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4.4 14
by Carol M. Tanzman

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Ever feel like someone's watching you? Me, too. But lately it's been happening in my room. When I'm alone.

A friend posted a video of me dancing online, and now I'm no longer Alicia Ruffino. I'm dancergirl. And suddenly it's like me against the world—everyone's got opinions.

My admirers want more, the haters hate,


Ever feel like someone's watching you? Me, too. But lately it's been happening in my room. When I'm alone.

A friend posted a video of me dancing online, and now I'm no longer Alicia Ruffino. I'm dancergirl. And suddenly it's like me against the world—everyone's got opinions.

My admirers want more, the haters hate, my best friend Jacy—even he's acting weird. And some stalker isn't content to just watch anymore.

Ali. Dancergirl. Whatever you know me as, however you've seen me online, I've trained my whole life to be the best dancer I can be. But if someone watching has their way, I could lose way more than just my love of dancing. I could lose my life.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Clemens
"Once you put it out there, you cannot control it." When videos of high school junior and aspiring dancer, Alicia Ruffino are posted online, her life begins to spiral out of control. The dancergirl videos go viral. Ali gets more recognition than she bargained for and it is not all good. When a video of her dancing alone in her bedroom hits the Internet and Alicia discovers a camera outside her window, she freaks out. Enlisting the aid of her best friend Jacy, Ali sets out to find the person responsible. Is it classmate Charlie, who gets angry when Ali tells him she does not have time to film any more videos? Or Cisco, who seems especially interested in Ali, although he is dating one of the instructors at the dance studio where she works? Could it even be Jacy who has been acting strangely and keeping secrets lately? Alicia is a realistic protagonist, struggling to get good grades in school, working at the studio to offset the cost of her dance classes, and dutifully texting her single working Mom to let her know she is home. However, she is not above petty rivalries with her dance peers, engaging in experimentation with liquor and pot and outings with the high school bad boy, Luke Sorezzi. Part cautionary tale about sexual predators, part whodunit, the plot, although dragging a bit at times, is suspenseful and builds to a satisfying resolution. One minor plot point involves a date between one of Ali's male classmates and a male teaching assistant at the school, troubling in that the other characters seem to perceive a teacher dating an underage student as acceptable. This thriller, which combines suspense with a touch of romance, will appeal to a female teen audience. Reviewer: Mary Clemens
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Dancing is Ali's passion. She takes classes and works at the studio in her Brooklyn neighborhood. She hopes to perform professionally one day, and her goals suddenly seem more attainable after a film student posts a video of her dancing on a public video-hosting site. Initially, the attention Ali receives is flattering as fellow classmates and strangers become interested in the fictitious story line of dancergirl and Shyboy101. However, Ali starts to sense that she is being watched, and her paranoia turns out to be reality when she discovers a video camera dangling outside her bedroom window. Suddenly, Ali's reputation is ruined as people begin labeling her a show-off and a slut. As she and her friends work to uncover the source of this illicit video, they discover that a potentially dangerous stalker is living near her. The book takes off immediately with a suspenseful and creepy prologue. Several mysteries throughout the story help develop the main characters and maintain the suspense. Secondary figures are stereotypical and remain one-dimensional but serve their purpose of propelling the plot forward. As the novel reaches its climax, though, it stretches believability as the teens take crime fighting into their own hands in a pseudo-Scooby-Doo fashion. Despite these minor flaws, this is a compulsive read with important messages about online exposure and privacy. Dancers and fans of chick lit and mysteries will want to clear their calendars once they start reading.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

"Question of the day," Jacy says. "What's the worst thing that could happen to you?"

Jeremy Carl Strode, aka Jacy, settles beside me on the worn marble stoop of the brick building we both call home. Jacy and his parents live on the fifth floor; Mom and I have the apartment above them.

"Alicia!" His bony elbow pokes me. Jacy's wearing the vintage AC/DC tee I gave him for his sixteenth birthday and a pair of ripped jeans. Knowing him, he's probably got on zero underwear because of the August heat wave.

"I heard you," I say. "Are you talking about school next year or, like, life?"


I fan my orange tank top over my stomach. "Is this for the Gazette?"

Just before classes ended in June, Jacy was named features editor at WiHi, our neighborhood public school officially known as Washington Irving High. He's in line for editorin-chief when we're seniors if he can keep his father, "Mr. Go to MIT and Be An Engineer," out of his mop of curly hair.

"Let me think," I say.

"That'll take a while."

"Not everyone aces Calc in tenth, genius-man."

Jacy ducks his head in embarrassment and checks his cell. "Better get going if you want to show up to work on time."

In June, I'd scored a job at Moving Arts, the studio where I study dance. The sweetest part is that I can take as many classes as I want for free.

Halfway down the steps, Jacy trips and slides the rest of the way on his butt. My laugh cuts through the muggy air.

"Glad I amuse you," he mutters.

"All the time."

I give him a hand up and we head north past midsize apartment buildings, neat brownstones and the ethnic restaurants that, according to my mother, give the Heights its charm. Air-conditioned cars glide down the street, although the sidewalk is empty. The smell of garbage baking in metal cans is enough to cause the fainthearted to, well, faint.

"Got it!" I pull a rubber band from my messenger bag and twist my long, wavy hair into a ponytail. "Worst thing—it's the spring concert and the auditorium is sold-out. There's a scout from Merce Cunningham's company. I'm doing, like, fifteen pas de bourree—" I demonstrate the step-side, cross-back, step-side move "—and then I trip. Not just a stumble but a humongous slip. The next thing you know, I'm sprawled facedown across the stage. God, how humiliating is that?"

The audience laughs. Samantha Warren gives a snarky smile as she completes her set of perfect pas de bourree. I try desperately, awkwardly, to catch up to the count, knowing my entire career-to-be is ruined—

"I knew you'd say something like that." Jacy sounds triumphant. "You always think you're going to tank a performance."

"I could easily blow a dance!"

"Not ever!" Jacy insists.

Pleased, I coat my lips with French Vanilla ChapStick. We've reached the intersection of Clinton and Montague. Clothing boutiques, Trinity Church and upscale art galleries line the sidewalks. Moving Arts Dance Studio stands across the avenue, west of the subway entrance.

"What's your worst nightmare?" I ask.

No answer. Instead, Jacy steps off the curb—and that's when I see it. Without a doubt, he could do the math: If an SUV travels at forty miles an hour and an idiot steps directly into its path, it would take X seconds to smash said idiot's brains—

My arm shoots out. Desperate fingers pull his tee. "Watch out!"

A horn blares. Tires squeal. Jacy falls into the gutter with barely an inch to spare.

"Omigod!" I breathe. "Do you have any idea how close you came to roadkill?" He grins as he stands. "Don't laugh, Strode. It's, like, the third time you've done that since school let out!"


"Sorry?" I jerk him around so he has no choice but to stare directly into my eyes.

"I didn't see the car," he mumbles. "It came down the street really fast."

"Not that fast. I saw it."

"So you're Superman with X-ray eyes and I'm not." "Don't be a jerk," I say.

"I have to be someplace, and you're late." He makes a show of looking both ways. "Is it safe to cross now, Mommy dearest?"

I stare at him, and he actually waits for me to nod before stomping off toward the subway.

Now, how does that work?

Jacy's the one who does something stupid and I get snapped at. But that isn't the only thing that pisses me off. We've been together more than fifteen minutes, and he didn't bother to mention he's meeting someone.

Who? Jacy hasn't dated anyone since his spring breakup with Tiffany Kahlo. If he were hanging out with someone new, well, you'd think I'd be the first to know.

It's not like I'd be jealous or anything. Everyone knows it's a disaster to hook up with someone you've been friends with since third grade. A person you had to inform, at age twelve, that deodorant is a rather useful invention. Somebody you know goes commando on hot days and you don't even find it gross anymore. Put simply, Jacy and I have WTMI: Way Too Much Information about each other.

Whatever. By the time I enter Moving Arts, the line of tutu-skirted preschoolers waiting to check in for Fairy Tale Dance reaches halfway across the studio's air-conditioned lobby. The din is deafening, which is why I stamp at least fourteen class cards before realizing what should have been obvious.

What's the worst thing that can happen? With the stunt he pulled out on the street, Jeremy Carl Strode clearly avoided having to come up with an answer. That's when I decide there's a new question of the day. What—or maybe who—is Jacy hiding?

Meet the Author

Carol M. Tanzman's previous YA novel, The Shadow Place, was on ALA's Quick Pick List of Recommended Books, the National Council of Teachers of English ALAN List of Best Books, and the California Collection for both Middle and Senior High Schools. She received a Judy Blume WIP grant for that novel. In addition, Ms. Tanzman is an award-winning theatre director and nationally recognized arts educator. www.CarolTanzman.com

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dancergirl 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
In-Interest More than 1 year ago
Ali has a passion for dance, a passion that soon leads her into danger as she gains the attention of the public. Some people envy her, others idolise her and some people take their admiration for Dancergirl to an obsessive level. The author, Carol M. Tanzman, does a wonderful job at introducing something refreshing and new into the already very populated young-adult scene. It's a bold move introducing something with as much originality as Dancergirl has, but it certainly paid off. There is a big dance element incorparated into the novel with certain dance terms that two weeks worth of ballet did not help me identify. Although this can seem a bit troublesome, it didn't really bother. Their are two options; read past them and draw up your own definition or do a quick google search. As I mentioned before, it really doesn't take much away from the story. The love Ali has for dance is admirable and I can see people signing up for dance lessons after reading this book. If your not a fan of dancing that's not a big problem as there is many other elements to the book. What I didn't realize was that mysetry plays a big part on this book. Tanzman manages to engage the readers and take them on a journey complete with potential culprits and paranoia. As Ali gets more and more paranoid, so do the readers. Everyone has the person who they believe is watching Ali but if you guess it first you deserve some kind of special recognition because it's so well hidden. 3/4 in I had by suscpions about the real offender but the wonderful thing about the book is your never sure. All the characters seem very real, like any other normal group of friends. Samantha, the rich 'perfect' type, was not and instant like to me. I found her a bit cliche' but at the end she does something that I think ws pretty shocking for her. Shocking in a good way. The book really highlights how people have different sides and it takes something dramatic to bring it out of them. A favourite of mine is Ali's guy friend, Jacy, who has a habit of falling over which may seem funny untill he reveals why which is quite upsetting. This book makes the readers aware of all the danger that surrounds the internet. Publicising internet awarness in the form of a young-adult is a perfect way to highlight it. The novel doesn't say 'don't do this and 'don't do that' but it does make the reader wary about what actually goes on on the net. This book is actually quite scary, reading when your at home alone in the dark is certainly not advisable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
Alicia Ruffino is a dancer. And when one of her friends posts a video of her online, everyone knows her as dancergirl. There is admiration and adoration. And behind a mask of false pretense, watching her every move, someone is stalking her. Wanting to be near her, to observe her. And that person wouldn't stop from hurting her either. Dancing is her passion. It was her private joy, her excersise and now she's sharing her talent with the whole world. DANCERGIRL was my favourite book about dancing so far. Ali was a cool character and very natural, modest and confident about her talent and her passion for it. The love story underlying the overall stalking drama was beautiful. Ali's best friend Jacy is always there for here and would do anything for her. Jacy is such a sweet person. Whereas Ali's stalker is a major creep. It could be anyone who stalks Ali and it only takes a few chapters to feel watched yourself. 4/5 **** dancergirl - It's a fine balance between passion and obsession. Well-written and relevant YA contemporary read! Dancergirl was more exciting than any thriller and I'll happily pick up its companion novel, CIRCLE OF SILENCE, set at Washington Irving High, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book... for everybody who is wondering if they should get it or not, GET IT!! definetly get it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
: I was intrigued by the premise for this book. Cameras. They’re everywhere now, all the time, and so tiny you can hardly see them. Videos. What happens when a video goes viral – and you’re in it? This is what happens to Alicia and her world. Alicia has all sorts of problems once the video of her dancing goes viral. She knew her friend was taping her and was going to upload it but she thought the recognition might help her get into a prestigious dance school – what could it hurt? Her friends don’t know how to act towards her now, strangers recognize her, people say and post hateful things. She feels like she’s always being watched – all the time. Her best friend, Jacy, is acting weird which hurts Alicia most of all since she has feelings for him. I liked Jacy – he was a very sweet romantic interest. As the book’s momentum takes off, Alicia has to figure out who watched her video and is still watching her – stalking her. At this point, I felt like I was there with her and had goosebumps and felt those little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. To what lengths would the stalker go with his obsession? Would Alicia ever be able to dance again after this video fiasco? A very realistic story relevant to today’s trends with likable characters. Reviewed by Valerie. Book Provided by Deb Shapiro & Company. Review Originally Posted @ Romancing the Book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it,a must-read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KimShelkey More than 1 year ago
Review from SlicedOpenReviews(dot)com Ok in 100% honesty if I would have come across this book 4 months ago I would never have purchased it. But, I’ve been all about expanding my reading horizons lately, trying new things and finding expansions from YA Paranormal. Thus leading me to stumbling on a synopsis for Circle of Silence (the next installment of the WiHi series) and it sparked something inside that spurred me to push forward. I ran out and purchased dancergirl, don’t regret one penny spent! One of my favorite mystery reads is Dismantled by Jenny McMahon, so I don’t know why I was so apprehensive when starting dancergirl cause, hello? They are both Mystery/Thriller’s so yea, I had no reason to doubt. Loved.It! I had no idea how intense this book was going to get. I went in to this thinking, eh it will be ok at best, but really it totally blew me away. The writing was easy to understand and made the reading quick and enjoyable. Yet the story built with intensity that kept my heart pounding and pages turning. I devoured this in one night and jumped up and did a small dance of spectacular excitement that yet again was proven that there is more outside the Paranormal-sphere. I also want, no need, to make mention on the spectacular characters. Each character contributed to part of the mystery and each had their own sense of “reveal” that kept the story building. It was truly amazing how it was done as it didn’t hamper upon the ultimate plot, nor did it over complicate the read. It was this strangely perfect formula that added bonus to my already surprised conclusion to the book. One thing that left me curios was I finished reading was how the heck this was going to be a series?
Jenny_Geek More than 1 year ago
Creepy, realistic, eye opening. These are the three things I thought of when I read this book. A friend of Ali's decides one day to videotape her while she's dancing and then posts it to Zube (the equivalent of youtube is my guess). Within days the video goes viral and "dancergirl" as she's known in the video, becomes famous. She's suddenly popular in school and everyone seems to know who she is. One night, Ali is practicing her solo in her bedroom, while not fully dressed. Suddenly a video of that appears on the internet. Ali starts suspecting everyone, even her best friend Jacy, who is MIA through the first part of the book. I had a lot of guesses as to who I thought it was, but I was dead wrong. This book seriously made me start questioning how much I put out on the internet about myself. And then I started to simultaneously feel bad for those people who have had videos taken of them for doing stupid things and those are viral. I never thought of the after effects of those videos going up. This was a fabulous book and one that I think sends an important message to readers; be careful with what you put out on the internet. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because there was more of a mystery element involved and that really kept my attention. Alicia wanted one thing...to graduate and to get a scholarship to Julliard to dance professionaly. Shes even working part time at the local dance studio so she can take classes there in trade. And by all accounts, shes really well on her way, but then one day a classmate takes a video of her as she dances at a party. The video goes viral and everyone who sees it really thinks she has talent. But then it starts to become a problem....and she gets a stalker. That stalker even shoots a video of her dancing...in her room...in her undies! That part of the book really gives you a case of the 'ewws' but then it gets worse. With the help of her friends, they start looking to see who might be the stalker. A few wrong turns happen until they start getting the pieces to fit together and they find the right one, but not the kinda person you would think could do this crime. This isnt a new book in the genre, and there are alot of books that show the Internet has some bad sides and stuff. But this book is nice because it is not preachy, but still gets the point across. Its a fast read and like Hercule Poirot might say, "A problem that will aggitate the little grey cells most adequetely"
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The beginning of dancergirl was a bit slow and confusing, especially with her best friend Jacy and the characters not being introduced clearly to us. However the story finally took off, with Ali's dancergirl videos and the emerging of a peeping tom/stalker. Alicia, Ali, who is our female protagonist is a contemporary dancer. The dancergirl videos started because one of her classmates "Charlie" videotaped her while she dances. The videos went viral; enters the stalker. I wasn't that happy with Ali's personality. She was persuaded too easily and she never confronted Jacy about his withdrawn behavior towards her. Especially towards the end, some of her decisions got me screaming "NO!! DON'T DO IT!" However I loved the unpredictable-ness of who the stalker might be. One time it was this person, the other it was that person. Each with their own motives and then a tight alibi that removes them from the suspect list. Ali and her friends had to turn on their investigative intuitions and start playing detective to figure out who is the stalker. The identity of the stalker was honestly a shock to me. I didn't, in the least bit, expect it and im so happy for that! The writing was simple, easy, nothing too complicated that takes you outside of the story while you're trying to figure out what the author meant by it. yes the beginning was a bit confusing, but 50 pages in, and i was hooked. This is a great contemporary, light thriller book. It's a nice change from the usual contemporary romance novels. I would definitely recommend it to any reader looking for a bit of a thrill in their books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and it took only a few hrs to read. Its creepy and suspenseful but really entertaining!