Can two New York City ballerinas survive a move to a tiny farming town named Fir Lake?

The month before I was supposed to start my freshman year at La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts, I got the big news: We were moving, as in moving moving, as in leaving New York City, the only place in the world to live, and going to this country town called Fir Lake, with only 2,000 people in it! My mother was going to be the head of the Russian Literature Department at the little college there, and my dad could be a writer anywhere, so we had to move. 

And if that wasn't bad enough, my sister Michaela, who's three years older than I am, absolutely turned into another person. The first day of school, she like totally fit in, and made friends instantly, while I couldn't seem to do anything right, including falling on my face in front of this really cute guy who was in my homeroom. Even the way I dressed was wrong. And Michaela, instead of being there for me, the way she always has been, was off with her perky new friends, leaving me to walk home from school alone.  

It was even worse that weekend, when we were invited to the lake to hang out with Heather, Faith and Lucy, Michaela's new best friends. I couldn't understand what she had in common with them. They weren't dancers, and we've taken ballet since we could walk. Michaela's a totally awesome dancer, definitely the best in her class, and we both want to be professional dancers if we can make it. And now she's not even going to go to dance school with me. She's taken over the attic, my favorite place in the whole house, and made it into a dance studio for herself—and she didn't even tell me! I not only have to live in a hick town, go to a hick school, go to a dance school run by someone called Mabel Thorpe, I have to do it by myself! 

There's no way that's fair! But, like Mom always says, "Life isn't fair," and I don't have a choice about any of it. So, have a seat, and let me tell you about that year in Fir Lake, the year my sister got lucky.

This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian, and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.