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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Lindsey and her younger sister, Bridget, are very talented young ladies. When the family moves to New York so that Bridget can pursue her studies on the violin at the world famous school for the arts, Julliard, Lindsey, a very promising dancer, feels a little jilted. She had to leave behind her friends, her dance classes and her dreams in order for her sister to accept her scholarship at Julliard. The only option for Lindsey to continue with her dancing is the local community center. Or, a fantastic little studio just around the corner from the family’s apartment. The little studio is everything Lindsey dreamed of, with a famous ballerina as the sole instructor and talented dancers quite literally from around the world. Only, something is very strange about this dance studio: the food, the students, the mysterious late night performances and the sudden disappearance of the more talented students. One by one, the dance instructor’s collection of music boxes with dancing figurines is accumulating. Something isn’t quite right and Lindsey is feeling increasingly uneasy about the whole situation. When her sister disappears, Lindsey decides to take action. But how does one out-manipulate a very powerful witch.
Tonja Drecker’s young adult novel, Music Boxes, has all the makings of a good, creepy, stimulating suspense tale. The characters are believable and the reader can instantly relate to each one of them, even the hockey player-turned-ballerina and the mean girl who thinks she’s the best. The plot develops steadily, building layers upon layers of suspense as the network of lies and deceit expands to the point of threatening the main character, Lindsey. The theme of ‘be careful what you wish for’ could not be expounded upon more sincerely and with clever insight into the world of teenagers today. Talent requires work and is not a gift to take lightly. A powerful story with a compelling, mystical tale of adventure.