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Ten Cents a Dance Hardcover – April 1, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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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.
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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: 6.5 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,594,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A real life situation, weather it's in 1944 or 2014, one parent families, trying to make ends meet, teenagers dropping out of school to start working to help support the family. The story covers unemployment, lying, drinking, teenage sex ,abuse, it doesn't matter what year it's in it effects every family differently. Finished this book in a few hours, couldn't put it down, a very good read.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is good to read a book in this time period as we take so much in this country for granted. You will meet many brave women who struggle and scrape

everyday and sometimes grab at any straw to improve their lives with circumstances we can only imagine. The story takes place at the beginning of WWII and the hardships that we can only imagine are taken in stride by these brave women. I found this story well written and interesting from beginning to end. I would recommend it to anyone who loves reading about the WWII era and those who need to be inspired.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher very much. I have always been interested in the story of taxi dancers and their nightly display of illusion that they earned their living by. This book provides a little look into that. The lead character, Ruby, is 16 years old with more responsibility than any young teen should have to shoulder that ultimately drive her down the path of supposed easy money. I felt the storyline was a bit predictable in places but on the whole worth the time spent reading it.
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Format: Hardcover
Chicago, 1941: When her mother becomes too sick to work, Ruby Jacinski knows it's her responsibility to look after the family and make sure money is coming in. Ruby doesn't mind dropping out of school. But working in the factory just about kills her. Leave it to Ruby and her fiery temper to lose a sweet spot slicing bacon and end up working in Pig's Feet.

When a local legend and all-around tough guy suggests that Ruby could use her talents as a dance teacher to earn some real dough, Ruby jumps at the offer. But teaching dancing is the last thing on the clients' minds when Ruby begins working as a taxi dancer.

With no other choices, Ruby immerses herself into the world of taxi dancing and learns the fine art of drawing extra gifts in the form of meals, clothes and even cash from her clients. Soon, Ruby is making more money than she could have imagined. Soon Ruby realizes that the unsavory aspects of her work are starting to stick to her as much as the stink of pickled pig's feet used to. With no one else to help, Ruby knows that it's her choice to make another change for herself in Ten Cents a Dance (2009) by Christine Fletcher.

Ten Cents a Dance was partly inspired by one of the authors relatives as detailed in the author's note at the end of the novel.

Fletcher offers a well-researched novel that brings the world of the Chicago Yards neighborhood to life. Ruby is a tough as nails heroine who isn't afraid to make hard choices to get what's coming to her. If Ruby is coarse or gritty during the story it is because she has to be to survive.

While Ruby's decisions are often fueled by impulsive judgments of painfully naive notions, she is a very authentic heroine and one that readers will understand.
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