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Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  562 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
I hadn't really thought of my breasts as "problem breasts." It made them sound like children who wouldn't behave. No bra was going to keep these babies a secret. And those tips for the full-figured girl in the magazines? Please. Even NASA couldn't design a tank suit to camouflage my proportions.

Kayla Callaway has been studying ballet since she learned to walk, and her hear
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Bunheads by Sophie FlackA Company of Swans by Eva IbbotsonBallet Shoes by Noel StreatfeildOn Pointe by Lorie Ann Groverdancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman
YA Dance Books
54th out of 154 books — 179 voters
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid LindgrenBalzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai SijiePuss In Boots by Vera SouthgateParty Girl by Rachel HollisThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Shoes, Socks, Slippers and Sandals
63rd out of 183 books — 80 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,078)
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Jan 23, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
Mildly entertaining, but that's about it. The characters were very stereotypical and 2-dimensional, the writing was mediocre and the plot was extremely lacking, probably because it was just a thin disguise for The Moral - one thing I cannot abide in YA fiction. The issues that this novel was trying to deal with (censorship, body image & self-acceptance) were handled very clumsily and without any real depth. The whole mystery with the red shoes and threatening messages was mildly promising, b ...more
Mar 17, 2011 May rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2008 Adriana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-friendship
The title and the plot of the story drew me to this title. Kayla is a ballerina who feels sometimes inadequate for ballet because of her large breasts. She has a rival who always finds a way to poke fun at her, an artistic and outspoken older sister, a gay best friend who also dances ballet, and a love interest who just moved to her school from New York. The story goes pretty fast, yet it took me 2 weeks to get through the book. I just didn't ever feel like I connected with Kayla. I wanted to, b ...more
Morgan F
Nov 14, 2009 Morgan F rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: girls with nothing better to read
This book was utterably forgettable. The plot wasn't too good. The only reason why I gave this book as many as 2 stars is that it sometimes had odd moments of humor. The narrator, Kayla, was kinda repetitive. She just kept going on about her boobs. I loved Kayla's gay best friend, Joey. He was so funny and realistic. I didn't like her crush, Gray though. He was kinda odd. Anyway, there are better books out there. WAY better. And ones that don't use words that describe genitalia in every sentence ...more
Ashley C
Oct 19, 2010 Ashley C rated it really liked it
I liked this book because it is about dance and i can really relate to that because my favorite thing in the world to do is dance. But what i didn't really like about this book is that the story wasn't the very best and seemed almost shallow now that i think about it.
Alicia Scully
Kayla is a ballet dancer at an arts school in Florida and all she wants to do in life is dance. There are indeed a few points of worry though, mainly her extremely large breasts which get in the way of what many people in her field consider superb dancing. In addition to worrying about having to possibly get a breast reduction to fit in with the ballet world's standards, the dance department starts to get threats of ugly painted red shoes with a note that says, "Dancing in red shoes will kill yo ...more
Karissa Panzino
Apr 11, 2011 Karissa Panzino rated it liked it
This book was kind of entertaining, but it didn't take the deeper level of meaning that I would have liked to see, especially because this book was meant to be a topic of discussion. I found the reading to be rather straightforward, without too much development of characters, which was disappointing. I also feel as though the title of the book was misleading. I found the mystery of the red shoes to be a minor problem compared to some of the other issues presented. I think that the book seemed a ...more
PVPA Library
Jun 13, 2007 PVPA Library rated it liked it
can a girl be a successful ballerina with big boobs? kayla attends a performing arts high school in florida where she is one of the best dancers but then doesn't get the lead role in cinderella because she doesn't look the part. she considers breast reduction surgery at the suggestion of her teacher. meanwhile someone has left some red pointe shoes near the dance studios with the message "dancing in red shoes will kill you." the dancers all blame each other and get paranoid. there's also the new ...more
Jordan Funke
Apr 21, 2008 Jordan Funke rated it liked it
can a girl be a successful ballerina with big boobs? kayla attends a performing arts high school in florida where she is one of the best dancers but then doesn't get the lead role in cinderella because she doesn't look the part. she considers breast reduction surgery at the suggestion of her teacher. meanwhile someone has left some red pointe shoes near the dance studios with the message "dancing in red shoes will kill you." the dancers all blame each other and get paranoid. there's also the new ...more
Melanie Snyder
Apr 22, 2008 Melanie Snyder rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teen girls.
Kayla Callaway has been studying ballet since she was very young, and she wants a future in the dance world. She really wanted to have a part in the Cinderella play as Cinderella. Unfortunately, she got the part of the ugly step sister. She had something about her that was crushing her dreams, and she wanted to change that. Then, threatening messages about the school play started popping up all over her school. She begins to think that someone is trying to kill her because on the threatening mes ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Liz rated it liked it
Shelves: need-to-review
The cast of characters was entertaining and the plot moved along quickly. I will say I think there was a ton of telling instead of showing, especially regarding the feminist messages. Not a great book, and I'm not sure who the target audience is, but not totally awful--just a little messy.
Feb 26, 2012 Wisteriouswoman rated it it was ok
I agreed with many of the other reviewers.

The book has good points to make about body image.

On the other hand it is clumsy and lacks flow. I was never sure what point the author was trying to make since there seemed to be several.

I dislike what ballet does to girls since so many end up with anorexia. They have to retire young because it can totally ruin their bodies and keep them in physical therapy for life. I know of one in particular. Nothing should become a person's whole life and strivin
Feb 24, 2012 V H rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book about a girl that doesn’t fit the mould; a ballerina with a pair of double D’s. Although I am no ballerina, always having had big breasts myself I could understand some of Kayla’s thoughts about her double D’s, many of the thoughts she had, I have had too.

Having been a ballerina herself, I am guessing that Cirrone knows what she is talking about. There is some rivalry in the troupe, not “Black Swan” bad, but suitable for young teens and over. It’s also a good book about how wome
Apr 13, 2014 Tressa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I enjoyed Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You. I wished that it was longer and more in-depth as I liked the characters and the message within the story.
Anne Nonymous
Apr 05, 2013 Anne Nonymous rated it liked it
I read this when I was about thirteen and I must say I enjoyed it............... then. It was one of the few books that I ever read and reread but coming to think of it, the basis of the book wasn't much of a hype.
However, I think the reason why people continued to read this book was because of the killer lines the author sneaked in. Like, "It's not everyday you find your best friend naked on your sister's bed." and note that it has been years since I read this book but I never forget the lines.
Jun 30, 2009 Christine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Girls
Hysterical! While the description seems to focus mainly on the shoes, most of the book focuses on a certain dancer's proportions...And okay, I don't have double Ds, but my proportions are too warped to be a ballet dancer. So a huge part of it actually does focus on how she and others perceive the size of her boobs--something I can relate to. Sad, though, all she wants is to be a B. So, yeah, I wouldn't really recommend this book to a guy, but it was really cute.
I really loved the relationship sh
Sep 17, 2014 Mitty rated it liked it
quick and easy read that i enjoyed
Ms. K-M
Jul 31, 2008 Ms. K-M rated it really liked it
Kayla should have gotten the lead role in the Cinderella ballet--but the director won't cast her because of her large breasts. Her dance teacher suggests that she consider a breast reduction--a suggestion that horrifies her sister, and quickly polarizes the school into two camps--"Whack the Rack" vs. "Save the Hooters." But everyone's focus shifts when a pair of red ballet slippers and a note reading "dancing in red shoes will kill you" shows up in the dressing room. Is it a death threat? And wh ...more
Jun 20, 2013 Melanie rated it liked it
A bit fluffy and inane, but I enjoyed the allusions to Andersen's "The Red Shoes" and the acknowledgement that the Grimms' version of "Cinderella" culminates with the stepsisters chopping off parts of their feet to squeeze into Cinderella's slippers. Moments in this text were funny, but other parts felt contrived. Teenagers are a hard audience to write well for, and I think there are moments where it feels a bit like this author is a little out of touch with her audience. On the whole, though, n ...more
Mar 19, 2011 Jenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenna by: Inge
A very cute book about a teenager with big bazoombas that interfere with her aspirations to be a ballerina. With allusions to the Andersen fairy tale "The Red Shoes" and the Grimms' "Cinderella" as a springboard to discuss female body issues and social pressures, this is an important book for young girls. With a dash of innocent romance and a sprinkling of mystery, this made for quite a page-turner that I finished in just a few hours. Some of the ballet talk was a little lost on me, but I muddle ...more
Abaigeal V.
Nov 16, 2015 Abaigeal V. rated it it was amazing
Apr 02, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, realistic
Kayla is a beautiful ballet dancer and she hopes for a solo in the school ballet. Her hopes are dashed by Timm, who thinks her breasts are too big and don't fit the classic ballerina model. Forced to be an ugly stepsister, now Kayla is contending with death threats to anyone who wears red pointe shoes, like her. Now her sister Paterson, an artist, is being censored and Gray, the new boy Kayla likes, might be the one responsible for the threats . . .
Jun 11, 2011 Veronica rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, mostly because i can relate to it. Having big boobs is not always for the best, and this is the story to read to understand that. Not only did she discuss issues such as others pressuring you to have a breast reduction but also the other side where her real friends only want her to be herself. Its almost weird thinking that someone my age is dealing with the same issues as melike wanting to get rid of something that others want.
Dec 29, 2007 Heather rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: females, ages 14 and up
Shelves: ya-fiction, favorites
Kayla goes to Florida Arts High School (FARTS), and is told that her breasts are too developed for her to ever be a successful ballerina. Her sister's art installation is being censored. She meets a new boy, and someone may be trying to kill her (but not in a super scary way--if that makes sense). Bringing in teen-themes of body image, self-expression, and the dating scene, Dancing in Red Shoes... is a great read for teen girls.
Shontelle Gaines
Oct 03, 2009 Shontelle Gaines rated it it was amazing
This book is awsome its so funny! personally i can connect to this character in what she goes through with her breats. People not seeing me for me and in the book the character is amazing in ballet but when people see her they say she's good but her breats are in the way and that she needs breast reduction. but in the end she sees that her breast are apart of her and i was happy that she saw that.
Oct 13, 2010 Tara rated it liked it
I couldn't resist the cover of this book. I appreciated how much ballet was on every page of the story, but it was definitely intended for a younger audience. The main character wasn't terribly fleshed out (beyond her chest), and her closest allies were caricatures rather than characters. The "mystery" left much to be desired, but I think if I were in middle school, this would've been very entertaining.
Apr 10, 2012 Meg rated it really liked it
This book was so fun! I had a blast reading it. It's not too long but not too short, but it's a really fast read because it draws you in. I read it in one day. Also, it is hilarious. I laughed out loud numerous times, and the frankness of it all is very comfortable and presented in an amusing way. I also liked the role art played in the story, which I think is very poignant.
Jul 08, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing
this book really got me by surprise. when i picked it up from the library, i thought i would like it but i loved it! i liked the story line and the characters were so interesting! the main character Kayla, talked about her imperfections and not looking like a traditional ballerina. she is a good role model for the people who are different. i just wish the book was longer!
Sep 06, 2011 Robin rated it did not like it
Not much substance (not that I was expecting much) but the plot really leaves MUCH to be desired. The blurb on the cover leads you to believe there will be some big mystery--nope. It also leads you to believe somebody's life may even be in danger--nope, again. It really wasn't worth finishing, but I forced myself to because it was on my Weeds list. So Gone.
Anna Beaver
Apr 13, 2009 Anna Beaver rated it really liked it
I picked this up in the library because it looked interesting, started reading because the first line had the word "naked" in it, and kept reading because it was actually pretty good. It looks stupid, but it's all about finding your own person and being who you want to be and not who others want you to be.
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