TITLE: Ballet Dreams
GENRE: Middle grade
Melissa's spine tingled when she crossed the threshold into the unfamiliar dance studio. Would this one be the one? The one she'd love?
Her last ballet class in November seemed ages ago. After it had ended, she'd cried her goodbyes to her Nebraskan dance buddies, arms around each other. Now in this California town of Sierra Nigel, she'd bugged her parents to let her try three studios where she could follow her passion: ballet.
Melissa struggled to just walk instead of bounce toward the classroom. She set her bag next to others in the hallway but paused outside the dance room and pulled on her hands. The other students would be friends. Would they like her? Dressed in tights and a black leotard, she shivered in the cool air.
Melissa waited until the last students entered before she slipped in and took a spot at the end of the barre. Warm, sweat-ladened air enveloped her body. Her shoulders relaxed. A faint whiff of flowery perfume from an earlier class tickled her nose while she stretched her tight legs.
Ten girls leaned along the worn double wooden poles drilled into the wall. They peeked at her before they murmured in each other's ears. Melissa longed to exchange quips with them. She gave them a small smile. Maybe they'd become friends.
At the other end of the barre, a tall girl's regal attitude demanded attention. She stood like a queen among a half-dozen "ladies-in-waiting." Chin lifted, she swept her heavy-lidded gaze around