Blog Tour + Giveaway + Excerpt + Trailer: MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS by Brooks Benjamin


My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights
Author: Brooks Benjamin
Release Date: April 12th, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte/Random House

       
LIVE IT.
All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.
WORK IT.
At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship? 
BRING IT.
Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.
 

I stared deep into the world of two-faced backstabbery.
And it was all inside my phone.
I never would’ve found the website on my own, but I’d set a Google alert about a month earlier for become a real dancer. I’d also set up one for ninja movie audition and free concert in Sunnydale, but those never gave me anything useful.
This alert was different. I leaned against the bath¬room sink and scrolled down the page. Dance-Splosion, the biggest dance studio in east Tennessee, was giving away a three-week summer scholarship in June to one lucky dancer. And this was the last week they were tak¬ing submissions.
At the bottom was a picture showing a wall of their dancers, each one posing like the show had just ended and the crowd was cheering so hard the ceiling was about to cave in.
I imagined my name in a Broadway show program:
Introducing twelve-year-old Dillon Parker, dancing some awesome style and definitely not the lame ninja freestyle one he made up.
Below the picture was the Dance-Splosion slogan: Where real dancers are made.
Those five little words had me trapped in a bathroom with my crew waiting for me outside.
A real dancer.
Every time I thought about it, my stomach twisted into a knot. But there was no way I could go through with it. Not without hating myself afterward.
“Dillon, you almost finished?” Kassie’s voice crept in through the door cracks and yanked me back to earth.
I shoved the phone in my pocket. “Um, yeah. Just need to, um—flush.” I pushed the lever on the toilet and opened the door into my den.
“Dude, we thought you fell in or something,” Austin said, standing behind his camera, cleaning his glasses on his shirt. “Kassie was about to send Carson in to pull you out of the plumbing.”
Kassie laughed. “Okay, we’ve got time for one more run-through.” Her eyes landed on me. “You up for it?”
“Yeah. Definitely.”
She pulled her jet-black hair into a ponytail. One curl fell down over her forehead. It always did that. Like that one bit of hair refused to go along with the rest. That was totally Kassie. A rebel. Some of the kids had teased her when she first moved here from Haiti. But she’d never let them bother her.
“All right, we’re rolling,” Austin said, then glanced at the lights flickering above us. “Hold on.”
Carson let out a loud groan. “Perfect. Last practice before school starts and we’re going to look like we’re dancing in a lightning storm.” His entire body perked up. “Ooh, that might actually be cool. Let’s start before it turns normal again.”
“Trust me, it looks terrible,” Austin said. “We need to invest in some lights. This place is a cave. And don’t get me started on the smell. It’s like someone farted in an old shoe.”
“The lighting’s fine,” Kassie said.
Austin poked his head out from behind his camera. “Oh, sorry. I thought I was the director.” Carson opened his mouth, but Austin cut him off before he could speak. “Come on, guys. I already feel stupid recording these. It’s not like y’all can’t just do it yourselves. Let me at least make it look good.”
Austin was right. He recorded all of our routines even though we really didn’t need him to. But he said he’d let us all be zombies in a short film he was making next summer. That was enough to convince us he should help out.
“How long will it take before the light stops?” Kassie asked.
Austin grabbed a pillow and tossed it at the ceiling. It smacked against the clear plastic cover and the light instantly stopped flashing. Austin let out a quick laugh like he was surprised it had worked.
We got into our first position, squished together closer than we should’ve been. My den was pretty small, even with the furniture pushed out of the way. Austin hit play on Kassie’s phone and the room filled with a low, electronic bass groove.
Kassie moved first, flying into a perfect triple spin. She was a blur, twirling through the air at sonic speed.
Next up was Carson. He jumped, soaring through the air with his long, skinny legs stretched out into a perfect split. I couldn’t have drawn straighter lines with a ruler.
I was next.
I closed my eyes and let the song pour into my muscles. Just like Kassie had taught me. I pretended the top of my head opened up on a hinge and the music filled every empty space inside me. And then . . .
A deep breath.
Feel the music.
Become the music.
Let the lid snap shut.
And take off.

 
Brooks and his wife, Jackie, live in Tennessee with their 75 pound daughter, LeeLoo, a sweet and severely demented German Shepherd mix.

                   

April  4 
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April 6 
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April 7 
Curling Up With A Good Book INTERVIEW
April 8 
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April 11
 The Forest of Words and Pages REVIEW
April 12
 A Dream Within A Dream GUEST POST
April 13
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April 14
 Aurelia {lit}{geek}{chic} REVIEW
April 15
 Owl Always Be Reading EXCERPT

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