Audition, by Stasia Ward Kehoe (book review) – ballet school, school of life

book cover of Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe published by VikingCan Sara stay slim enough?
Can she stretch far enough?
Can she pirouette fast enough?
Does she have what it takes to become a true ballerina,
or will she remain just a corps de ballet dancer in the back row?

Dancing for hours daily despite bunions on her feet and muscle injuries, sneaking time alone with Rem, enduring his professional detachment at dance school… How much can you give of yourself before there’s no “you” left at all? That’s what Sara has to discover for herself, alone amid the competing dancers of the Jersey Ballet’s school.

A compelling novel-in-verse, Stasia’s first work of fiction is enriched by her background as a professional dancer and choreographer. Look for Audition at your local library or independent bookseller.

Book info: Audition / Stasia Ward Kehoe. Viking, 2011. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Cover image and review copy courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: A dance scholarship takes Sara from Vermont to the Jersey Ballet – can she polish her small-town technique enough to stay there? Perhaps this is her chance to become a true ballerina instead of just a ballet dancer.

Taking the city bus from her host family’s house to dance class to private high school to dance class and dance class and dance class, Sara has never been so tired. The competition is intense, as she must master enough skills to move up to the next level in a short time. No scholarships for those who progress too slowly here.

Her eyes are always drawn to strong, intense Remington, choreography contest finalist, principal male dancer at Jersey Ballet, part-time teacher at age 22. And eventually Rem is drawn to 16-year-old Sara, taking her to small restaurants in stolen moments away from the studio.

As the girls compete to be soloists in the Nutcracker and Rem’s version of Goldilocks, each battles with herself to stay slim enough, to be flexible enough, to be good enough. As Rem and Sara create a very private dance in his apartment, she wonders if she’ll ever partner with him on stage as well.

This strong novel-in-verse gives very mature readers an open window into Sara’s longings and fears, her worries about succeeding in this immense opportunity that her parents are struggling to afford, her wonderment over how differently Rem treats her when they’re in public and when they’re alone. (One of 5,000 books recommended on

2 thoughts on “Audition, by Stasia Ward Kehoe (book review) – ballet school, school of life

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