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The Melting Season    by Celeste Conway order for
Melting Season
by Celeste Conway
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2009 (2006)
Softcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Have you ever begun reading a book that at first glance seems an ordinary light-breezy story, then, BAM! There it is - you're hooked. Celeste Conway's The Melting Season is such a one, a gently-paced read that speaks volumes and makes you want to finish its mesmerizing storyline in one-sitting.

Sixteen-year-old Giselle Vanova attends the Dante School for the artistically-gifted. Her mother is famed ballerina Marina Parke-Vanova, now retired and teaching the art. Grigori Vanov was a legendary dancer, dance-historian, and choreographer, who died of cancer when Giselle was six years old. Decades older than Marina (she in her upper teens, he in his forties when they met), Grigori trained and coached Marina to the height of international fame.

Giselle still mourns the loss of her father. She blames her eccentric mother for sending Grigori away, when he could have been nursed at home. But there is much more lingering in Giselle's unconscious mind, as she faces each day attempting to come to terms with the past.

Marina's boyfriend Blitz is from Bavaria. It is not easy for Giselle to accept him, even though she knows they could not afford the rent, if he were not in the picture. Enter teen Will Brooks, an employee at a garden shop. Giselle melts at the sight of him. Will attends a local high school and dreams of becoming a landscape architect. His Mom is studying nursing. Will's father lives away from the family, as he deals with flashback nightmares of two years in captivity in Vietnam.

Will and Giselle become a confiding couple, sharing light and shadow, strengthening each other from their differing worlds. He teaches her the meaning of totem poles through his artistic sketches, visiting a museum, and an interchange of students to each other's schools. Giselle shares her ideals and art form as she prepares for the year-end performance as Spring in the ballet Snegurochka.

Celeste Conway, a writer, an artist, and a lifelong devotee of ballet, writes lyrically of letting go, and bringing the pain of realization into the light for healing. Her work stands out among thousands of YA books.

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