Monday, December 5, 2016

Review: Spin the Sky by Jill Mackenzie

Title: Spin the Sky 
Author: Jill Mackenzie 
Publisher: Sky Pony Press 
Source: Publisher 
Published: November 1st, 2016 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: Magnolia Woodson wants nothing more than to get her and her sister, Rose, out of the pitifully small, clamming-obsessed Oregon town that hates them—she just doesn’t know how. Forced to put up with the snide comments and hateful looks the townspeople throw at them, Mags thinks she’s destined to pay for the horrible, awful thing her mom did—and that she’s left her and Rose to deal with—until the day she dies.

But when a nationwide televised dance competition posts tryouts in nearby Portland, Mags’s best friend, George, says they have to go and audition. Not only have they spent the past fourteen years of their lives dancing side-by-side, dreaming of a day just like this, but also it could be Mags’s chance of a lifetime—a chance to win the grand-prize money and get her and Rose out of Summerland, a chance to do the thing she loves most with everyone watching, a chance to show the town that she’s not—and has never been—a “no-good Woodson girl,” like her mother. But will the competition prove too steep? And will Mags be able to retain her friendship with George as they go head-to-head in tryouts? Mags will have to learn that following her dreams may mean changing her life forever.

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“Fly. Soar. Dance again.”

Jill Mackenzie’s debut Young Adult contemporary is a moving story about a young girl in a small town that doesn’t want her. A talented dancer, Magnolia Woodson believes if she can earn a spot on the popular dance competition show Live to Dance and put her hometown on the map, then the people who live there will forgive her for her mother’s sins. With this hope, she begins a journey for one thing that leads to something she never could have imagined.

What Magnolia and her sister go through is heartbreaking. Though I’m from a small town and am all too familiar with “small town logic,” I fortunately can’t relate to this small of a town and the narrow mindedness of those who live in it. And Magnolia thinking that by winning this contest she could change the way people look at her just gutted me. Though she may have been, in my opinion, entering this competition for the wrong reason, I am so grateful she did because she learned so much and I love the growth the character experiences.

While this is a solid story, for me personally the interactions between the young characters in the beginning were, well… young. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. I’m not the targeted demographic for this book. Spin the Sky is intended for ages 12 and up, which I feel is the perfect audience – tweens and younger teens will love this story. But then the dancing happened and I was so moved and inspired. That’s when the writing became a thing of beauty and the story became ageless. I absolutely loved these parts, and I was so pleased by the ending. These are the kind of endings we need more of. There was a wonderful lesson to be learned and even for a not-so-young adult like myself, it was one I took great pleasure in being reminded of. I highly recommend this for YA lovers and fans of dance.

“My music plays on, and I dance.” 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Quotes included in this review are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.  
  
© at A Belle's Tales

  

11 comments:

  1. Oh I know I would love this one! I adore all things with dance... especially like traditional dance... but not when it gets into all the catty-ness cause people we can have books with dance without that nonsense... but anyway this doesnt sound like that and this sounds good. Great review!

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    1. I definitely thought about you when I read this! You would enjoy this for sure.

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  2. Ahh this just sounds lovely, and I liked that it appealed to you even though you weren't the targeted audience. The quote is just lovely. Hugs to you, my sweet friend.

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    1. It was such a touching story. Huge hugs to you, lovely Heidi! <3

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  3. Wonderful review Michele and I love that it moved from a young tween story into something for everyone.

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    1. Thank you! It really did. The descriptions of the dancing were so moving :)

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  4. I don't usually read musical-themed stories let alone with dancing, but dang! I can't suppress my desire to read this book. I'll definitely check this one out. Great review Michele :)

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    1. This was a first for me, but I really enjoyed it! Thank you, love!

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  5. I don't think I have read anything like this. My favorite thing about this review- that you loved the ending so much. Yeah! :)
    ~Jess

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  6. I loved reading this review from you. Sounds an interesting concept.

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  7. The story sounds like such a good one and very interesting. Glad you enjoyed it despite it being a more "young" book, I'm glad you got swept away!

    Lovely review dear friend! *HUGS*

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