Simone Stark flung open the door to the nearest cubicle and dropped to her knees, head poised over the toilet bowl. Afraid she’d throw up again, she tried to focus on her breathing – in for two counts, out for four – but it was hard to get an even rhythm when her whole body was trembling.
The bathroom door crashed open and Simone held her breath.
‘Simone! Are you in here?’ That was Jess, Simone’s best friend.
Simone heaved herself up and opened the toilet door.
Jess was already in costume and fully made up. ‘You missed your call,’ she said. ‘Mr Dixon is fuming. Hey, are you okay?’
Simone attends an elite dance school full time and has come to hate it. Hannah dances three times a week and dreams of dancing full time. When Simone and Hannah meet up at Candance, a summer dance school, they realise they are twins. They’ve both always know they were adopted, but neither had realised they had a twin sister. They have an instant bond, and almost immediately realise that they may have found a way to live the lives they dream of. They decide to swap lives. Hannah will be able to live her dreams of dancing full time, Simone can explore aspects of life other than dance. Of course life is never that simple and the girls discover just how complex life can be when you are pretending to be other than you are.
Dance classes are full of dancers who dream of a career doing what they love. And there are many people who sometimes dream of living someone else’s life. In ‘Pirouette’ twin girls, separated soon after birth, have the chance to experience the life of the other, the life that looks more perfect than their own. But having lived only one life, there are differences they could never have imagined. Cue close shaves and compounding misunderstandings. Throughout literature, twins have swapped lives, with funny and profound consequences. Add dance and you have the perfect adventure for performance-mad dancers. There are themes of honesty, family, nature vs nurture, ambition. Dancers will love the dance terms and classes, early secondary readers will love the switch and hold their breath as their ‘perfect solution’ slowly disintegrates. Recommended for upper-primary and early-secondary readers.
Pirouette, Robyn Bavati Penguin Books 2014 ISBN: 9780143569374