Thank you to Harlequin Teen for sending me a copy of dancergirl via The Ontario Book Bloggers Meet-Up in exchange for an honest review.
The Internet can be a scary place especially for the young and vulnerable. Internet bullying has grown so bad that teens have committed suicide over it. That’s what interested me about dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman. The cover snippet reads “The videos went viral”.
Unfortunately, I found that dancergirl fell flat. Everything was just too predictable. Alicia Ruffino, a high school sophomore and contemporary dancer, agrees to be filmed dancing for a friend’s AV project. The videos quickly become a big hit online. But when someone mysteriously makes a voyeuristic video of her dancing in the privacy of her own home, it gets creepy. What’s more, the video goes viral and Alicia becomes Internet-famous.
Working in PR, I hate the word viral because it’s always phrased as “How do we make this go viral?” While it’s impossible to predict what goes viral, once it’s out there, there’s no turning back. And what happens when it’s something you don’t want out there? And what if it happens when you’re young, when you have a whole lifetime of relatives, boyfriends and bosses ahead of you? Do you really want that video of you dancing in your underwear out there?
These are all important questions but dancergirl doesn’t touch on any major issues which is fair enough but some aspects of the book just didn’t seem believable. For one, Alicia’s mother never finds out. Even though the whole town and the next town over knows. Even though her mother is an incessant worrier. Even when they figure out who did the creepy filming!
I can see dancergirl being a hit for its intended audience: young adults — particularly young adults who are into theatre and dance. Tanzman herself is from that world so she writes well about the pressures and pleasures of performance. But no standing ovation from me for this one.