This book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.
Everyone agrees “that Casey Quinn is an unfortunate child: no money, no father, no nothing” (9). Yes, it is true Casey has nothing… but Casey’s love and passion for dance is stronger than anything else.
In the first book Sarah Rubin wrote, Someday Dancer, “it’s true Casey’s nose is too wide, she’s freckled from head to toe, and her ears even stick out like two mug handles” (4), but she does have grace. She “has more grace in her left little fingernail than new-to-school Miss Priss Ann-Lee and all those pinky-pink ballet girls put together” (4). Will Casey’s grace, determination, and love of dance be enough to lead her to the Big Apple someday?
It is 1959 in Warren, South Carolina. Sarah Rubin’s bonny legged Casey Quinn, is dancing in the hot dry sun where the parched grass is sprouting up through the cracks, and crunches on every turn she makes. Casey Quinn is a long legged scrawny armed girl who is freckled from head to toe. She lives with her cakewalk Queen Gran and artistic Mama who both work at the hospital as cleaning ladies. They both inspire Casey because of their strong will and strength. Casey’s family does not have much money, especially after her father died in the war a few years before. Although she has never had dance lessons before, her dream is to someday become a dancer in New York City. But she doesn’t want to become any dancer; she wants to become a “real star” (6).
One day Priss Ann-Lee, a girl who just moved to Warren who is a bully and thinks she’s the better than everyone, told Casey about an audition for the School of American Ballet in New York City. Casey is determined to find some way to make it to that audition so she can dance in New York City. It will take all of Casey’s concentration and determination in order to reach her goal.
Someday Dancer is one of the only novels that has made me want to get up and dance and inspired me to reach my goals. Sarah Rubin makes great descriptions on the setting from Casey’s point of view. For example when describing New York City Casey assumes, “There are whole states between South Carolina and New York. I’ll bet New York City makes Warren look like an anthill. In a city like that, no one would know where you came from, no one would know you were poor or your father was dead. In a city like that, I could be anyone I wanted to be and no one would laugh at me for trying” (10).
Although the setting description is amazing, Casey is the main reason I love this novel so much. Her voice and determination ring clearly and made me connect with her even more. Rubin’s detail of Casey and the others around her was so descriptive; it felt as if I was right there with them and made them seem completely real with their actions and different personalities. At one point in the book I was so connected to Casey and her personality that I started crying. Casey persevered through anything that got in her way, and I think that is a true quality that lots aspire to get.
The most important theme in the story is to not let road blocks get in the way of your dreams. Casey demonstrated this by thinking about how important her dream was, and by having the strength to persevere through anything or anyone that got in her way no matter what. She won’t even let the priss stand in her way: “I don’t care. Priss Ann-Lee laughs like an ugly monkey, so who cares if she’s laughing at me” (3)? In order to fulfill her dream, though, Casey will need to drop all of her thoughts and emotions and put them into her dance.
Although the book takes place many years ago in 1959, the same circumstances of people trying to pursue their dreams still happen today. Additionally, since the book took place years ago Casey is able to meet important people in dance history in the book.
Someday Dancer is an amazing book of assiduity, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys dance or who likes a thrilling adventure on perseverance. It is a great fiction book and is a surprising story about following your dreams. If you would like to find out what happens to Casey and her dream, you will have to read the rest of the book, and be prepared for a shocking modern twist.
-Skyler C., 7th grade