FRIDAY NIGHT STAGE LIGHTS
Middle Grade novel
Simon & Schuster's Aladin Mix
Available in both paperback and hardcover
The Cutting Edge meets Step Up in this hilarious M!X novel where the worlds of football and ballet collide.
Football is everything in Emma’s Texas town. The week revolves around Friday night lights; her step-brother Tanner is the star of the high school team, her step-dad is an arm-chair quarterback, and her mom is the team’s biggest fan. Even her best friend, Mia, creates vlogs about the football team and posts them on her YouTube page. In other words, everyone eats, sleeps, and breathes football.
Well, everyone except Emma.
Because to Emma, it’s not football that’s everything, but ballet. It’s her way of escaping the town’s obsession with football and gives her a way to just be herself. Auditions are coming up for the Texas School of the Arts, where she can escape the football craze permanently. But then the worst possible thing happens.
The middle school football coach doesn’t think his boys have quite what it takes on the football field, and decides to follow in the footsteps of the Dallas Cowboys to have the team trade in their helmets for high kicks in order to gain better agility on the field. Ballet was supposed to be her place, and now that’s getting invaded by football too.
And then something even worse happens: her audition partner breaks his leg. And the only other male dance partner available? Logan, star of the middle school football team.
What could go wrong from giving it a chance to save her dreams?
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Brooklyn has one love: ballet.
She’s competing for a spot at the Texas School of the Arts, where she can focus on dance. Her first step: impress TSOTA’s scouts at the All-City Showcase with a pas de deux. Her teacher suggests a volunteer activity to round out her application and has the perfect project. Enter the fumbling (pun intended) Leighton Middle School football team; they’re taking conditioning classes at Brooklyn’s ballet studio, and Brooklyn will model the positions. Many girls in her class are excited about the boys—but not Brooklyn. The studio is her haven in her football-obsessed town, and she’s not pleased at the prospect of sharing it with boys who goof around during lessons and treat ballet like a joke. When dance partner Jayden breaks his leg, Brooklyn almost gives up on the showcase, but then her teacher suggests Logan, a football player, fill in. He agrees, on one condition: that Brooklyn give football a chance. She promises, but that will never happen. Or will it? A family dispute over Brooklyn’s superstar high school–football-player stepbrother Tanner’s future adds an extra layer of tension to the story. Brooklyn’s friend Mia is biracial, Japanese and white. Former partner Jayden is 6 feet tall and, as he calls himself “the LeBron James of ballet,” is implied black. Brooklyn, her family, and Logan are all default white (as is much of the rest of the cast).
Will inspire readers to go for their dreams, one leap at a time. (Fiction. 8-13)