April 12, 2016

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Laura's Bookshelf: My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights

One of the best parts about being a debut novelist has been connecting with other children's authors in the class of 2016.

Brooks Benjamin and I were in the same Pitch Wars group (I can't recommend the Pitch Wars contest/mentorship program enough). We ended up getting book deals around the same time and joining the Sweet 16s debut author group.

I already knew from our hysterical exchanges on Twitter and from working together in the Sweet 16s that Brooks has a kind heart and a big, quirky sense of humor. Plus, he shares my love of interesting socks.

Another benefit of being in a debut author group is Advanced Reader's Copies. Many of us are sending around ARCs for fellow 16ers to read and review.

Brooks Benjamin's debut novel is MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS. 

This contemporary middle grade book launches on April 12. (The same day as THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY, and Melanie Conklin's MG debut, COUNTING THYME. We have dubbed  4/12/16 "The Harmonic Convergence of Books.") 

I was lucky enough to be high up on the list for Brooks' ARC tour. After it stops here at Author Amok, I'll send the book along to another Sweet 16 author.

Sam says Brooks' book passes inspection.
Proceed to read!
Here is the blurb from Goodreads:


All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.


At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship? 


Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor

This book is filled with hilarious moments, but it also has a tender heart. Dillon's dance crew or solo performer dilemma is clearly laid out by page two. True to middle school, our MC takes a winding path as he figures out how to keep his friends AND get the dance training he longs for. Dillon has to cope with well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) advice, adults and peers who have their own agendas, a secret crush, and an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. 

MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS is appropriate for most middle grade readers, fourth grade and up. Dillon is so likable and funny that readers will wish they were part of his Dizzee Freekz dance crew. Thumbs up for an unexpected romance between two of the supporting characters.

Who will like it?
  • Kids who love funny books.
  • Dancers and fans of reality TV dance shows.
  • Middle graders who like to read about groups of friends solving problems together.
  • Children who are beginning to make life decisions (e.g. Do I want to continue with this sport or activity?) for themselves.

What will readers learn about?
  • What its like to be part of a tight-knit group of friends.
  • How to stand up to friends and do what's right for you.
  • You can work  hard and be committed, but still have fun.

The poem I'm pairing with MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS is from the teen e-journal Teen Ink.

Hip Hop
By Tajahniya S.BrooklynNY

 What is it about you that is so different?
Is it that booming bass,
Or is it those wavy synthesizers?
Maybe it’s the way you flow,
Or how you say what you mean and mean what you say?
Or it could be your wide range of influences.
From rock and soul to jazz and reggae,
Across the globe you are inspired.
What is it?
It’s the change you’ve made.
From beat-boxing, DJ-ing and breakdancing,
You went on to become an activist,
Standing up for what you believed in.

Read the rest of the poem at Teen Ink.

MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS is available for pre-order at Amazon. Thank you to Brooks for making the ARC available.

IN THIS SERIES: Laura's Bookshelf

God Particles, by Thomas Lux


Linda B said...

I imagine this story will please more kids than we can imagine. Busting out and being yourself is hard in middle school, so hopefully Dillon will be an inspiration! Thanks for telling about this book from one of your "sweet sixteens" Laura! Sounds terrific!

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Linda. It's a fun book, but will also feel emotionally true for upper elementary and middle schoolers. Brooks did a great job portraying a tight-knit group of friends. I love how Dillon and his crew interact with one another.