Teen Review: Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

06 Dec

Audition by Stasia Ward KehoeThis review was written by my 13 year old daughter.

From Audition:

You learn the beginning
Is first position
Heels together,
Feet pointed as far to the sides
As your rotating hips will allow

And when you are small
And at that beginning
Your body is as flexible
As your mind.

Amelia’s rating: 5 of 5 stars


Audition was just…

I read the whole thing in one sitting. I admit it, I normally read books for their plots. These words just flowed so beautifully it worked for me. Last time I tried to read a free verse book I was very confused and completely lost the story. In Audition, I could follow the plot perfectly and found myself reading a lot of it aloud just to hear how the words sounded and the way that they flowed.

Dance was the perfect topic for a free verse, the words were like dancers themselves performing their own ballet. Stasia was a dancer herself and you could tell. There was just a power through her words that only a dancer could describe. There was also a raw passion so that you could sense both Sara’s passion and Stasia’s love for dance.

It honestly had been awhile since I read a book with a teenage girl main character that didn’t bug me to bits. Sara changed that. She was likeable, she was smart, she was talented, she was nice, she had a dream, and she followed it. Sure, she had her flaws, who doesn’t? If she had been perfect she wouldn’t have had a story. At least for me, she was somewhat relatable. I often felt the same way she did about things, so I really got into the plot. The way the story was told made me feel happy for her when she had her victories, and actually made me feel sorry for her when she had her losses. A lot of the time for me, especially with teenage girls when they have problems, I just want to yell, ”OK we get it! Your life is horrible! Can we move on now?” In Sara’s story, it was all about the small victories and losses, not just one huge problem. She had problems with school, dance, and relationships (both in Jersey and back home). Her growing connections with the people from the ballet, especially Lisette and Rem, seemed realistic to me. Also the growing friendship and sibling bond between Sara and Julio felt well put in and well thought out.

Over the course of the year Sara changes. That’s to be expected. What kind of 16 year old girl moves away and stays the same person they were before. I could just feel Sara developing, I didn’t need it to say “Sara changed over the next few months”. I could just tell from the writing. She matured, became a better dancer, a better person, AND she got a new out-look on life.

Audition really was about Sara, The other characters were very important, but this was her story. Her ups and downs in life, not just her interactions with other people. That being said, I felt that I still got to know the minor characters. I really am a person who looks for deep characters when I read a book. I was very satisfied.

I really feel a lot of the time with books I read I am learning the main character’s story, but with Audition I didn’t just read about Sara, I WAS Sara. I understood her elation, her frustration, her confusion with who she was. With a lot of the books I read I feel the main character is too set, they are too girly or too anti-girly, basically they know exactly who they want to be. This was not true with Sara, she has trouble balancing school and dance. This gets even harder when her talent for writing comes through.

As much as I loved Audition I don’t think I have EVER read a book where there wasn’t at least one thing that I didn’t like or would have done differently. For me that’s OK because I know that everyone has different opinions. I also feel even if I were writing I wouldn’t be any happier with the outcome. With Audition it was mostly when Sara didn’t notice something that I did. It wasn’t that big of a deal for me because it was almost all small details that she missed, and I was always very happy with when she made those breakthroughs.  Although I have never read a book that was perfect, this came pretty close. I don’t know how someone who had little or no dance experience would have felt about it.  For me the ballet terminology was not a problem and was interesting, I don’t know what other people will think of the way it is integrated into the plot.

For that time, I was transfixed by beautiful language and a inspiring story that makes you want to follow your dream.

Amelia is 13 years old, and in 8th grade.  If she isn’t at school, dance or practicing rhythmic gymnastics, there’s a good chance she’ll be reading a book!  Audition inspired her to write this poem of her own:

Your bare feet side across the wooden floor
In a split second you push off
In that second the energy is everywhere
Through the tips of your toes
To tingling up your spine to your scalp
And for that moment
Not even gravity
Can stop

For those few seconds
You can
Be anyone
Do anything


I picked up this copy of Audition  from the publisher at NCIBA, for the purpose of reviewing it.  I hope to read it myself someday, if Amelia ever allows it out of her possession.


Posted by on December 6, 2011 in books, Guest post, reviews


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “Teen Review: Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

  1. Beth(bookaholicmom)

    December 7, 2011 at 3:58 am

    Excellent review! I’ll have to tell my daughter about this one. She feels the same about any teenage girl characters too. Your poem is wonderful too. Maybe one day we will be reading your book!

  2. Les Kirk

    December 7, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Wow! Amelia I am so captured by your writing. I look forward to more. Makes this Grandpapa want to read the book.

  3. bellasnovella

    December 9, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Your daughter is incredibly talented at writing! Her opening was the perfect cast and reel-in!

    If she hasn’t tried Lisa Schroeder, she should. Schroeder was the first author who sold me on the free verse, and still one of the few I enjoy


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