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House of Dance

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  230 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Rosie and her mother coexist in the same house as near strangers. Since Rosie's father abandoned them years ago, her mother has accomplished her own disappearing act, spending more time with her boss than with Rosie. Now faced with losing her grandfather too, Rosie begins to visit him every day, traveling across town to his house, where she helps him place the things that ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by HarperTeen
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Nov 28, 2008 Becky rated it it was amazing
You cannot buy a man who is dying a single meaningful thing. You can only give him back the life he loved, and wake up his memories. (98)

Rosie, our narrator, is fifteen the summer she learns her grandfather is dying of cancer. And so begins Rosie's daily journeys, he lives across town. A walk or quick bike ride away. It is this then that she begins to learn his life stories, to see him in a whole new light, to rediscover what his life was all about. She begins to take inventory of his life--of h
I'm very mixed up about House of Dance. I've been wavering between a three and four. There were things I liked about it and a few I loved, but not much I hated. I did think it was too short and felt very much like House on Mango Street (which I did love).


1. Rosie herself.

Insightful and witty, she has the ability to see the world through fresh eyes. The only good comparison to this narration style would be House on Mango Street. I actually think this is more effective.

2. The scenes betwee
Apr 29, 2010 Arya rated it really liked it
House of Dance by Beth Kephart 4 of 5 stars.

Rosie and her mother coexist in the same house as near strangers. Since Rosie's father abandoned them years ago, her mother has accomplished her own disappearing act, spending more time with her boss that with Rosie. Now faced with losing her grandfather too, Rosie begins to visit him every day, traveling across town to his house where she helps him place the things that matter most to him "In Trust." As Rosie learns her grandfather's story, she discov
Mar 29, 2010 Janessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
House of Dance spans a summer of Rosie's life, and carries with it the slow, listless feel of long summer days. Rosie's closest friends are all busy working, her mother has found a new life for herself in an affair with her business partner (the window glass cleaner Rosie refers to as "the Bald One,"), and Rosie is left with no other company than her Grandpa, who is ill. She finds purpose for her days by helping her grandfather sort through the accumulated piles of trash and treasures that make ...more
May 05, 2008 Terry rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens, pre-teens, families
Rosie Keith is the poster child for latch-key kids. Her father (who left when she was young) sends her $20 every week to show he loves her, and her Mom is always "working." There is only one more family member - her grandfather - and Rosie is losing him to cancer.

Rosie feels like her Mom has abandoned her AND her grandfather, as she has the job of caring for her grandfather this summer. Every day, she heads to his house to care for him and prepare for the inevitable. What started out as a job t
Jun 11, 2012 Jade rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library

Why I rated this book 3 stars:
1)It's not that the book was badly written; I just don't like the author's style of writing.
2)There is a plot in the book, but to me it's not a very interesting plot. I like the idea that she wants to give her grandfather one last present, but again, it wasn't interesting.
3)The main character is obviously a very observant person, i tend to like characters who are observant of the world around them. However, there is such thing as too much detail. When a whole page
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by The Compulsive Reader for

Rosie Keith is in for a long summer. Her friends are all scattered for the three months at various jobs and camps, and her mother is hardly ever home, preferring to spend time with her business partner, who is also the man she is having an affair with. So Rosie turns to her grandfather, who is dying of cancer.

During those long summer days, she helps Granddad clean through his multitudes of possessions, placing things to keep In Trust. It is
Aug 01, 2009 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Rosie isn't having the greatest summer and the worst thing is it just started. First of all her and her mom don't have the greatest relationship, all her friends are away and the worst thing is her grandpa is dying of cancer. Wanting to spend as much time as possible with him Rosie goes to his house, which is just across town, everyday. During the days with her grandpa not only does she talk with him, but she helps him clean out his cluttered house. As she is going through old things she starts ...more
Dec 01, 2008 Kerfe rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This YA book seemed eerily familiar to me when I started it; only after I had finished it did I realize that I had just read another of the author's books, the adult non-fiction "Ghosts in the Garden".

It was not just the setting (Philadelphia area) or the writing style (quiet and observant of the natural world), but the tone. The first descriptive word that comes to mind for both is "sweet". But a good kind of sweet.

There is an innocence to this story of a teenage girl connecting with her dying
Jan 10, 2009 Nian rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
I'm VERY hesistant about reading this. My last Kephart book nearly bored me to death. I don't want a repeat.


Kephart's most notable is probably her writing. Lyrically strung, it sounds as if it belongs in a book of poems, not in a novel. This is the problem. Her noted presence of nature and its surroundings—little details that common folks don’t notice—makes it sound too fluent and mature in a story. It loses the regular portrayals of teenagers and struggles—rather, it presents us with a
Feb 24, 2011 Anna rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that is worth heading over to the bookstore to get instead of waiting for the library to get it. It will grab you with the first chapter and have you reading until the end.

Rosie's emotions are real in this story. They don't seem fake at all. Also, the descriptions are really nice. I felt like I was there with Rosie as she traveled, as she cleaned out her grandfather's house, and when she was with Nick.

One thing that I liked a lot about this book was that it didn't fo
Jun 08, 2009 Meredith rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Really nice book. I remember liking "Undercover", but this one was even better - you can tell this author has a greater facility/passion for language than most other YA authors...and is willing to pass this on to the YA audience - trusting them to have maturity enough to appreciate it. As in, it's not diluted at all.
The voice of Rosie is unique, sensitive, strong in her own way. She's real - sometimes her actions seem annoyingly self-centric but you're also given the glimpse of human need undern
Dec 02, 2012 Thera rated it liked it
So I wanted a book about dance, so I looked up 'dance' on the library site and this popped up.

Honestly, it was a good book. I liked the representation of family ties, crossed with the solace of the dance studio and the complexity of Rosie's grandfather's house. It was a powerful story and one that if I couldn't relate to, I appreciated it anyway. Kephart's characters were resonant, if not all of them prominent, and the story-- I'm talking about the story now, mind you-- was good. It was a good
Reader17 Der
Dec 09, 2008 Reader17 Der rated it really liked it
Shelves: others-read
Enjoyed reading this book. This is a story about Rosie a teenage girl who during the summer break finds out he Grandfather is dying. Since her mother is busy, she is asked to help her Grandfather out. While helping her Grandfather go through his stuff she stumbles on a dancing school called House of Dance. Where she starts to take dancing lessons. What I enjoyed about this book is how the author dealt with everything a person goes through when they find out someone they love is dying. The Sadnes ...more
Rosie's grandfather has cancer, and as she finds out about his life, she decides to revive his memories through dance. The character of Rosie is an interesting one. She is fifteen years old, and he voice in this story is entrancing and captivating. She is determined and headstrong and she seems much older than what she is.

Beth Kephart's writing is amazing, and so poetic. There were a lot of memorable sentences in this novel, and you can tell she's been personally affected by loss, as stated in h
Quiet and sad and beautiful and moving. Never lapses into cliche. Almost perfectly captures a girl's emotions and reaction to a difficult part of her life. It has a couple of flaws; for example, in many places the author doesn't quite nail a certain aspect of the storyline. But that doesn't matter, at least to me - I know I have read a good book when I feel a sadness when I finish it, which is what I feel now - sad that I have to leave these characters behind.
Sep 21, 2008 Anna rated it it was amazing
I just finished HOUSE OF DANCE this morning and I am still savoring it. Where were books like this when I was a young adult (many years ago)? The story of near-adult Rosie, abandoned (literally) by her father and (figuratively) by her mother and reaching out to her dying grandfather, resonates on its own, but it is the captivating writing that makes the book unforgettable. With tender insights, crisp descriptions and a succulent, tangible sense of place, HOUSE OF DANCE is a deeply radiant gem.

Feb 14, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing
I just love the way Beth Kephart structures her novels. Her poetic lines are scattered throughout the pages, catching you unaware and leaving you with a smile on your face. This story is very sweet and poignant. I liked the main character and the journey she took through the course of the book. I cried while reading this book, not sobs of extreme sadness, but more like tears glistening down my cheek as I read the final pages. It is hard not to be a fan of Beth Kephart after reading this book. I ...more
Maya Ganesan
Jan 30, 2009 Maya Ganesan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oh my goodness. Is there even a way to describe how amazing this book is?

After reading only one of her books, Beth has made her way into my "favorite authors" list. This is only the second book that has ever made me cry, and the heartfelt, touching language made me tear up. I let the tears go, fast, flowing, because the story was just so beautiful and moving.

This is the story of one girl's attempt to bring the color, the memories, of her dying grandfather back into his life.

Written in a fluid m
Sep 20, 2009 Priya rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-stars
I ended up actually liking this book, despite my first opinions on this. The beginning was a little boring for me, with several interesting-but-lengthy descriptions. But as I read farther, I got a bit more engrossed in the book, and I WANTED to know what happened to Rosie. Newer characters with interesting personalities were finally introduced. The plot was building, it was the climax, and then I felt that the book ended a little abruptly. I wish that there was either an epilogue or a sequel to ...more
Jan 20, 2010 Gemma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is one of those books where you sigh on the last page. Not because you're sad it's over, or because you've been holding you breath in suspense (not in Beth Kephart books!), but because the ending's just so beautifully perfect, you can't help but sigh.

I really enjoy this author. The way she writes, with a lot of memories and a lot of colorful little analogies just pull an otherwise dull story together. Because, of her two books that I've read, neither have been exactly riveting. More of a la
May 15, 2012 Sydney rated it liked it
Shelves: 4th-quarter
The book house of dance is about a girl named Rosie who doesn't really have parents to keep her company. Her mom is absent and her dad sends her 20 dollars a week. Rosie is planning on being with her grandpa this summer when she finds something strange about him. He is very ill. towards the end of the story, after of course she listens to his life story, Rosie finds herself in ballroom dancing to make her grandfather feel "better." I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to mostly girl ...more
Sep 10, 2016 Hope rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
This book confuses me. I felt like I knew the characters extremely well, and yet I felt I knew nothing about them. I loved the prose, yet at times I was left confused. I enjoyed the story, yet at times I found myself slightly bored. Fortunately due to its short length none of these things really mattered. It was a sweet story with lovable characters and for the most part beautiful writing. I found it similar to the other book I read by Beth Kephart, Dangerous Neighbors. Not my favorite book, but ...more
Dec 23, 2012 Monique rated it really liked it
(Just one curse word, better, better:) When ever I look back on this book, I'd hear a slow, sweet, sad song. This book, about a girl, her boyfriend, her grandad, her mom, her mom's married suiter (words of Rosie, a loser) and sickness. Her mom, and her before than her after, start this story. Throughout you get glimpses into the past life of Rosie, what made her into the person she is. An absorbing read that would interest anybody, not just about dance, but about the things expressed through dan ...more
Jun 03, 2012 Jessie rated it really liked it
Not my favorite, but I'd read this again. The wording was great and so was the style, but I felt there were a lot of aspects that were vaguely mentioned but never resolved (or held a purpose) and it could have told the reader what was going on a little more.
Aside from that, it almost had a Lit Fic feel, which I really liked. Lit Fic isn't an excuse for vagueness but I'd say it redeemed it pretty well. Heck, I never want to rate a book 4 stars unless it zings. This book was really good.
Jul 27, 2008 Ryan rated it liked it
What struck me most was the intense sadness and pain of this book, how regret was a character present in every scene. The entire cast is part of an abandoned world, but goes on because that's what one does. The dance and color should be symbolic of hope - and in the final scene, there is hope alongside death and pain. What I loved was that it was left so unresolved with the words "Step forward then...and let it happen." No hope but also no need for a sequel.
Miss Clark
Apr 27, 2009 Miss Clark rated it did not like it
Shelves: the-bog
It was sucked down into The Bog because I did not connect with the narrator or the story. The writing was not my style and I did try to stick it out and see if it improved, but it wasn't, at all, so I gave up and left it unfinished. I found it boring, the writing very minimalist and narrow in scope, without anything to grab my attention or make me feel that this was worth my time.

For me, not at all. The rest of the world? Totally up to you...
Apr 09, 2010 Gmr rated it liked it
Tinged with sadness but with an overall zest for life, this one will definitely have you taking stock of those you need and those you love in life. The writing style me didn't quite flow. Still, I appreciate the underlying messages and the way the author describes things through the characters eyes in such detail and color. She truly shares a story that will leave readers with much to ponder after the last page is turned.
Sep 09, 2008 mari rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
What really interested me in this book were the different relationships and how the theme of "caring will cure" is explored. Rosie has a lot of people caring for her while she cares for her family, both her grandfather and her mother.

The House of Dance was a lovely book. A nice change from all the romantic teen love stories out right now. Instead, a family love story, about a girl and her grandfather, and her and her mother.
Jul 21, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This book is absolutely amazing, touching what's real and true in rich, poetic language.

In the summer that Rosie's grandfather is dying, Rosie is drawn to the House of Dance, where she learns the dances that were so important to her grandfather and his wife Aideen.

I can't really say much more, except that you'll want to read this book in a quiet place, maybe a place with a bit of color and sunlight and a few fresh dahlias.
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Though I've been writing since I was nine years old, I didn't publish beyond my high school literary journal until I was a new mother. My first published essay was in Iowa Woman; subsequently, I published short stories in dozens of literary magazines—learning, always, what worked or what didn't by reading far more than I wrote.

My first book, A SLANT OF SUN, a memoir, was a National Book Award fin
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