Phantom’s Dance by Lesa Howard
Publication date: March 1st 2014
Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.
Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.
Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.
I have always loved Phantom of the Opera - the story, the music, everything about it. Lesa Howard has done a fantastic modern re-telling of this classic tale. Christine is a great ballerina that has earned a spot in a prestigious Academy. She's on the verge of making into their company, but she's missing just that little extra something that could help her make it all the way. When a mysterious tutor offers to help, but refuses to show himself, she takes him up on his offer to help her dance better. And so starts our Phantom.
Christine is not your typical teenager. She attends high school online and her dance career is her life. But she does have some of the typical teenager concerns. She wants a social life and a boyfriend. She wants to experience everything life has to offer without having to give up her dream of dancing. It's a delicate balancing act that she struggles to maintain. Throw into that some family issues and she has a lot on her plate.
Eric, our phantom, is a mystery. And knowing that it is a re-telling, I sat in anticipation for him to make his move. When he does, it's a big move and I was really shocked. Parts of this story aren't for the faint of heart. There are some adult topics that are very important, and while I'm not sure I approve of the way Christine handled all of them, she handled them in a very real way.
There are a few unexpected twists as their story unfolds and Lesa Howard's writing was beautiful. I fell into the story and the characters completely. Christine's life was fascinating. It's amazing how grueling her training and life was and how intense her training was. This is a great read for lovers of Phantom or contemporary young adult.
I'm not the typical author. I didn't always enjoy reading or writing. While in school, I found it to be a chore I'd just as soon skip. I would rather have been daydreaming, my favorite past time. It wasn’t until I grew up and didn’t have to, that I realized reading was fun. I soon discovered that reading fueled my daydreaming. So, remembering a short story I'd written in high school, I began imagining expanding that story into a book. Before long I found I had loads of ideas for not just the short story but other books and stories as well. Fast forward a few years, a lot of studying about writing, practicing my writing, studying some more, taking classes from people who knew what they were doing, studying and practicing yet more, and ta-dah, author! In the same way I had learned I loved reading, I learned I loved writing, too. It’s just that writing is a lot harder than reading.
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