Hi Everyone! It’s Becky. I just finished a super cute tween book that I found on Edelweiss and here are my thoughts.
Title: Friday Night Stage Lights Author: Rachele Alpine
Note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Middle schooler, Brooklyn Gartner’s whole life is ballet. Brooklyn has spent every spare moment practice and dreaming of being a professional dancer. However, when Brooklyn’s mother remarries and moved her to Texas she has to adjust to life in a town where football is king and ballet is just a hobby. Brooklyn finds salvation at a local dance studio with a new dance partner, Jayden. The two are on path to get noticed by an elite arts high school but Brooklyn’s life is derailed again when Jayden breaks his leg and she loses her partner. Enter Logan, a middle school football player, who is using ballet to improve his game. The two team up for the showcase and in the process may learn about more about each there.
Review: I was a little surprised by this book. I have only read one other book by Rachele Alpine and I really wasn’t a fan. You can watch our review for it here:
However, I found something sort of sweet about Friday Night Stage Lights. This book feels like a classic tween book and more than a little bit like a Disney Channel movie. The main character is dealing with a new family while also dealing with friend drama and maybe a little bit of boy issues. These are the bones of any classic YA story. Plus, Alpine decision to focus on Brooklyn desire to be a professional dancer gave the character an extra dimension you don’t always see with characters in tween books. Also, making Brooklyn move beyond you basic middle grade main character is the evolution of her life in her new Texan home. Her stumbles and slow success makes her feel a little more real especially the slowly change relationship with her stepbrother, Tanner, as they moved from strangers to family. There is a tween reader out there who is experiencing exactly what Brooklyn is going through which makes this book feel a little special. However, there were a few aspects of this book that I found a wee bit disappointing. Brooklyn never really had any kind of connection with her new stepfather which seemed odd considering how much she and Tanner connected. Plus, I wasn’t thrilled with the conclusion to the storyline revolving around a betrayal by her friend Mia. Yet, even with those issue “Friday Night Stage Lights” is a cute tween novel that will appeal to pre-teens looking for realistic fiction minus the unnecessary drama.
Final Rating: 3 out of 5