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Codename: Dancer: A Dani Spevak Mystery Paperback – April 3, 2012
An Action-Packed Retelling of a Classic
London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived the destruction and the outbreak of a deadly virus are children, among them sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling and her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Top Customer Reviews
Very well written too! I can't wait to read what else Dani Spevak has in store for us!
This is an adorable book and the mystery was fun I tore through the book and found it very entertaining. The setting and characters were interesting enough and I liked that the main character was a dancer. However, the characters were super cliched. The art student was dark and dreary, the mean girl was nasty and conniving and the movie star was cute and funny with Dani falling for him in an instant. Dani eats nothing at all and is constantly skipping meals and her friends help her diagnose her eating disorder before the end of the book which she accepts rather easily (because all dancers have eating disorders). The dance sequences seemed like they were written by someone who has read a lot about dance or watched it on TV but not someone who was actually a dancer. The book is very short (150 pages) but it's currently available on Amazon for kindle for 1.99 and for that price it's a fun and quick read.
Appropriateness: This book is free of sex and substance abuse and the romance is limited to kissing. The main character has an eating disorder that's handled in the same way that one would be handled in a program for young teens. She skips a lot of meals and uses costuming as an excuse. Her friends notice and after a few point it out to her and she accepts it (after denying it for a while) eats some pasta and in the end she mentions that she'll be going to a nutritionist to get it in control. I would recommend this book to girls 10-13.
Codename: Dancer satisfied my taste for mystery without being too over the top. The book is on the shorter side so the action picks up pretty fast. The mystery was done well. It was one of the books where you had to keep reading so you could figure out who did it. [Normally I'm pretty good at figuring it out but I wasn't able to do it for this book!] While the book was a mystery, it was light-hearted and fun as well. Definitely perfect for a quick afternoon read.
When starting the book, I was a bit worried about the dancing. Since the author has a background in dancing, I thought the book would be heavy on the dancing and dancing terms. As someone who hasn't even mastered the Macarena, I thought I might be in over my head. I was pleasantly surprised though. The author used the terms just enough to prove she knows what she's talking about but not enough to turn off or confuse the non-dancers reading. I discovered at the end of the book there's a glossary of dance terms! It's not terribly convenient if you're reading on an e-reader though.
My only "problem" with the book was it walked the line between a middle grade book and a young adult book a bit awkwardly. I could see younger teens/tweens enjoying this book but there was more language than a normal middle grade book has. On the other hand, the book seemed maybe a smidge more juvenile than typical YA books. As an adult, this isn't a problem for me but for some people, like parents, it could be a problem.Read more ›
Author: Amanda Brice
Genre: YA Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars
Codename: Dancer is a delightful YA mystery with a touch of romance.
Fourteen year-old dancer Dani Spevak's fortunes at her new performing arts schools seem to be turning around when she's selected to dance with a gorgeous teen actor on a reality show. Just as quickly though, her fortunes reverse when a series of suspicious accidents strike the set. Now, this dancer has to turn detective before it's too late.
Codename: Dancer begins with a fairly standard scenario: a new transfer student having a hard time fitting in at her school. Though the social antagonist is a bit typical, the performing arts school setting and the lively lead give more than enough entertainment prior to the start of the mystery. The protagonist, Dani Spevak, a likable aspiring ballerina is likable and competent without ever seeming unrealistic.
Dani, and the various secondary characters were fairly well-developed. As a 14-year-old with a major crush, her actions aren't always motivated by the most deep and noble of reasons, but they're never inconsistent or inexplicable. Given the setting, the quirky, memorable line-up of secondary characters never seemed unnatural. The same can be said of the romance sub-plot. Those looking for deep, epic romance might be disappointed but it's still a cute sub-plot, an Dani's feelings come through well.
The Arizona performance arts setting was a nice touch. The author gives enough detail about the school to provide a more definite sense of setting beyond the more typical "fancy private school" settings that seem to dominate many YA mysteries these days.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the book so much! I usually don't like mystery, but this was great! Perfect for teens and young adults!Published on May 11, 2014 by Sydney Edelstein
I thought that this book had A LOT of mystery along with romance... I would definitely recommend this book for all teen girls! Read morePublished on March 17, 2014 by fashion luver
This book is the best book I have ever read and its multiple times better with professional narration. I really recommend this book if you like mystery books and dance books!!Published on March 9, 2014 by TOPSmom
I won a copy of this book in Elle Casey's January Anniversary Indie Book Giveaway. This was a fun little book, but I'm having some trouble reviewing it because although I read a... Read morePublished on February 5, 2014 by Alysa H.
I really wanted to like this book, especially since I used to dance ballet. But it was just alright for me. Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by heather
The level of English for a Gr 4 child (Afrikaans) is challenging but appropriate.
She is however quite fascinated by the story.
So overall it is a good read
Based on other reviews I had high hopes for this book but I found it too "thin" in terms of character development and plot development. It is NOT "Nancy Drew in toe shoes". Read morePublished on December 8, 2013 by Anne C. Bingman Thomas
There was so much I wanted to like about this book. It's about ballet! It's a mystery! What a great combination. The writing was good and the mystery was fine. Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by LH422
This book was a lot of fun! It was a perfect example of YA done right. It was a fast, light read with a good mystery and an even better message. Read morePublished on July 6, 2013 by Kelli Nash