Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Part 3: Hallway Diaries: The Summer She Learned To Dance by Karen Valentin

Oops! I forgot to post the last story in the Hallway Diaries book.

Giselle Johnson has lived more than a decade without knowing her mom or her mom's Dominican family. Now at age 16 she is shocked when her dad announces that her cousin Juanita, from the Dominican Republic, will be spending the summer with them. At first Giselle doesn't know how she feels about this; but when she meets Juanita her mind is made up. The girl is a SLOB! she eats while she's talking. Wears tacky clothes. And she's really loud. Embarrassed about having to spend the summer hanging out with Juanita. Giselle decides to teach Juanita how to dress, eat and act like a high society teen.

Juanita has always heard stories of her Aunt Jackie from her mother, cousin Giselle, and uncle Kevin. So when her mom gets from uncle Kevin years after Aunt Jackie's death offering to fly Juanita up to America to spend the summer with him and Giselle, She is ecstatic! Aunt Jackie may not be around anymore but Giselle may be just like her. But when she meets Giselle all her hopes of an American Adventure in New York are dashed. Giselle is nothing like Aunt Jackie. She's rude, stuck up, and moody. Not only that. She spends too much money. Taking matters into her own hands, Juanita decides to teach Giselle how to be a true Latina.

The Summer She Learned How To Dance is my favorite story of all three in the Hallway Diaries book. It's a very touching story that sends the message of learning to love yourself for who you are and not letting anyone bring you down. Karen Valentin is an awesome job with the characters. She didn't just write from Giselle's and Juanita's POVs but from Kevin's (Giselle's dad) own too, Which made for an even better story. I would love to read a follow up to this story (maybe one with 200+ pages; hint, hint).

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