THE MIDNIGHT DANCE, by Nikki Katz, Swoon Reads, Oct. 17, 2017, Hardcover, $17.99 (young adult)
If a book were truly judged by its cover, The Midnight Dance, by Nikki Katz, would win a gold medal. But books are more than just their covers, and luckily for readers, The Midnight Dance lives up to its jacket.
Penny dreams of becoming a ballerina, and for good reason. The 17-year-old is one of the top students at Grande Teatro, a finishing school in Italy. Penny and 11 other girls are learning all the skills needed to be accomplished young women, but more importantly, they’re training to become the country’s top ballerinas.
Grande Teatro is unlike any school you could imagine. Located deep in the woods, the girls are a mystery to the outside world, only showing off their graces at their annual show. The girls aren’t the only mystery. Grande Teatro’s young master has firm control over the school and all who enter it.
Grande Teatro is the only life Penny has ever known, or at least that’s what she thinks. When memories from a different life start to prick at Penny’s consciousness she starts to think maybe she’s crazy. But as the memories become more frequent, Penny realizes something is very wrong at Grande Teatro and with the master who’s pulling all the strings.
Time is running out, and Penny knows she’s just one slip-up from having her memory rewritten again. But with the help of a friendly kitchen boy she might have a chance to save herself and her friends.
Author Nikki Katz does an excellent job setting the mood — there were times when I had a physical reaction of chills or dread while reading it. Katz amps up the mystery with bursts of magical realism.
While The Midnight Dance is a ballet book, it’s also not a ballet book. For those who love the art form, there’s a lot to love, but for those who don’t, never fear. The ballet elements serve as a framework for a much larger and more intense story.
I read The Midnight Dance in one day, stopping and starting whenever I could find a chance. It’s fast paced and compelling. My only gripe is with the secondary characters, who could have been better developed for a more fleshed out story.
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