Leaping at Shadows (The Dario Quincy Academy of Dance)
By: Megan Atwood
Publisher: Darby Creek
Publication Date: August 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2013
Madeleine’s mother had made a lot of sacrifices to get her into the Dario Quincy Academy of Dance, the “most prestigious ballet school in the country.” She had that scholarship and that was going to be a big help. Dario was kind of a creepy looking place and Madeleine was definitely going to be homesick. It was going to be more difficult because instead of being by far the best dancer at her old school, they all were here. Madame Puant would be the instructor, but soon trouble would erupt. Madeleine touched her “mother’s antique gold necklace” for comfort, but she’d need a lot more than that soon.
It wasn’t long before one of the girls was giving her the stink eye and pummeling her with criticism. “I told you not to crowd me, you freak.” Making friends would be pretty difficult for Madeleine at Dario, but making enemies seemed easy. That aside, everything about the place was weird and gave her the chills. “Something was wrong,” she thought to herself, the house had a touch of evil in it somewhere. Madeleine was shocked when she found someone had actually stolen her necklace from her room. It had to be that nasty bully, Ophelia, or was it?
There was a “thief at Dario,” but whomever it was, it wasn’t of the human kind. All the girls were missing sentimental items, including Ophelia. “I think it’s the house itself. I think we are dealing with a ghost.” Perhaps Ophelia was right. Emma and Sophie, the twins, and Kayley were ready to join Ophelia and Madeleine in the search for answers. They were going to head into the tunnels underneath the school. “The smell of mold, mildew and graves crept into Madeline’s nose,” but there was something or someone else down there. Their midnight search was about to uncover evil lurking beneath the school, but could they face it?
This is a creepy new tale at the Dario Quincy Academy of Dance young readers will love. This tale has just the right amount of fear factor to keep readers turning those pages. The book is perfect for confident or reluctant readers who are just embarking on a quest for the eerie and unusual. The characters and plot are not particularly well-developed, but will definitely encourage a move into the next in the series, Stolen Luck, to find out what goes on in that creepy academy. The new kid on the block, the bully, the quest for friendship, rivalries, and the ghostly unknown will be of high interest to some readers. It’s a quick, fun read for young readers.
Quill says: Young readers who enjoy the weird factor in their books will definitely enjoy the Dario Quincy Academy of Dance series!