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Ten Cents a Dance Hardcover – April 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1st edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599901641
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599901640
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,839,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Ruby replaces her ailing mother in the tough, meatpacking Yards of 1940s Chicago, the feisty teen can’t stand the job’s grimness and poverty wages: I spent eight hours a day stuffing hogs’ feet in jars, and we still ate beans. When handsome bad-boy Paulie urges her to try the Starlight Dance Academy, and get paid to dance with men who show up each night, she can’t resist this far more lucrative prospect. Although her mom believes Ruby has changed jobs to become a nightshift telephone operator, Ruby sashays into the wee hours as a dance-hall girl looking for glamour and adventure. Readers will be riveted by Ruby’s journey as she leaves one desperate existence for another and finds herself drawn deeper into a world that is hard-edged and even dangerous—especially when she begins to let Paulie lead her down a dubious path. Blatant racism, crime, and the swing-era music scene permeate the backdrop of Fletcher’s absorbing wartime novel, which will have readers rooting for its spirited, soul-searching heroine. Grades 9-12. --Anne O'Malley

About the Author

Christine Fletcher grew up in California. After receiving her veterinary degree from the University of California, she lived for three years in the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. She writes, teaches, and practices veterinary medicine in Portland, OR. www.christinefletcherbooks.com
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

I'm a veterinarian who started writing and never stopped. I've published two young adult novels: Ten Cents a Dance, which was named a Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association, and Tallulah Falls, which was named a 2007 Book for the Teen Age by the New York Public Library. I practice veterinary medicine part-time; the rest of the time, I'm up in my office, clacking away at the keyboard.

You can find out more and read excerpts from both books at www.christinefletcherbooks.com.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I love the characters in this story.
Farha Zaman
This makes the book sound very serious, and it is.
Alirambles
Kudos to Christine Fletcher for a great story!
A. Norman-Beltran

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It is the 1940's and 15-year-old Ruby Jacinski has had to step in and support her family. Her father is dead and her mother is now too sick to work. The family has had to move to a poorer neighborhood and the only work Ruby can get is at the meat-packing plant, earning $12.25 per week. Her only escape is when she meets her friends to go dancing.

One night, Ruby's entire life changes. Tough-guy Paulie Suelze tells her how she can earn up to $50 a week. That much money could change Ruby's life. She could pay off the families grocery bill, get her mother's wedding ring out of the pawn shop, and maybe even get her mother and sister out of the Back of the Yards and into a decent house.

There is a hitch to the idea. The job isn't exactly a respectable one. She would be working as a taxi dancer, a girl who dances with men for money. For the cost of a dime, lonely men purchase the illusion of having a pretty girl who is interested in them, even if it is only for the length of a song. Since dancing is what Ruby does best, she figures there will be no problem earning that much money.

Ruby quits her job at the plant and devises a story so that her mother will let her stay out late every night, when the Dance Halls do their business. Ruby soon finds herself leading two lives and hiding each from the other.

Taxi dancing proves to be more complicated than Ruby thought. There is a hierarchy of girls to navigate through and earning good money means learning the act of subtle manipulation with the clients. Ruby soon learns that the world of taxi dancing is a complicated one and, as her new friend Peggy tells her, "every taxi dancer has a story."

Will Ruby be able to separate herself from this new world or will she become another one of its casualties?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Compulsive Reader VINE VOICE on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ruby Jacinski is desperate to get out of Chicago's meat-packing yards and start her life. This dream is far out of her reach though when she has to drop out of school and take a job in order to support her family after her mother's arthritis makes it impossible for her to work. And at twelve dollars a week, Ruby is going nowhere fast. But when a neighborhood boy tells her that she can be raking in forty dollars a week by doing what she loves most, dancing, Ruby jumps at the opportunity, even if it is a shade less than respectable. But unless she's careful, Ruby may find herself in deep trouble that she won't be able to dance herself out of.

Fletcher's eye-opening and authentic novel of the brutality of life of the poor in 1940's Chicago is one that readers will succumb to easily, and won't be able to leave anytime soon. Ruby's sass and attitude will make her an instant favorite, and you can't help but root for this spunky girl as she learns the ups and downs of taxi dancehalls and struggles to keep out trouble. Fletcher's descriptions of that life, without being inappropriate, are enough so that you don't pity Ruby, but rather admire the strength and character of this girl, who had to grow up entirely too quickly.

[...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Hastings VINE VOICE on April 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was exactly what I'd been looking for. I wanted to read something entertaining but with depth, preferably about a strong young woman and that is what I got and more. I was transported into a different time era that felt authentic. It's 1941 and I'm right there with Ruby, in the dancehall, at the jazz clubs, beside her when she's lying to her mother.

I felt her need to be young, to have fun, to help her family and I admired her courage. Loved this book. Everything about it was pitch-perfect and I hope this author keeps writing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Farha Zaman on July 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
This was a wonderful book for sixteen and up.

Ruby, a sixteen year old living in the poor industrial area of Chicago, is a dropout, working in a factory where she packs pigs feet in brine to make money. Her widowed mother, can't get a job with knotted arthritic hands. She is left to spend her days sliding around in brine, and calculating how to pay for their next meal, back rent, and coal for the cook stove.
She is already feeling the tedious life that lays in front of her until Paulie, a local bad boy tells her about a job as a dance instructor at Starlight every evening. She is dazzled by the lovely girls in furs and jewelry. Mel, her new boss tells her the job pays a nickle for each dance plus tips, and Ruby finally sees a way to pull her family out of poverty. Worried about her religious mother's reaction, Ruby manages to hide her new job from her family and tells them she will be a phone operator.

The best part of her new life is Paulie, who shows her the exciting underbelly of crime. Ruby maneuvers her way into the routine of dancing and balancing her life, but the life of fast money comes with prices. It seems that while their clients were generous with money, they expected a lot more than she ever dreamed. Soon Ruby is tangle in a web of her own lies and faced decision that with change who she is, forever.

This book is a wonderful historical fiction read, but also a great warning to young people who may start down a questionable path with good intentions. There is also a message about abusive relationships that I wish was a more prominent part of the book. I love the characters in this story. They are developed, but not with writing, but what is left unsaid. I found myself filling the blanks for many of the mysterious supporting characters. This story is rich in detail, accuracy, and makes you take a hard look at what people will do to keep up illusions.
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