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“Who gets to decide what’s good dancing and what’s bad dancing? Dancing is about enjoying the music. And anyway, no one is watching you. Everyone is having too much fun to notice that you keep elbowing me in the ribs by accident,” Fanny. –Just Dance
Whatever After #15
by Sarah Mlynowski
Put on your dancing shoes! Believe it or not, there’s a fairy named Maryrose LIVING in my house. And she’s sending me and my brother, Jonah, through the magic mirror and into the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. There, we meet the twelve sisters who sneak out every night to go dancing. But Jonah and I have our own mission. It’s up to us to find the enchanted object that will give Maryrose her fairy powers back.
So now we need to:
-Get our hands on an invisibility cloak
-Follow the twelve princesses to their secret hideout.
-Learn some VERY complicated dance steps.
-Avoid being thrown in the dungeon.
We better wiggle our way out of this magical mess or we’ll never help our fairy friend in time!
Whether you’ve read all the Whatever After books or none, Just Dance will entertain young readers with a fun new version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In this version, the prince who is trying to discover the princesses’ secrets is silly and slightly unintelligent. Yet, this doesn’t stop one of the princesses from crushing on the cute prince. In order to have a happy ever after, Abby and Jonah step in.
When Abby and Jonah get to know the princesses, they realize that each girl has their own hopes and dreams. For example, Ellie loves chess and wants to go to a chess competition, but the twelve princesses have a dance recital at the same time. After taking Abbi’s advice, Ellie decides “that I have to put myself out there. Take risks. Because that’s how I achieve what I want. It’s about having fun and following my heart.”
Even though Abby is scared to dance, she is determined to help Ellie. So, Abby learns Ellie’s dance steps and takes Ellie’s place on the stage. Through this, Abby realizes that you shouldn’t let your fear keep you from doing things such as dancing. Instead, “you’ve got to aim and hope for things to go right.”
Just Dance has some silly moments and the conclusion is a bit ridiculous, but the enjoyable story will leave readers with a smile. The fairy tale retelling uses core facts from the original but reimagines them. In the retelling, the princesses, the prince, and the king are given distinct personalities which allow readers to connect with the story. Plus, the fairy tale ties into Abby’s and Jonah’s personal lives, which makes the story’s lesson more memorable. Readers who want to step into a fairy tale with more complexity can find a land of magic by reading The Land of Stories Series by Chris Colfer or the Fairy Tale Reform School Series by Jen Calonita.
- The prince has three days to discover the princess’s secret, or “it’s off with this guy’s head if he fails!”
Drugs and Alcohol
- In order to keep their activities secret, one of the twelve dancing princesses puts a sleeping potion in the prince’s wine. The other nights, they put the sleeping potion in something else so the prince won’t catch on to what they are doing.
- Abby uses “crumbs” as an exclamation.
- OMG is used as an exclamation once.
- When a soldier begins stealing from the castle, one of the princesses calls the soldier a jerk.
- The fairy, Maryrose, sends Abby and Jonah into the fairy tale world through a mirror. Abby explains that when it’s time, “I knock three times on the mirror at midnight, the glass starts hissing and then turns purple and my brother and I can jump through the mirror, right into a fairy tale.”
- A fairy gives Abby and Jonah an invisibility cloak. Later, the fairy gives a soldier an invisibility cloak, but when Abby and the soldier are both under their cloaks, they can see each other.
- Maryrose is able to get out of the mirror, but she keeps getting weaker. When Abby and Jonah bring a ruby back from a fairy tale, the fairy “puts her hand on the ruby. It sparkles and shines. And then Maryrose sparkles and shines. And then shines brighter. And brighter.” Touching the ruby makes Maryrose “feel so much better. . . But the more I touch the ruby, the stronger I’ll get.”