seriously injured, Molly is hanging out with her friends in Gwen's family cabin and accidentally burns it down. Gwen has relatively few injuries except for a mysterious pain in her right leg, for which there is no physical cause. However, she is convinced that she will never dance again. Meanwhile, Molly takes the fall for burning the cabin when her "friends" leave her holding the bag. She must complete community service by working for Gwen's family to help out while the girl's father is in the hospital. The writing is simplistic, the dialogue is bland, and the characters are one-dimensional. The lesson about who your real friends are is delivered with a heavy hand, and the final reunion of Molly and Gwen is sickly sweet. There are many better-written books about friendship that are not so pedantic.—Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX
Kirkus Reviews
In this predictable novel, Canadian high schoolers Gwen and Molly have been BF-almost-F--until Molly began to drink heavily and smoke pot (vividly portrayed) with wilder friends, when their ways parted. So after Gwen, a talented dancer, escapes almost unscathed from an avalanche that seriously injures her father, she has no one to turn to and wallows in paralyzing guilt. Meanwhile, Molly accidentally burns down Gwen's treasured family vacation cabin while partying there with her group, who then abandon her to take the rap. The sentence, conveniently, is to provide 30 hours of service to Gwen's family, leaving the two teens forced into contact. Molly, ignored by her drinking buddies, immediately reforms. Gwen's side of the story is told in the third person against Molly's counterpoint first person, to no apparent effect. Neither character is likable enough to draw significant reader empathy, and the outcome is too hackneyed to provide any revelation. At its best the narrative nicely portrays Gwen's love of dance; otherwise it's an average, nearly banal tale. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770492295
Publisher:
Tundra
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

ELLEN SCHWARTZ was born in Washington, D.C., but moved as a baby to New Jersey, where she grew up. As a child, she loved to dance and wanted to be a dancer. In 1972, she moved with her husband, Bill, to Canada. Before she became a writer, she taught children with learning disabilities and also primary grades. She has several books published for children and adults. Ellen Schwartz writes both fiction and nonfiction for young people. I'm a Vegetarian and I Love Yoga were both critical successes as was her novel about baseball in the time of Jackie Robinson, Stealing Home. Ellen Schwartz and her husband live in Burnaby, B.C., with their two grown daughters.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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