Showtime (Dance Trilogy) by Jean Ure

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Showtime (Dance Trilogy) by Jean Ure

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The final part of the Dance trilogy makes a great finale. A compelling read for the 9+ age group, whether you like ballet or not.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208/2h55m Date: May 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008164546

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Second years. The girls couldn't believe that they'd made it through the first year - in fact they'd all made it, all eight of them, which was most unusual. Usually some were thrown out - they might have grown too tall, didn't look right or didn't have the commitment required. Maddie felt a bit nervous when she thought about that last bit as there'd been a point when she might have been thrown out for that reason. She's now determined that she really does want to be a ballet dancer, except...

Except, well, Maddie likes the acting side of ballet and there's a little bit of her would quite like to see if she could make the grade as an actor. All her family are in the ballet business, her father is a choreographer, her mother was a famous ballerina and now runs a ballet academy, her elder sister was a ballerina before she had baby Thomas and her brother Sean is a heart-throb ballet dancer. Somehow it seemed pre-ordained that she would dance and Maddie has a niggling doubt about the lack of choice.

Maddie hasn't changed: she still hurtles headlong into situations and sometimes you cringe at what she does. Is using a friend's name and then signing a form as though she was that friend's mother really forgery? Maddie debates the point with herself, but it doesn't stop her doing what she feels that she has to do. Well, if that's what she has to do to get a particular audition, then it has to be done, hasn't it? She's nothing if not determined. Caitlyn's still her faithful friend, although I did wonder why she bothered on occasions as Maddie ignores her when she meets someone new. The strange thing is that you can't help rooting for Maddie: there's no badness in her and you suspect that one day she'll grow up and become a rather special woman.

The story is good but for me the most special part of the book was the feeling for how the ballet world really works. If you know of a girl who wants to be a ballerina and thinks that it's world of pink tutus, looking beautiful and being adored then this book could be worth its weight in gold, with its stories of blistered toes, aching limbs and relentless hard work. It could save a lot of disappointment later on. But on a lighter note, there are some lovely discussion about the various ballets and particularly the interaction between Romeo and Juliet the play and the ballet. I even learned what Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art though Romeo? really means. It's gently educational without the reader ever feeling that they're being taught.

The writing is, of course, excellent - it is Jean Ure after all and I'd like to thank Jean for sending a copy of the book to the Bookbag when all efforts to extract one from the publisher failed.

The book does read well as a standalone, but to get the best out of it, start with the first book in the trilogy.

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