Publication date: March 1st 2014
Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.
Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.
Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.
This modern re-telling of the Phantom of the Opera brings the classic story into a modern setting for a YA audience, or for anyone who loves re-tellings. Set in Houston, TX at a prestigious ballet school, Christine attends the competitive Rousseau Academy of Dance. In order to attend, her family had to uproot and move, Christine also had to go through a rigorous audition. The move and audition caused a rift between her parents. Christine loves ballet though, despite a trauma that happened right before a performance when she was a child. Added to Christine's personal issues, one of her teachers has asked her to teach ballet to a football team, and Christine begins her first relationship with the charming Raoul. As rumors of a 'phantom' start going around the school, a mysterious man who hides behind the theatre curtain takes an interest in Christine and wants to help her improve her performance. Then, things start to take a strange and dangerous turn.
As a former dancer, this book is very true to a dancers experience. It's evident that Lesa Howard researched the world of performance ballet. I had many of the same experiences Christine went through as a dancer. The first part of the book discussed many teen issues in general, dating, eating disorders, juggling friendships and schoolwork, peer pressure and stress which will make it easy for a younger audience to relate to. Some of this first part seemed to move a little slow, but set the scene well and then, Christine and Raoul's relationship seemed to move a little fast. The book really picked up for me when Erik, the 'phantom', began disassembling. This added a high-intensity thriller aspect to the story, not to mention some very real issues for Christine that any teen may have to deal with.
I'm not the typical author. I didn't always enjoy reading or writing. While in school, I found it to be a chore I'd just as soon skip. I would rather have been daydreaming, my favorite past time. It wasn’t until I grew up and didn’t have to, that I realized reading was fun. I soon discovered that reading fueled my daydreaming. So, remembering a short story I'd written in high school, I began imagining expanding that story into a book. Before long I found I had loads of ideas for not just the short story but other books and stories as well. Fast forward a few years, a lot of studying about writing, practicing my writing, studying some more, taking classes from people who knew what they were doing, studying and practicing yet more, and ta-dah, author! In the same way I had learned I loved reading, I learned I loved writing, too. It’s just that writing is a lot harder than reading.
Author's Goodreads Profile
Goodreads Page for Phantom's Dance