Jessi has been chosen to be a part of Dance New York's winter session of classes. That means three and a half weeks in the big city, dancing with some of the best students and learning from some of the best instructors. She'll be staying with her cousin Michael (Aunt Cecelia's son) and his wife, Marian, in Brooklyn. Her first day of dance classes is full of surprises. Not only is Quint in her class, but the instructors seem to have nothing but corrections for her. Jessi starts to think that they made a mistake in asking her to join the class; what she doesn't notice is that the other kids are getting corrected just as often. Quint and his friend, Maritza, set her straight after class, and Jessi starts to think that maybe she's where she's supposed to be after all.
From then on, things just keep getting better. Maritza introduces Jessi to a lot of her friends, and Jessi finds it...refreshing to be in a room full of other black kids (I'm not making that up; she says so herself). Also, David Brailsford, the guy who runs Dance New York, tells her she has great potential. The one not-so-good thing is Quint; he seems to think that he and Jessi are going to be more than friends again, and that's not what Jessi wants at all. She knows she needs to have a talk with him, but she can't work up the nerve. She can't do it during dinner with his family, she can't do it during class, and she can't do it during hang out time with their friends. Finally, after lunch one day, she lays it out on the line. Quint is disappointed, but understands. He's content to be friends for the time being.
Jessi realizes that she's barely been thinking about her Stoneybrook life and friends with everything that's been going on, so she invites Mallory up for the weekend. She feels guilty for not staying in touch with Mal, and even more guilty for confiding in Maritza about all the Quint drama. Things are a little awkward with Mal around. Everyone gets along, and everyone is really nice, but she's the only non-dancer in the group, so conversations are a little hard to come by. Jessi finds herself relieved to see Mal get on the train back to Stoneybrook, and she also realizes something about herself: she doesn't want to go back home at the end of her session. She loves the life she's been living since starting the Dance New York program, and doesn't want it to end. By the time the class's final performance rolls around, everyone is buzzing about the invitations they've recieved to stay for another three week session. Everyone, that is, except Jessi. She didn't recieve an invitation, but she lets all the other kids think she did because she's too embarrassed to let them know the truth. After the performance, she finds out why she wasn't included. David Brailsford pulls Jessi and her family aside, and lets them know that he wants Jessi to audition to join Dance New York full time. She auditions, and gets in, but ultimately decides to put off joining until she's a little older.
Back in Stoneybrook, Becca whines a lot about Jessi being gone.
Thoughts and Things
- So...Quint and Maritza are both 11, and both are supposedly about 5'8". I know some kids grow up faster than others, but that just seems extreme....
- I LOVE all the descriptions of New York in this one.
- I also love seeing the city through the eyes of a BSC member that's not Stacey.
- When I first read this book, my gut reaction was to disagree with Jessi's decision not to join DNY full time until she's older. Now, I'm not so sure she was wrong. 11 IS awfully young, no matter how often the BSC tries to make us see otherwise.
- I kind of envision Jessi joining Dance New York when she's in high school. That would have made and AWESOME spin-off series....