I’m really interested in Young Adult novels so I’ve been meaning to read Chance to Dance for You so, thanks to the TBR Blogging Challenge, I pulled it off my shelf and gave it a read!
Sometimes keeping a secret is harder than telling the truth.
Ian lives in a suburb where everything’s the same. The houses are the same, the cars are the same, and their aspirations are the same. But Ian is different. Openly gay in his bigoted high school, Ian doesn’t exactly fit in. But he’s not worried – he’s been training in dance for a long time and soon he’ll be able to leave town and train to become a professional. Then he falls in love with Jess, the high school quarterback…
There are a lot of things I liked about this novel. I found Ian to be an honest, and candid, character. The struggles he experiences as an openly-gay teen in a closed community rings with a true voice. There are times when he almost seems to be a stereotype, going on about how happy he is, but I felt these portions almost seem to reflect the ways in which he was talking himself into being happy.
The challenges he faces in dealing with Jess, who knows he is gay but wants to stay firmly in the closet, are complex and translate as being very vivid and honest. Having watched friends grapple with these issues when I was a teenager, I could really relate to the concept of “playing straight” and how paralyzing the fear of discovery could be.
The funniest part of the novel to me was when Ian makes reference to Glee. I must admit that when I first began reading the novel, the first thing that sprang into my mind was Glee and storyline in which Kurt was kissed by David, a jock who then threatened Kurt if he exposed him. It was as if Gail Sidonie Sobat was reading my mind and she made it obvious through Ian’s comments that this story had been around longer than the Glee storyline!
While I appreciated the novel as a whole (and loved the flashmob scene, which was duplicated in the YouTube video below!), some of the characters still fall flat. I found Ian’s mother very two-dimensional – she was in the story but could have been developed further. The same is true of Madame, Ian’s dance teacher. She also seemed to a be a caricature and should have been portrayed more realistically.
The ending on the novel made me sad but, to me, was also very realistic. I appreciated that fact – in real life, situations don’t always have happy endings.
Overall, I was quite impressed with Chance to Dance for You. I think the topic of the relationships and struggles experienced by gay teens was portrayed in an honest manner without becoming extremely graphic or cliche. I think this book would be an excellent option for any teen (or adult, for that matter!) to read!
*I received no compensation of any type for this post. I just love reading!*