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Off Pointe

Off Pointe

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Off Pointe

3/5 (14 valutazioni)
90 pagine
1 ora
Sep 1, 2014


When Meg’s summer ballet program is canceled and her ballet teacher suggests she attend Camp Dance to learn new dance styles, Meg is devastated. Worse still, her teacher thinks she lacks stage presence and needs to connect more with her audience. At camp, Meg struggles to learn contemporary dance. A girl named Logan, who is jealous of Meg’s ballet technique and her friendship with Nio, a cute contemporary dancer, makes Meg’s life even more difficult. When Meg, Nio and Logan have to work together to create a piece for the final show, arguments threaten to ruin their dance. Unless they are able to overcome their differences, Meg’s time at Camp Dance will have been a disaster from start to finish.
Sep 1, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

Leanne Lieberman is the author of four acclaimed YA novels, Gravity, The Book of Trees, Lauren Yanofsky Hates the Holocaust and Off Pointe. Leanne lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches elementary school. For more information, visit

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Anteprima del libro

Off Pointe - Leanne Lieberman



Leanne Lieberman

Copyright © 2014 Leanne Lieberman

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Lieberman, Leanne, 1974–, author

Off pointe / Leanne Lieberman.

(Orca limelights)

Issued in print and electronic formats.

ISBN 978-1-4598-0280-3 (pbk.).--ISBN 978-1-4598-0281-0 (pdf).--

ISBN 978-1-4598-0282-7 (epub)

I. Title. II. Series: Orca limelights

PS8623.136034 2014     jC813’.6     C2014-901555-0


First published in the United States, 2014

Library of Congress Control Number: 2014935396

Summary: Meg lives for ballet and doesn’t like to try new things, so a summer at camp learning new dance styles proves challenging.

Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies:

the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.

Cover design by Rachel Page

Cover photography by Getty Images

17   16   15   14   •   4   3   2   1

In memory of Debra Karby




















As I wait in the wings to go onstage, my hands stroke the fine tulle of my pink tutu. The rest of the junior company is already under the bright lights, and in a moment I will step onto the stage for my solo. My muscles are warm, my hair secured in its bun, my pointe shoes laced tightly around my ankles. Shivers run up my arms as I watch the other dancers circle the stage in neat piqué turns in time to the music. At this moment all the aching muscles and late nights cramming homework are worth it. The music slows, and I count eight beats. Then I take a deep breath, compose my face and step en pointe to join the other dancers.

For two glorious minutes I dance in the center of the stage. I perform entrechat-quatre—jumping and rapidly beating my feet together—into pirouettes. My jumps are high, my turns steady, all my lines neat. A trickle of sweat runs down my back as I prepare for the final pirouette, my right leg kicking out to propel my turn, my arms coming to second position. I finish with an arabesque, one leg gracefully extended behind me, and then a curtsy. There’s a pop of applause, and then I run offstage.

Back in the wings, my breath speeds up and a smile starts to spread across my face. My first solo. There’s no time for celebration, nothing more than a nod from Mrs. G, who is concentrating on the other dancers still onstage, her hands supporting her lower back. There are only two more numbers before I join the rest of the company for the finale, the Dance of the Cygnets from Swan Lake. Quick, quick, down the stairs with the other dancers to the dressing room to change my pink tutu for a white one. There’s just enough time to towel off, adjust my toe shoes and fix the smear of eyeliner at the corner of my eye. Then we’re back in the wings, the music starting up, Mrs. G counting us in. And then we are onstage and I am dancing.

Minutes later, when the curtain falls to a roar of applause, I want the evening to start all over again.

Afterward, the dressing room is full of excited dancers, everyone hugging and congratulating each other. My best friend, Julia, throws her arms around me. Worth it? she says, but it’s not really a question. We both know ballet is worth everything. A moment later we are overwhelmed with parents and friends all pressing us with flowers.

We are ballerinas, and tonight is our night.

* * *

I wake the next morning tired but happy and roll over in bed to check my phone. There are messages from Julia, from my other ballet friends and from my aunt Cathy. Then I notice an email from Mrs. G. I open the message, expecting it to be a note of congratulations, but it’s entitled With Regrets.

Mrs. G writes:

I regret to inform you that the Summer Ballet Program is canceled due to my unexpected back surgery. I will see you all in the fall.


Elaine Greer

I lie in bed, stunned. I always attend the summer ballet program. And this year I was even going to stay in the residence for the first time while my parents are away in Italy. Tears start to form in my eyes as I call Julia. She’s read the email too and is also in tears. What will you do? she asks.

I don’t know, I tell her. I’ve never done anything but ballet.

My ballet obsession began when I was four and my parents took my sister Tess and me to see a performance of The Nutcracker. I remember the thrill that came over me when the curtain went up. I sat on the edge of my seat as the beautiful ballerinas turned and leaped across the stage. Tess liked when the soldiers fought the mice, but I loved when Clara danced with the prince. I begged my parents for ballet classes, for ballet costumes, ballet books and ballet music. I’ve been dancing ever since.

* * *

The next week creeps by. I’ve survived grade nine, and school is out. Everyone else has summer jobs lined up, but all I can think is, I’m supposed to be at ballet school. I try hanging out at the mall and walking in the park, things I think I want to do when I’m busy with ballet, but I have no one to hang out with. My ballet friends have scattered across the city, and Julia is working at her parents’ restaurant. I don’t have any school friends because I leave early and spend all my lunch hours working on the homework I don’t have time to do at night.

Mom keeps asking me what I

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  • (4/5)
    Ocra Limelights are a series of hi-lo books from Orca Books. Hi-lo books are books that are high in interest and low in effort. They're especially good for struggling readers. As such, OFF POINTE is short, to the point, and very easy to read.Meg is a ballerina. She lives and breathes ballet, and hopes to do it professionally. However, there is something holding her back. So when her ballet camp plans fall through, her teacher advises her to go to a different dance camp, one that will expose her to other disciplines. Meg decides to focus on contemporary thanks to Nio, the boy she set next to on the bus. But she's deeply unhappy to not be doing ballet, and finds contemporary somewhat embarrassing. She doesn't like improving dancing like a tree and such.There's two storylines. One is about Meg's dance, learning to stretch herself and develop a comfortable stage presences. The second has to do with her rivalry with Logan, the star of the contemporary class and Nio's usual partner. The two girls are jealous of each other and the other's friendship with Nio. It's all very platonic as the book dances around the fact that Nio is probably gay. (Obviously, not all male dancers are gay, but Nio certainly doesn't seem interested in the girls around him, even when they are having catfights over his attention.)The brief page count means there isn't time for OFF POINTE to go off into unpredictable directions. But that's fine. Sometimes a standard plot executed well is enough. OFF POINTE is well suited to the targeted group, and it is perfect for dance-crazy young readers.
  • (2/5)
    I generally enjoy books and movies about dancers so I was looking forward to reading this one. The best thing I can say about this book is that it's short and contained. The story is pretty derivative. Meg is a young ballet dancer who by happenstance ends up at a dance camp instead of her usual summer ballet intensive. Her teacher has told her that while she is technically skilled, she needs to work on connecting with the audience. At camp she focuses on contemporary dance, befriending a dancer named Nio and earning the ire of his best friend Logan. By expanding her dancing boundaries Meg is able to face her fears of failing as a dancer and is able deepen her dancing skills.It's a story I've read and seen many times before and this book doesn't bring anything new to the table.
  • (4/5)
    Megan and ballet go hand in hand. She lives and breathes ballet, dreams about pirouettes and arabesques, piques and sautes. Which is why she is heartbroken to learn that not only is her ballet camp canceled but that her own teacher thinks that she doesn't quite have all the necessary requirements to be a ballerina. When her teacher suggests that Megan spend two weeks at Camp Dance, learning how to connect with her audience Megan is less than thrilled. Camp Dance doesn't offer one ballet class and Megan feels that it will be a waste of her time to go while all the other dancers in her company are improving their technique and mastering their dance skills. But what Megan learns from Camp Dance is much more than stage presence and self esteem, she learns about friendship and how to believe in herself and others. "Off Pointe" was a cute read, definitely geared toward a younger audience but I still enjoyed it and would recommend it to younger readers who have a passion for dance of any kind. Until next time, Ginger In compliance with FTC guidelines I am disclosing that this book was given to me for free to review. My review is my honest opinion.
  • (4/5)
    Meg has just finished her spring ballet show, and she is excited to attend her ballet dance camp for the summer. Unfortunately, ballet camp has been cancelled, and Meg's parents encourage her to attend a different camp to expand her dancing skills. Will Meg be able to adapt to different styles of dancing, or will she be the lonely, odd dancer?
  • (3/5)
    Off Pointe was a very quick read (more like a ya novella than a novel). It is pretty slight, but it still managed to do a good job of showing how fear of failing can hold people back quite a lot. I love ballet novels and camp stories, so this book should be right up my alley, but it's more somber and serious than most of those books usually are. It brought up some interesting and important issues, like fear, failure, and identity, and while it seems to be styled as a serious book, it just does not give itself enough room to deal with issues that are this big, and thus the resolution of these issues comes across as fatuous.
  • (3/5)
    Off Pointe is a sweet and short book aimed at younger readers. It focuses on a 15 year old named Meg who studies ballet but has issues connecting with her audience. Her teachers suggests trying Dance Camp to help her with that. This is where most of the conflict comes from as Meg struggles to connect with her feelings and to portray them in dance. The book can be read in relative short time. That is where the main problem with the book lies. Leanne Lieberman has a lot of potential building block that could really fill out the story. Instead anybody outside of Meg and possibly Nio felt only vaguely there. I think the story could have been helped by having a glossary in the back explaining dance terms instead of breaking narrative to explain them. I also think that the book should be more aimed toward 9-11 instead of 11-14 as I think most Junior High readers would not find this reading level challenging. That being said it is sweet book and could be quite enjoyable to a young reader.
  • (3/5)
    I received this book from LibraryThing in exchange for my honest review.I enjoyed this book. It only took me about an hour to read it so it made a nice Novella. I would like to have more of a story. There was another review for this book that said this would make a nice Prequel to a longer novel and I agree. I cared about the main character and would like to know if she continues on with just ballet or if she incorporates other styles in the future as well. I reccommend this book to anyone looking for a short pleasant read.
  • (3/5)
    Off Pointe was a really quick read. I was able to sit down in read the whole book in one sitting. I felt that it would be a good prequel to a longer novel. I liked the writing and the premise was good. I just felt like it needed to go a little deeper. I would like to see were Meg ends up after camp.
  • (3/5)
    This was a quick read, it covers about a month in Meg's summer, from her last ballet recital to the two weeks of Camp Dance. She's an introverted ballet dancer forced to attend a camp that does every other style of dance but hers. Her cabin mate Logan is hard to get along with as Meg befriends Brandy's best friend from previous years, Nio, and joins their contemporary dance group. Meg is really reluctant to try new things, falling back on her ballet knowledge and alienating some of the other kids with her specialised skills. In the end, everyone loosens up and learns from each other.
  • (3/5)
    I found this book to be entertaining, but incomplete. I realize that the audience is young teens, but one of the things I like most about YA fiction is that it is usually so character driven. In this case the characters were only sketched in, but they had great potential. I enjoyed the story, but there wasn't a whole lot of meat to it. I felt like there could really be something here, but it fell short. I imagine there are many young girls who will greatly enjoy this book, but I wanted more. More story. More character development. More understanding of why the tension matters, or even how it developed. But, on the plus side, I'd say it hit all the right notes for teens age 11-14 in that there is no bad language, and the "sexual" situations are only alluded to - a girl who blushes when a boy sits next to her, a boy who "doesn't like girls that way".
  • (3/5)
    I received a copy of this novel from LibraryThing on behalf of Orca Publishing in exchange for a fair review.This will be a very short review because this was a very short book. Meg has been a ballet dancer for years. It’s all she wants from life, to be a professional dancer. She’s good yes, but she’s also very introverted. She doesn’t have a good stage presence. She lacks confidence. Because of her teacher’s back surgery, her normal summer ballet school has been canceled. Since her parents are vacationing in Italy, she has two options, go to her Nana’s house or go to this dance camp that doesn’t offer ballet. Meg reluctantly agrees to the dance camp.Once there she sorta befriends Nio, a contemporary dancer who has been going to the camp for years. This causes some jealousy with his friend Logan, who has been attending the camp for as long as Nio. Logan mocks ballet and just generally gives Meg the cold shoulder. Meg does what she can to avoid Logan but Nio talks them both into working with him for a final dance performance. They form something of a compromise and choreograph a routine but before the finale dance, the book ends so I’m not sure if the compromise turned into a friendship.That’s one thing about novellas; they don’t give you enough information. The book was cute enough, and the writing was decent but there just wasn’t enough story. I would’ve liked to see Meg accomplish the goals she set for herself, to be more confident and have a better stage presence. I would have liked to see her and Logan resolve their differences. It wasn’t a bad book, it just needed more.