Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Homeroom Exercise, by Jana Striegel

Regan is a dancer and a good one. In seventh grade, she wins an audition to host a morning aerobics class broadcast on closed-circuit TV. The program is a success and catapaults her into city-wide fame, and gets her noticed by the in-crowd. But then her joints start to hurt and she starts to suffer from fevers. As her pain brings on a nightmare of tests, hospital visits, misdiagnosesm, and uncertainty, Regan has to face a possibility that she might not be able to dance again.

Much better than My Brother Made Me Do It, Striegel creates a nice middle reader book on Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. It gets a bit preachy towards the end and just starts downloading facts about the disease (a common occurrence in these illness-books where the author feels rushed to tell the story) but there is a nice introduction to JRA here and young readers will like that. The subplots make the story interesting and believable but don't distract.

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