CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 1. . . .September 3, 2010
In 1982, Bronx ninth grader Rose struggles with loneliness and lack of motivation. Until recently her best friend was the controlling Daisy, but now that Rose is a dance student at Manhattan's performing arts high school, Daisy has cut her off—and instructed everyone else to ignore her, too. One evening while spending another evening alone, Rose is shocked when Yrena (a next door neighbor from the Soviet Union whom she has only seen from afar) appears at her window. The girls learn they have much in common (both are ballerinas and isolated), and Yrena is anxious to experience teen life in America before her family ships her back to Moscow. Rose decides the two should go into the city to join a party on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Climbing out her window (in order to give CIA and KGB agents the slip), the girls set off on the subway for Manhattan and a little fun. What follows is part travel log, part adventure, and part wish-fulfillment.
Castellucci, who grew up in Manhattan and attended a performing arts academy there, writes knowingly of New York City landmarks—from the Cloisters to the Staten Island Ferry and all points in between. Amazingly, Rose and Yrena are immediately accepted by a popular group of kids from Rose's school who have easy access to alcohol, pot, money for taxis, and homes with parents who are conveniently away. Although both Rose and Yrena realize they will be in trouble with their parents the next day, the girls never seem in any real danger during their excellent adventure—even from the bumbling spies attempting to track them down.
Recommended with reservations.
Kay Weisman is a Master of Arts in Children's Literature candidate at the University of British Columbia.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.