Have you ever met one of those exuberant, charming people who can get away with absolutely anything, including wrapping you in a bear hug and planting a big, slobbery kiss on your cheek just minutes after making your acquaintance (and it feels right)? That’s this book. It’s going to be your future best friend in a matter of paragraphs, and it does it in a way that’s unexpectedly funny and completely lovable.
This is one of the best middle grade books I’ve read in ages, and it made me desperately miss my past middle school library. I wanted to run right back to school, welcome myself into the library, and start handing this book out to students. The best part is that I could give it to absolutely everyone, because this isn’t a story that will appeal to only one type of student or reader. It has widespread appeal.
The voice is perfection, and the characters are diverse. I know all different types of people are going to see some of themselves in this novel, which is what makes a story epic. I want to hug this book every time I walk past it, because it’s the kind of story that is honest and heartfelt. It makes you feel good, deep down inside, for a long time. I laughed out loud so many times and had to set the book down once, until I could pull myself back together.
As an added perk, the design work is incredible. It’s hard not to be happy every time you start another chapter, because the dancers are a lot of fun.
I have waited to get my hands on this story for 2+ years, as I have tracked its progress since it was pitched in a contest. Sometimes, that kind of build up can be dangerous, because the longer I wait, the more my expectations rise. In this case, the wait was worth every second, because I adored this story and these characters. It exceeded my hopes and expectations, and it reminded me that it’s worth my time to step away from the YA world sometimes and revisit the land of MG, especially for a story like this.
This is not just a story for middle school kids though. It’s a story that everyone could love and find something to relate to. Also, it makes me want to dance, just for the sheer joy of it.