By Leanne Lieberman
Available now from Orca Limelights
Ocra Limelights are a series of hi-lo books from Orca Books. Hi-lo books are books that are high in interest and low in effort. They're especially good for struggling readers. As such, OFF POINTE is short, to the point, and very easy to read.
Meg is a ballerina. She lives and breathes ballet, and hopes to do it professionally. However, there is something holding her back. So when her ballet camp plans fall through, her teacher advises her to go to a different dance camp, one that will expose her to other disciplines. Meg decides to focus on contemporary thanks to Nio, the boy she set next to on the bus. But she's deeply unhappy to not be doing ballet, and finds contemporary somewhat embarrassing. She doesn't like improving dancing like a tree and such.
There's two storylines. One is about Meg's dance, learning to stretch herself and develop a comfortable stage presences. The second has to do with her rivalry with Logan, the star of the contemporary class and Nio's usual partner. The two girls are jealous of each other and the other's friendship with Nio. It's all very platonic as the book dances around the fact that Nio is probably gay. (Obviously, not all male dancers are gay, but Nio certainly doesn't seem interested in the girls around him, even when they are having catfights over his attention.)
The brief page count means there isn't time for OFF POINTE to go off into unpredictable directions. But that's fine. Sometimes a standard plot executed well is enough. OFF POINTE is well suited to the targeted group, and it is perfect for dance-crazy young readers.