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Breaking Big
By author: Penny Draper
Selling Points: dance, ballet, Puck, Shakespeare, male dancer, pranks, understudy, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, competition, loyalty, friendship
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Mar/15/2016
Fry Reading Level: 4.6
Pages: 144
Fiction Ages 11-14
Price:  $9.95
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Robin’s got everything it takes to be a principal dancer: the body, the feet, the strength and the passion. But his devil-may-care attitude plays havoc with discipline at the Premier Dance School. One more prank may be one too many. That’s why everyone is shocked when he’s the only student dancer picked to understudy with the company, even though the choice makes sense—Robin is cast as Puck, the annoying trickster fairy in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Shock turns to horror when the principal dancer is injured and Robin has to perform instead. The other dancers don’t think he can pull it off, and even Robin wonders if it’s too much too soon.

Will his big break kill his career before it even starts?
Resource Links - February 1, 2016
"A solid addition to the Orca Limelights Series...To those interested in a fine arts-based education, this novel provides an unsentimental view of the rigorous scheduling and interpersonal dynamics."
CM Magazine - January 19, 2016
"Draper has written a delightful story about a world that most teenagers, especially males, never see. Draper has the teenage attitude and behavior down perfectly and that makes Robin’s life realistic. A fun novel to read, and teens will surely enjoy a peek into the world of dance, possibly even opening an avenue to their dreams of dance as a career. Highly Recommended."
Kirkus Reviews - January 15, 2016
"Nicely captures the competition and camaraderie of a group of people whose bodies are honed, molded, bloodied, and broken in pursuit of a common dream. It is refreshing to see this story told from a male dancer's perspective, and Robin's narrative style, arrogant and vulnerable by turn, aptly reflects the angst and self-doubt of a teenager who realizes that obtaining his heart's desire means that he now has something to lose. As his good fortune turns his classmates into critics and breeds its own particular brand of loneliness, the novel's dramatic stakes remain clear and absorbing. While Robin is the novel's protagonist, ballet itself is undeniably the story's main character. Contextual usage of ballet terminology and vivid description of movement bring the physicality and fluidity of dance to life, making this novel both a love letter and useful introduction to the art form. Dance veterans and newbies will relate to this readable account of the trials and tribulations of being in the spotlight."

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