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House of Dance (Laura Geringer Books) Paperback – March 30, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Laura Geringer Books
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061429309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061429309
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,918,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—Rosie's grandfather is slowly dying. Rosie's mother, who has not spoken to the man in years, is in the throws of an affair with a creepy married man, leaving the teen to sort through her grandfather's possessions to decide what to keep and what to toss. As she wades through his belongings, she has glimpses into his life as a younger man; his fascination with travel; and his love of music, dancing, and his wife. Rosie begins to plan a party for him. She arranges special food, special costumes, and most importantly, she enrolls at the House of Dance so she will be able to ballroom dance at the party. Although the portrayal of intergenerational relationships tugs at the heartstrings, the plot is a bit slow, and the writing, while often fresh and lovely, in other places is convoluted or confusing, giving the novel limited teen appeal.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

As in her debut YA novel Undercover (2007), Kephart offers another quiet, sensitive story about a girl who pulls together her fragmented family. Fifteen-year-old Rosie faces a lonely summer. Her best friend is out of town, her single mother is consumed by an affair with a married man, and Rosie has been charged with daily visits to her grandfather, who is dying of cancer. While sorting through her grandfather’s possessions, Rosie concocts a secret plan that she hopes will “give him back the life he loved.” As part of the scheme, Rosie begins dance instruction at a neighborhood ballroom, and her growing confidence on the dance floor strengthens her sense of self. Kephart’s dialogue sometimes reads with the mannered feel of a stage play; Rosie’s poetic, meditative, first-person voice doesn’t always feel authentic; and her romance with a neighbor is underdeveloped. Still, the piercing emotions and family situations, described with lyrical beauty, will hit home with readers who enjoy gentle, emotional journeys, such as Lynne Rae Perkins’ Newbery Medal–winner Criss Cross (1995). Grades 7-10. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Following the publication of five memoirs and FLOW, the autobiography of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, I've had the great pleasure of turning my attention to young adult fiction. UNDERCOVER and HOUSE OF DANCE were both named a best of the year by Kirkus and Bank Street. NOTHING BUT GHOSTS, A HEART IS NOT A SIZE, and DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS were critically acclaimed. In October YOU ARE MY ONLY will be released by Egmont USA. Next summer, Philomel will release SMALL DAMAGES. I am at work on a prequel to DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS, a novel for adults, and a memoir about teaching. Please visit my blog:

Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
The book has really good meaning to it.
Hope LaGrois (from Hope's Bookshelf)
The dance aspect is interesting but by no means overpowers the tender and delightful characters that Kephart created for us.
M. Knapp
I highly recommend this book to everyone and I guarantee you will fall in love with it.
And Another Book Read

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on May 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've been taking ballroom dancing lessons the past few years and so I read HOUSE OF DANCE with interest. I was surprised by how well this novel captures the world of dance, and I was moved by Rosie's story.

I highly recommend this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
You cannot buy a man who is dying a single meaningful thing. You can only give him back the life he loved and awaken the memories.

Rosie's father left when she was quite young. His only interaction with her comes in the mail: a weekly twenty-dollar bill. She has saved his money in a shoebox in the back of her closet as proof "that love cannot be bought."

Shortly after Rosie's father took off, her mother took a new job washing windows and eventually took up with her (married) boss. (She'd been taken from, that was her thinking, and now it was her turn for taking.) Instead of feeling left behind, Rosie learned how to take care of herself and never complained, a quiet strength building inside of her.

Now Rosie is fifteen years old and the grandfather she barely knows is dying. She is sent to check on him by her mother, who is too busy and too stubborn to visit him herself. Luckily, Granddad and his cat Riot are only a twenty-minute walk away. With her friends gone for the summer and her mother always at work, Rosie begins to fill her days with visits to her grandfather. As she helps him sort his belongings, they grow closer. She learns about the grandmother she never knew and the trips her grandparents never took. She also gains an appreciation for jazz music.

On one of her walks through town, Rosie discovers the House of Dance. Once she finally summons up the courage to enter the ballroom studio, her mother's heeled sandals dangling from her hand, she is rewarded with new friends and new routines. An idea starts to form in the back of her mind. As her grandfather's condition worsens, she works hard to make that idea into a reality.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Rosie Keith is in for a long summer. Her friends are all scattered for the three months at various jobs and camps, and her mother is hardly ever home, preferring to spend time with her business partner, who is also the man she is having an affair with. So Rosie turns to her grandfather, who is dying of cancer. During those long summer days, she helps Granddad clean through his multitudes of possessions, placing things to keep In Trust. It is on one of those day she discovers The House of Dance, and begins taking lessons there, hoping to put In Trust again a few of Granddad's long-ago memories before he is gone for good.

House of Dance is a distinct and intense look at Rosie's life, her losses, and how her family reacts. Kephart's words are lyrical and her incisive style propels the reader easily through the book. Her in-depth look at illness and foreshadowing of death are very realistic and heartfelt. You will find yourself relating easily to Rosie, and admiring her strength in this wonderfully crafted novel.
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By Audrey on August 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Title: House of Dance
Author: Beth Kephart
Genre: YA fiction

Where I got it: E-library

One sentence: Rosie tries to cope with her absentee mother and her grandfather's impending death and holding onto his memories through learning how to dance.

Themes: Loss, dance, coming-of-age

Main character: Rosie is an insightful fifteen year old trying to deal with the sickness and impending loss of her grandfather as her mother has an affair with a married man. I thought Rosie's character was well-developed and strong; she was very mature for her age and worked through the process of death through learning the waltz, like her grandmother used to dance.

Secondary characters: Kephart tried to bring in the secondary character of Nate, but he seemed too conspicuously absent to even be a minor character. I thought the character of Rosie's mother was particularly intriguing in how she was both absent (but very much a presence) and how she was the other woman.

Writing style: Kephart actually had a very mature and fluid writing style that I found compelling and beautiful, especially in a young adult novel, where I feel too often, writing focuses on action and not on description or style in the writing itself.

Plot: I thought there would be more actually dance involved in the novel; instead it seemed to focus on the relationship between Rosie and the other characters: her grandfather, her mother, and how she used dance as a gift to her grandfather. Ultimately, I wished there was some more depth to the plot.
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Format: Hardcover
Rosie isn't having the greatest summer and the worst thing is it just started. First of all her and her mom don't have the greatest relationship, all her friends are away and the worst thing is her grandpa is dying of cancer. Wanting to spend as much time as possible with him Rosie goes to his house, which is just across town, everyday. During the days with her grandpa not only does she talk with him, but she helps him clean out his cluttered house. As she is going through old things she starts to learn more about the life her grandpa, and for that fact her dead grandma, lived. On her way home one night Rosie hears music wafting through the air. As she looks up she sees magnificent dancers through the large windows. Now every time Rosie passes by The House of Dance she looks up to see the light steps of the dancers. One day Rosie plucks up the courage to go see for herself what the House of Dance is like and takes them up on their offer of one free lesson. Rosie falls in love with ballroom dancing and decides to keep it up. Through dance Rosie learns more about her grandpa's life and decides to give him the best gift she can.

The way I felt after reading this book is really hard to describe with words, it was just that amazing and fantabulous! Everything about it was just awesome. First I must start with the writing style. It was what I loved most about the book. Beth Kephart's words flowed so well together and they almost seemed to be lyrical. Also the description was great. I felt like I was walking right alongside Rosie, looking into the shop windows and smelling the breads at the bakery. Then the story itself was great. I loved how Rosie really came to find herself and learn to deal with difficult situations. I also loved Rosie's emotions in the book.
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