Friday, November 18, 2011

Dancing on the Inside by Glen C. Strathy: Blog Tour - Excerpt and Review

Thanks go out to Pump Up Your Books for allowing me to participate in the blog tour for Glen C. Strathy's novel Dancing on the Inside.

 Book Summary:

Ever since her grandparents gave her a DVD of Swan Lake, twelve-year old Jenny Spark has wanted to be a dancer. But on her first day of ballet class, she suffers a panic attack and makes a horrifying discovery. She’s terrified of dancing in front of the other kids, and as for actually performing for an audience? Forget it.

Yet Jenny refuses to give up her dream. With determination and a little ingenuity, she finds ways to observe ballet classes without actually participating. She trains in the safety of her room, while hiding the truth from her parents. Then Jenny meets her exact opposite: Ara Reyes, an outgoing, spontaneous, and accident-prone girl who loves dancing but has always been overlooked.

The girls’ friendship blossoms as they help each other uncover their real talents. Ara’s dancing takes a leap forward and Jenny discovers she has an amazing gift for choreography. With the support of the school’s newest teacher, Jenny’s original ballet might just make it on stage … but will she? 

About the Author:

Glen C. Strathy started writing stories when he was 11 years old and too shy to have a life.  He eventually found a life when he started acting in community theater and met other writers, actors, dancers, and artists.  He discovered that the best thing about performing arts (and other arts too) is that they give people more freedom to be who they want to be.  After spending time as an actor, teacher, and freelance writer, he returned to his first love, fiction and wrote Dancing on the Inside, a novel for ages 9-12.

Glen earned an M.A. in English from the University of Western Ontario, and graduated from the Artist in Community Education program at Queen’s University, Kingston. He co-authored two non-fiction books, one of which (The Coming Economic Collapse, Warner Business Books, 2006) became a New York Times Bestselling Business Book.  He belongs to the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). His website provides advice to budding authors.

Glen lives with his wife, fellow writer Kaitlin Rainey, and their daughter in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

You can visit his website at  Visit him on Twitter at and Facebook at

My Thoughts:

This book was a real treat for me and a chance to read about something I am not knowledgeable about - ballet.  I thought this was a quick and light read but one with deeper meaning and lessons that went beyond the cover of the book.

The information about ballet was the most informative and I enjoyed the way that the author presented it - not overwhelming, not overdone, just perfect.  And I learned a lot...which is always great when a book allows you to do that.

The best part of the book for me was watching the friendship between Ara and Jenny - this friendship is the exact model that I try to teach my students about.  Bringing out the best in each other without outshining or outdoing the other, that is what makes a friendship bloom.

I also enjoyed following along with Jenny throughout her obstacles and trials - the perseverance that Jenny displays is such a great attribute and makes her a very strong character.  And even though I was angry with her mother throughout the book, I am glad that the author included her as a character because we need to realize that not everyone in our lives will be supportive all the time and that is another obstacle that we have to overcome to achieve our goals.

The author really does tell a great story here and I loved it.  It was outside my norm, but a welcome reprieve from it.  Thanks so much to Glen Strathy who sent me a copy to review!

Book Excerpt:

As she was getting ready for bed that night, Jenny bent down and picked up a pair of pajamas that had fallen on the floor—without bending her knees. Straightening, she suddenly realized that, two months ago, she couldn’t have done that. She looked down at her legs, which had been firmed by hundreds of rélevés. She had changed in these past two months. And yet, she was just beginning. How much more was there to discover? How much further could she change if she had the chance?

There was something missing in her. A hole that dance promised to fill. It had called to her that first time she saw the DVD of Swan Lake, and it was calling even more strongly now.

Jenny decided that somehow she had to get back into that studio, and with her parents blessing next time. She didn’t know exactly how to do it. She just knew she would. 

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