The Queen Bee of Bridgeton

Leslie DuBois self-published this book after a publishing company sat on it for three years trying to decide whether or not to they wanted to publish it. I’m glad she did, otherwise we might never have had the opportunity to read it.

During an interview, Ms. DuBois said that the inspiration for this book came out of her past. “When I was little, I wanted to take ballet but we were too poor for lessons. My mother cleaned the dance studio in exchange for lessons for my brother, sister and me.” In her book, the main character, Sonya, is so determined to study ballet that she makes a deal with the teacher to clean the studio in exchange for her lessons.

That studio becomes Sonya’s safe haven, the place where she can be herself, the place where she stands out. The rest of the time, Sonya aims for invisibility, whether it’s in the halls of the wealthy private school she attends on scholarship or on the rough gang-controlled streets near her home. And she does a good job of it too, until one of the top athletes in the school takes an interest in her. Then she’s not invisible any more, and that’s when her troubles begin.

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