Avalanche Dance

Avalanche Dance

by Ellen Schwartz


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Gwen lives for dancing. When she has the chance to take an intensive - and expensive - course far from home, she knows her parents will object. She also knows that she can usually convince her father to support her. She raises the subject when they're together skiing, but the discussion turns into an angry confrontation that is cut short by a sudden dreadful avalanche that almost kills her dad.

The avalanche leaves terrible damage in its wake. Gwen is left wracked with guilt and injuries that may end her career as a dancer. Her life is complicated by her best friend, Molly. Molly has her own demons, and may either be a danger to Gwen or part of her salvation. Gwen must find a way to make peace with Molly, with her family, and with her own conscience if she is ever again going to experience the freedom that dancing brought her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887769580
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 10/12/2010
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

ELLEN SCHWARTZ was born in Washington, D.C., but moved as a baby to New Jersey, where she grew up. As a child, she loved to dance and wanted to be a dancer. In 1972, she moved with her husband, Bill, to Canada. Before she became a writer, she taught children with learning disabilities and also primary grades. She has several books published for children and adults. Ellen Schwartz writes both fiction and nonfiction for young people. I'm a Vegetarian and I Love Yoga were both critical successes as was her novel about baseball in the time of Jackie Robinson, Stealing Home. Ellen Schwartz and her husband live in Burnaby, B.C., with their two grown daughters.

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Avalanche Dance 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Euphoria13 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
13-Year-old Gwen's passion is Dancing. Unlike the other girls in her dance class, she truly feels the magic and art within Dancing. The ability to express emotions and capture the essence of nature through body movements simply captivates Gwen. When her dance teacher announces to the class that there is a special program called "Dancemakers" in which the dancers chosen to be part of the program will spend 3 weeks taking classes on choreography in Vancouver, Gwen becomes ecstatic.Aside from auditioning to be accepted into the program, there is an expensive admission fee as well. Although Gwen is excited about the news, the only problem about this opportunity is the cost and the fact that she will be spending 3 weeks away from her family. She know's her father will be delighted about this and agree to let her audition for the program but her mother on the other hand won't like it at all.Gwen carefully plans out how she is going to tell her parents about the program but her Dad unexpectedly decides one morning to go skiing. He invites Gwen, who hesitates at first but in the end decides that it's a good opportunity to tell her Dad about "Dancemakers". But things don't go according to plan. Her Dad doesn't seem to happy about the idea and Gwen gets into a fit. Suddenly an Avalanche occurs and Gwen and her father are caught in the plunging and deadly snow.The reader also gets a taste from a different point of view in this story. Molly is a misunderstood and reckless girl. She was once Gwen's best friend until she started hanging out with different people. One night while hanging out with her friends, they talk about finding a new place to hangout (drink and smoke pot). Molly remembers the cabin that belongs to Gwen parents and that no one has been inside it in a long time. Her friends love the idea of having a cabin all to themselves. On the night that they go to the cabin, things go extremely wrong. By wanting to heat up the inside of the cabin, a fire breaks out in which Molly's friends abandon her to deal with the consequences.I thought that this story was alright. I liked what it was about but the writing made it sometimes difficult to get into the story or made it boring. The author seemed to drag out certain parts that didn't need to be dragged out. Certain parts of the story were also a bit cliche', like the whole ordeal between Gwen and Molly. If you want a quick read, check out this book.
kariannalysis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gwen is a dance through and through. Some kids like video games, others like basketball, Gwen¿s passion is dancing and choreographing dances. Pretty deep for a teenage girl. But all of that is risked when she and her father go skiing one early morning and come face-to-face with an avalanche. Now Gwen takes the blame she and her father¿s injuries and has an intense pain in her leg that may sideline her for good.Avalanche Dance is a very quick, fast paced story of friendship through the rocky times. Gwen¿s former BFF is spending time at Gwen¿s house, but not because they¿re being chummy. It¿s because she got into a heap of trouble and is doing her community service at Gwen¿s house. At a time like this, sometimes it¿s best to put your faulty past on the back burner and move on with someone who really cares.This book is a little deeper than some of the other YA books I have read this year, which is always a good thing. It¿s not about boys and drama, it¿s more a story of a girl overcoming pain and regret.There were a few times I had a conflict with the characters. I wanted to tell Gwen to get off her butt and do something. Yeah, she¿s feeling guilty, but sitting around, looking out the window isn¿t going to help. I also feel bad for her friend Molly at time. Molly did ditch Gwen for the party kids, but there are a number of times in the book she reaches out to Gwen and is shut down, but doesn¿t quit trying.I give Avalanche Dance 4 bookmarks.
spartyliblover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gwen and Molly, once best friends, suddenly can't stand the sight of each other. But things begin to be more awkward between them when Gwen is in an avalanche with her father and Molly sets fire to Gwen's old cabin. A great, quick read for young teens with a compelling plot line and characters that you can connect with as a reader. The alternating voices of Molly and Gwen help the reader to understand both sides of the story. A great book for a teen that loves to dance, or is going through a rough patch with a close friend.
Jadesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a really easy book to read, the plot summary held lots of potential but I felt it was thin on the story line. This is the story of two girls who at one time were the best of friends but as they grew up they had different ideas of how to have fun. During the girls time away from each other they each go through a life changing experience. The outcome of their actions was so plainly written out that it was hard to keep reading through to e end. I wanted more from this story, I had a hard time keeping my interest in this story to finish it.
librarian_k on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There's a lot going on in Gwen's life. She's fighting with her best friend Molly, and is suffering from an injury caused by an avalanche that's left her father missing and her unable to dance. Molly's become a party girl and can't relate to Gwen anymore. But they're forced back together thanks to Molly's run-in with the police. The story is told in alternating voices, which helps the reader put the pieces of what happened to Gwen and Molly together.A great read for tween girls looking for something quick with a little substance.
meliarose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gwen's passion is dancing, and when she gets the chance for an audition she wants to go for it. When skiing with her father, she asks if she can, and he refuses, saying the cost is to much. There is then an avalanche and Gwen's father is severely injured, and Gwen injures her leg. And Gwen feels responsible.Also a major character in this novel is Molly, once Gwen's best friend. Molly was involved in the burning down of a cabin belonging to Gwen's family and must do community service for the family. A book about the relationship of these girls and how they find each other, and themselves again. I found it a bit slow and uneventful at times, but it is an easy and entertaining read.
elizardkwik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a quick read, an average and unsurprising story about two girls who struggle with their friendship and each face their own guilt. It was well-written and the characters felt real. Recommended for dance fans and younger teens.
FantasyGirl2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gwen is a 13-year old, with a passion for dancing. It is her life.And it is shattered when she gets caught in an avalance, when she and her father went sking.. Her leg doesn't work. To make matters worse, her father is in intensive care.She feels responsible for her father's troubles-and devestated.Molly is Gwen's ex-best-friend, caught after the cabin belonging to Gewn's family was burned. She doesn't want to tell on her 'friends'- the people who fled when the cabin sets on fire, abandoning her to take the consequences for herself.Her sentence: She will have to do commenity service. For Gwen's family.How can she bear the shame of facing them after what she did?This was also a rather touching story about two girls who helped each other find themselves, and become friends again. Although it seemed rather slow and streached out at times, the story was good, and I enjoyed it. In the start it was confuzing, because it was Gwen, first person, then Molly, first person, Gwen, third person now, then olly, first person. This Gwen, first person and Molly, third person cycle was confusing, to say the least. It wasn't the change in characters that confused me-it was the change in perspective. Other than that, I loved it.
skstiles612 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gwen and Molly have been best friends forever. Then Molly starts hanging with the party crowd and they are no longer best friends. They've gone down two different paths. Gwen is involved in her dance. Suddenly she has the opportunity to attend 3 weeks of a wonderfully grueling workshop at the University of British Columbia. Because it is expensive she knows her mom will say no, so she decides to work on her dad first. Gwen never expected the argument with her father about the cost of the workshop, nor did she expect the avalanche they were both caught in. Molly had been partying with her "friends" until a freak accident caught a building owned by Gwen's parents on fire. Molly learned these kids were not her friends when they ran off and left her to get caught. Now she has to work for Gwen's parents for community service. This gives both girls an opportunity to re-examine their former friendship. This is a quick read and very engaging. I thought of my own daughter when she started dance in seventh grade. We started her with one class. Her instructor approached me about classes for the next year. Suddenly she wanted her in eight different classes. My daughter went to her dad and asked him to talk to me because she really wanted to be a dancer. I could so relate to some of the things Gwen did and said. I'm passing this to my daughter to read because I know she will enjoy this.
wiremonkey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the little town of Thor Falls, B.C., Gwen and Molly had been best friends since they were little. They thought they would always be inseparable. When Molly suddenly becomes interested in boys before Gwen, their relationship suddenly changes. Molly wants to party and finds herself hurtling down a path that leads to a catastrophic conclusion. Gwen, focused on her dance career, finds refuge from Molly¿s absence in her passion. But when she and her dad are buried in an avalanche, Gwen suddenly finds herself contemplating the unthinkable: a life without dance and without Molly.Schwartz has crafted a tight little novel about guilt. Gwen¿s guilt over yelling at her dad right before the avalanche falls on them, Molly¿s guilt over her actions all lead the characters inexorably to each other. This is a book where the outcomes are predictable, but no less moving because of it. The reader knows that the girls will eventually come together and help each other in some way. Every word leads to the inevitable.Yet, does this mean that it is a bad novel? There is no element of surprise; there is no unexpected twist at the end. What it lacks in plot originality it makes up for in the coming of age journey of the two characters. Told in the third person for Gwen and in the first person for Molly, the voices of the two friends serve as efficient counterpoints to one another. Molly¿s voice had to be told in the first person. We needed to be privy to her motivations in order for her actions not to come across as totally heartless. Gwen on the other hand, is going through so much emotional turmoil she is not even reliable enough to interpret her own body¿s signals; third person narrative gives us the perspective to appreciate her suffering.Although the story errs only in the case of Molly, where her story ends in a slightly moralistic tone (all the clichés about the unreliability of the ¿bad crowd¿ abound), Avalanche Dance is a very readable account of two teenage girls going through the hardest lessons of growing up. At only a 185 pages, this is also a good book to give to that teenage girl who claims she doesn¿t like to read. 12+
Adrienne2093 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avalanche Dance seemed to have a lot of promise but was just a little slow and not the best. I read it very fast since it was so small. I don't really know how I feel about this book...
Lawral More than 1 year ago
Following the avalanche that injures Gwen and puts her father in the hospital, Gwen isolates herself entirely. She feels responsible, and she doesn't feel like she can tell anyone. This is partly because she's had a major falling out with her best friend (of forever), Molly, over Molly's new found fascination with alcohol and pot (and yes, these are 13yr olds). Even though there are some more mature issues brought up in this book, particularly the drinking and substance abuse, Avalanche Dance never lost that tweener feel. Though both girls are dealing with things that they shouldn't have to deal with until they are older (the possible loss of a parent, drug abuse), they both still handle it like the 13 year olds that they are. That said, this is not a book for every 9-12 year old. The parties Molly attends are important to the story and her actions there are described in detail. And her post-Gwen friends are much more hard-core than she is. But more than Molly's actions (which are never portrayed preachily), the way that Gwen links her own actions to her father's injuries might be too much for some younger readers. Knowing very little about avalanches, it was very easy for me to think, like Gwen, that if she hadn't argued with her father, they both would have made it home from their impromptu ski trip just fine. Clearly the way that Gwen deals with these feelings of guilt is not ideal, but I completely understood why she felt the way that she did. The cause and effect is so much more believable than your average misplaced guilt about a parents' divorce or something similar. Told in their alternating viewpoints, Avalanche Dance is really about Gwen and Molly's relationship to each other. Throughout the book, both Molly and Gwen reflect on the relationship that they used to have, how it fell apart, and how much (if they'd only admit it) they miss it. When Molly is sentenced to community service, to be served at Gwen's house, the two are forced to face each other and their problems. This is the real the meat of the story. Molly can see that Gwen is dying inside and Gwen, though still hurt, is very protective of Molly. Even though their friendship is mostly seen in the girls' memories, this qualifies as another great girl friendship book. Even when neither wants to talk to the other, I loved the way that they miss and worry about each other. Book source: Review copy provided by the publisher through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.