Learning to Dance in the Rain

By: Sydney Appleton

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Holly Gardener grew up with no mom and four brothers. She handles every girl problem by herself, and she basically keeps her family together. Her only escape is dance. She dances at Art In Motion studio in New Jersey with her best friend Katie. Holly is the best dancer at the studio, and she won National Junior Dancer of the Year 2011. Nationals are coming up and the pressure is on. When her family life starts to effect her dance, she will have to learn how to dance in the rain. When Nationals come around, will Holly dance her best, even when her dad gets a call that changes her life forever?



The main character, Holly, is brought to life through characterization. "The sweat poured down my face, and my muscles moaned. Even though my muscles felt like jelly, I had the biggest, brightest smile on my face" When the author wrote that, I knew how committed she is to dance and how much she loves doing it. "I danced my heart out. My dance was performed so perfectly that flawless was an understatement. The fluidity of that piece was magical and I poured my soul into it." I chose this part because it showed how well Holly danced, and how hard she worked to earn the title. These are only a couple ways the main character, Holly, shows who she is.



Dialogue can be very powerful, and it can set the mood. In one scene, Holly is crying her eyes out in her room because she feels like she has to do everything for her family, and she misses her mom. Kyle, her brother in the army, comes in. It is important because it shows how much Holly needs her mom, and how alone she feels without her. She has no one to talk to about her life. Kyle can do nothing to help, and he never does anything so Holly expresses her feelings. Another example is when Matt is at rehabilitation camp, and is talking to Holly on the phone. This is a good example because when they are talking, Matt apologizes to Holly for all the mistakes he has made. It shows how sorry Matt is, and how much he loves Holly. He makes it clear that he would do anything to make it up to Holly. In the end, the author used good dialogue to build the plot and show characterization.

Figurative Language

In this book, there are many examples of figurative language. One example is at the part where Holly feels like she has no one. The author writes, "Tears rushed out of my eyes like a waterfall. I felt the sopping wet pillow under my cheek." This is figurative language because it shows how much Holly is crying, and it makes me feel the pillow and the emotions she is feeling. Another example is at the part where Holly is eating lunch at Nationals. The author writes, "I bit into the summer salad. The lettuce crunched under my teeth. The warm chicken was a perfect touch to the ice berg lettuce." I chose this example because it made my mouth water, and it was like I was eating the salad myself. In conclusion, these are only a few of the many figurative language used in this story. The author did a great job at making this story come alive.

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The author brings through one main theme in this book. I believe it is "You have been given the gift of life, use it." The reason I think that this is the theme is first, Holly is always living life to the fullest, and she is never regretting anything. Next, Holly never complains about how many hours she has to put into dance. She always is thankful and making the best out of everything. Lastly, when life gets tough for Holly, she always has faith and keeps her head held high. She knows life is precious, and she wants to make every second of it worth it.


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