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Confessions of a Backup Dancer Paperback – June 1, 2004
The Amazon Book Review
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–Kelly Kimball, 17, is a talented dancer. When her best friend convinces her to attempt a Los Angeles audition, Kelly ultimately finds herself on a summer tour as a backup with pop princess Darcy Barnes, who soon views Kelly as her new best friend. Kelly works hard to be a top performer, which is difficult when she has to deal with Darcy's overbearing mother, Darla, who calls the shots; sensational media hype; the star's tendencies to smoke pot, drink too much, and sneak around with her boyfriend; and the pressures of the road. However, Kelly feels responsible for earning the money she knows her family needs. When Darla unjustly fires her, Kelly dances with a competitor's tour, until the diva has the guts to stand up to her mother, bring Kelly back into the show, and prove that she truly is her friend. The book is told through Kelly's "entries" into personal diary software, interspersed with instant messages and e-mails. The teen's lively character is realized through this creative format, and her voice rings clear and true. It is through that voice, complete with wry humor, realistic slang, and occasional coarse vernacular, that supporting characters and situations come to life. The purposeful grammatical errors simulating the way a "real" teen might write are mildly annoying. However, fans of Rachel Cohn's Pop Princess (S & S, 2004) and Sarra Manning's Guitar Girl (Dutton, 2004) will easily overlook them as they join Kelly on her travels and enjoy this backstage view of stardom.–Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 8-12. Talk about your guilty pleasures! From the shiny silver cover with its stylized photograph of a dancer to the online diary format, this is a book teens will fight over. Kelly Kimball, an "ordinary" 17-year-old from San Diego, is selected to be a backup dancer for teen superstar Darcy Barnes' summer tour. We all want to know about the secret lives of pop stars, and thanks to Kelly, readers learn what Darcy likes to watch (Disney videos), her working habits (driven professional), her relationship with her boyfriend, with whom she is absolutely not having sex (yeah, right), and her not-as-happy-as-it-looks rapport with her overbearing mother. E-mails and instant messages intersperse the online diary entries written by a talented girl who gets a chance to make it big but realizes fame isn't all she's expected. The pop culture references will date quickly, but this is a compulsively readable, potato chip of a book that will be passed from teen to teen (with a few adults sneaking a peek as well). Debbie Carton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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By: Tucker Shaw
Confessions of a Backup Dancer is a nonfiction book about a girl, Kelly, who lives in San Diego and goes to an audition to later find herself going on a summer tour with the world's biggest pop star, Darcy Barnes. She gets all the insider secrets, and the real story behind all of the gossip. After getting in trouble with Darla Barnes, Darcy's control freak of a mother, Kelly is fired and then hired again by Darcy's rival, Pashmina. Over this hectic summer there are many true tests of friendship, loyalty, and "realness." I like how the characters are very real and put into real situations. Over the course of the book, there was not a character I didn't except for Darla.
This was a great book. It was unlike any book I have ever read. This book gets inside Kelly's head and actually tells the situations for what they are from her point of view. I felt like I was actually inside of her world throughout the story and I really got to know what pop stars really acted like behind all of that entourage and press. I would recommend this book to older teens around age fifteen and older. The whole book talks about realness and how important this is, and Kelly struggled with staying real all summer without letting anything spin out of control. I really loved this out-of-control, wacky, and real-life story and any teenage girl would enjoy reading Confessions of a Backup Dancer.
Seventeen-year-old Kelly Kimball works at Beatz Beachside Dance Studio in San Diego and has taken dance lessons for "350 years" (actually twelve years). Via her personal diary software and e-mails to and from her best friend, Tito, Kelly relates the story of the summer of 2003 and her experiences as a backup dancer for a pop star. Since Kelly's father died eight years ago, her mother has been married twice and seems unable to navigate life without a man. Kelly lives with her fifteen-year-old brother, Evan, who is chronically in trouble with the law; her mother; her nasty stepfather, Carl; and his twin daughters, Staci and Traci. Kelly is close to her brother, worries about him, and tries to help Evan when she can. Kelly loves to dance and also sings well. Tito thinks she is a terrific dancer, and he encourages Kelly to try out for an all-girl pop group. After surviving a harrowing audition, Kelly is not selected but is tapped to be a backup dancer for Darcy Barnes, a pop star a la Britney Spears. Kelly's grueling rehearsal schedule and life on the road destroy any illusions that this life is one of glamour and riches. Popular culture references and Kelly's wit and candor keep the story fresh and real, while Shaw, author of Flavor of the Week (Hyperion, 2004/VOYA February 2004), creates plot twists to keep the reader guessing about the ending. Breezy and fun, this novel should appeal to older teens interested in dance. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Simon Pulse/S & S, 256p., pb. Ages 15 to 18.
KLIATT - Stephanie Squicciarini
The confessions are those of Kelly Kimball, a 17-year-old dance instructor with a dysfunctional family and a best friend who convinces her to try out for a new pop girl-band. Kelly does not make the cut for the band, but is offered a dream job as a backup dancer for a huge pop star. Told through journal entries, e-mails, news articles, and IMs, Confessions is a quick read. Kelly, renamed K.K. for the concert tour, is excited about the money and the chance to dance. What starts out as a dream gig quickly turns into a fight with the reality of life on the road with a pop star (Darcy), her overbearing mother (Darla) who hates Kelly, unfriendly and cliquish fellow dancers, and the press that follows it all. Kelly finds herself in the middle of Darcy and Darla, Darcy and her not-to-be-made-public boyfriend, Jesse Nixon (MTV VJ), and eventually Darcy and her rival pop star, Pashmina. There is an underlying story of Kelly's relationship with her troubled brother and her mother's impending divorce that adds to the stress that Kelly experiences. There is little character development that does not seem to fluctuate between what seems to be real and what might be fake depending on the motivation of the character, but that interpretation can be left up to the reader. Fans of any gossipy pop star/celebrity magazine will surely enjoy this book. With the lives of real pop stars seemingly newsworthy on a daily basis, the story is believable and readers will find themselves rooting for Kelly and her success as a dancer. There is some mature content and language, so this is recommended for older teens. Fans of the Gossip Girl series and stories told through the use of different mechanisms (e-mail,IM, diary, etc.) will find this book and share it with their friends. KLIATT Codes: S-Recommended for senior high school students. 2004, Simon & Schuster, 265p., Ages 15 to 18.
Kelly shows her good and bad sides, especially when she is in a bad mood and she also gives every little detail about what people say and how they act. I really want to know who Darcy Barnes and Pashmina really are. One part of the book I really do enjoy is how Tucker Shaw does the email and instant message form, and how the punctuation and grammar mistakes are made online while "chatting" with buddies.
I chose this book for the American Dream theme because it shows the real effort of a dancer and how she wants to make a living, and wants to help her mother to make more money so they can afford her older brother going to college. Another reason I chose this book for the American Dream is that this is a diary form novel and just living each and every day of your life should be part of your American Dream, and I believe it was Kelly's dream, too. I recommend this book to anyone, especially anyone who likes to read first-person novels, and who is wishing to persue their career as a performer. This novel shows great detail of how a backup dancer life could be like, and gives you a background on an anonymous dancer and not knowing how much of the information is true, you still get a good feel on what this dancer had to deal with.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is amazing if you want to ever become a dancer.
this book wants you want to chase your dreams.Read more
By Tucker Shaw
Confessions of a Back-Up Dancer is a story that cradles you along the life of Kelly Kimball.Read more