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As a little girl, Amanda Brice dreamed of being either a ballerina or the author of a mystery series featuring a cool crime-solving chick named Nancy Flew, but her father urged her to "do something practical," so she went to law school and spent her days writing briefs and pleadings instead of fiction.
But dance and writing have remained a part of her life. Amanda was a member of the ballroom dance team at Duke University, and continues this interest by her obsession with Dancing with the Stars, so it was only natural for her to set a teen mystery series at a dance school.
Amanda is the Vice President of Washington Romance Writers, and is a two-time finalist for Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® Award. She blogs every every other Friday with Killer Fiction. She is also a popular conference presenter, speaking on basic copyright and trademark law for writers. You can learn more about Amanda at www.amandabrice.net.
I enjoyed this book, although it was written for teens or maybe even preteens. Yes, it was pretty obvious "who dun it", but it was still a fun read. Dani acts with typical 14 year old impulsiveness as she strives to solve the mystery of WHO might want to disrupt a TV series filmed on her Arts high school campus. Her reactions to various handsome boys are handled in a purely non-sexual way, making Dani a great role model for younger readers! The other characters range from the BFF's to the campus snob, and are well-drawn. It's not often a book can have such a wide appeal to all ages, but this book does this remarkably well. There is a side bit about eating disorders which I found to be a good touch, again mostly for the younger readers who might be experiencing them and who need education and encouragement to seek counseling. I am looking forward to more in this series.
I'm really enjoying this series. Amanda Brice had created a fantastic heroine in Dani. She's relatable and real -- doesn't just feel like what adults think a teen should be. She's strong but vulnerable at the same time. She's an amazing dancer, but has doubts and anxiety and worries, just like everyone else.
I thought the eating disorder part was very important and necessary for a book about the dance world, but Amanda Brice handled it well and helps to show that a healthy body image is so important.
The writing was funny and the plot was suspeneful. I can't wait for the next!
This is volume 2 in the Dani Spevak mystery series. There's a short story at 2.5 and a volume 3 has just been released. The books can be read out of order, but it's a little easier to read them in order. If in doubt, the short story, ("Barre Hopping at Midnight"), is currently a Kindle freebie.
This series seems to be much more of a school days/girlfriends/romance effort than a mystery series, but that's O.K. because it does what it does very well. Our heroine, Dani Spevak, is a talented ballet student at Mountain Shadows, a performing arts boarding school. She has friends, enemies, and frenemies. She has a sort of boyfriend, who is an actor on the verge of stardom. She has to stress about school, her boyfriend, her career, and her love life. Every now and then she stumbles across a crime victim and finds herself in the middle of another mystery. This mysteries are almost just an excuse to keep the book moving, but they are getting a bit more complex and interesting as the series progresses, and the mystery in this volume is better than most.
Dani is an engaging protagonist. She is a combination of talent, confidence and vulnerability. She is a reliable narrator with a self-deprecating sense of humor. She has not been created with a lot of quirks or with any burdensome backstory, (this isn't "Black Swan"), so the whole impression she leaves is fresh and spirited.
This very comfortable vibe is complemented by the fact that her friends are catty, but funny-catty and talking trash for laughs and giggles. Even the bad guy mean girls are "mean light", in that their comments aren't deep and don't score. I'm not a fan of the mean girls books where the emotional damage being handed out is uncomfortably real.Read more ›
This YA book was one of my favorites in a group I was given to review for Read2Review. It was very easy to slip into and enjoy the ballet and mystery as well as a little love story.
Amanda Brice brings all her characters to life! Pointe of No Return lets you see the background feelins of the "bunheads" as they try for roles in the Nutcracker. Yes, it's the classic teen angst, love, and rivalry, but with a very interesting twist! Reading this was a great reminder of growing up reading Nancy Drew Mysteries.
The character of Dani just captured my attention with her issues trying to become the best she can be while competing with older, more experience girls. All the characters came together to help when needed and exposed the true villan.
Any more and I'll spoil the twist ending! Definitely a great little read!!
I wasn't sure how I'd like reading a young adult book with a 14 year old protagonist who goes to an elite arts school to practice dance (ballet specifically) and solves mysteries. But hey, I did have fond memories of Nancy Drew, so I took the plunge.
I'm glad I did. Dani Spevak is a typical young teen (extraordinary dance skills aside). She's a freshman at a nationally recognized dance school in Arizona, a boarding school where the kids have a grueling academic, as well as arts schedule. Tryouts are on for the Nutcracker production, and although good, Dani realizes that this first year, she'll probably be assigned a snowflake role. Imagine her surprise when she discovers she's an understudy to the Sugar Plum Fairy role, and the dreaded diva Hadley Turner. It's a great honor to be an understudy to the lead, especially as a Freshman, but since she's been given no other role, Dani will work hard for the production and never make it on stage. Unless, that is, something happens to Hadley. Hadley vanishes, and Dani enthusiastically begins investigating her disappearance, as much because she loves amateur detective work as to clear her name as a suspect.
The plot is nicely put together, and everything moves along at a steady pace. There is a bit of a love interest, and a whole host of friends and frenemies. This book is written from the point of view of a 14 year old, and not an adult stuck into a young body. The language, the tone, the thought process is absolutely true to the age of the heroine. That's a skilled bit of writing on Brice's part. I've got a 15 year old son, teen nieces, and since I horseback ride, I hang out at the stable with a lot of teenage girls. Teens are desperately trying to find themselves, and their place in a competitive and fast moving society.Read more ›