One of the more unique stories I've read this year, Ten Cents a Dance, written by Christine Fletcher is written on a subject that I had yet to encounter in a young adult book. The writing was fantastic, the characters lovely, and the overall presence of the novel fresh and new. Oh...and the cover? I wanted to see the rest of that photo SO badly! Most mysterious...Definitely a winner!
Living in the 1940's during incredibly difficult times, 15 year old Ruby is forced to quit school and work to support her ill mother and younger sister. Laboring in a factory packing pigs feet into jars is not exactly Ruby's idea of glamorous and she knows that she's being made old before her time. Her joints ache, her fingers are swollen, and her heart simply isn't in her job. Can you blame her?
When a super slick bad boy gets her a job doing something Ruby really loves, dancing the nights away, she feels like she's fallen into a movie. Being paid to simply dance with men, maybe flirt with them a bit, and to often leave the dance hall for dinners and nights out on the town, all dressed in pretty clothes and her makeup done, Ruby loves her new, rich lifestyle. Unfortunately, her job is looked down upon by most people, considered almost prostitution and Ruby knows she can never let her mother find out how she is now making money for the family. Soon, Ruby is drawn so far into the world of dancing and fantasy, she begins to fall into trouble and isn't quite sure how to get herself out. She can't trust anyone in the business and isn't even sure she can trust herself any longer.
The premise of Ten Cents a Dance is mesmerizing and the descriptions of the people, clothes, and atmosphere is simply amazing. I was hooked from the first page and will definitely be recommending this book to everyone I possibly can. For sure, one of my favorites of 2008!
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.