Reader Reviews and Editorial Reviews for
Dancing on the Inside

Reader reviews appear further down the page. But first, here are some of the  editorial reviews for Dancing on the Inside...

5 out of 5 Stars from Foreword/Clarion Reviews

"...Dancing on the Inside, an uplifting and insightful novel for tweens and teens.

"Author Glen C. Strathy captures the pain and promise of preadolescence in one girl’s quest to study ballet in spite of the stage fright that keeps her glued to the floor."

Read the full review here.

"Highly Recommended" - CM Magazine

"The journey Strathy takes readers on as Jenny finds friendship, along with her real talent, and learns how to make her own dreams come true, is emotionally gripping, and the ballet world the author takes readers into is authentic and exciting enough to make even more girls decide that, perhaps, some form of dance is for them."

-- Jocelyn Reekie for CM Magazine

Read the full review here.

"Very Much Recommended" - Midwest Book Review

"Drive allows you to overcome a great deal. Dancing On the Inside follows young Jenny Spark as she faces her plight of stage fright. Loving to dance, she faces much crisis in this contrast. With the help of a friend, she will learn to value friendship and make the best of it, and how to pursue her dreams. Dancing On the Inside is a fine and very much recommended read for younger readers who may be facing stage fright themselves."

Read the full review at:  Children's Bookwatch/Midwest Book Review

L.L. Book Review

"Strathy not only gives us an inspirational story about fulfilling childhood dreams, but explores the anxiety and fear that can come with that exploration. Jenny not only proves to herself, but to her friends and family as well, that her goals are attainable, even if those goals change along the way. Dancing on the Inside gives us a great story about achieving goals and learning about oneself through hard work, focus, and dedication. It is a refreshingly realistic, simple and relatable story amidst so much fantasy that children are given today. It is a great reminder about the time in our lives that adults often see as simple, is the most difficult when you are going through it."-- Jaime Hypes, The LL Book Review

5 Stars from Readers Favorite

"...this story is perfect. The author gives us compelling characters who are so easy to connect to, and because of the issues Jenny struggles with, many will be able to relate to the story, especially teen girls. A story that is motivational as well as inspiring, this book is great for anyone who struggles with shyness or self doubt."

-- Brenda C. for Readers Favorite

Read the full review here.

Reader Reviews (including those wonderful book bloggers)

"Great Preteen Book

"This is a great book about finding--and fighting to do--something you love, despite the obstacles."

- Kelsey Paige Hamersley on

"I really love Dancing on the Inside because I love to dance and I love ballet. It is a very interesting book and I think girls my age to at least thirteen would like this book. This is fun to read and some ballet moves they do in the book, you just have to look up!

-- Madeline McElroy (age 10) for Reader Views (1/12)

"Wow what an amazing book ! I love anything to do with Ballet but this book went beyond that. I loved Jenny and could really relate to her but her friend Ara was the amazing one in this book too who supported her friend and helped her to overcome obstacles. Can't give to much info here or it will spoil it for others. All I can say is this is a book that most people should read!"

- Jane(Janelba) on Goodreads

"...This is the perfect novel for not only girls who love ballet, but as it talks about friendship and overcoming your fears and not letting them stand in your way of doing what you love :). It makes a nice change to from all those Rainbow Magic, Tiara Club and Go Girl books that many young girls are reading at the moment."

-- The Phantom Paragrapher

"I enjoyed this YA book even though I know nothing about ballet. But I do recall experiencing similar social isolation and internal desire as Jenny. In fact, Jenny and Ara were very real as they form an unlikely friendship to pursue their dreams. Strathy delivers an engaging story that rewards the reader with every page – Strathy’s prose is near perfect. The characters shine despite their imperfections, or perhaps because of them.

"DANCING ON THE INSIDE would be an excellent guide for young women as they forge through peer pressure, parental expectations, and their own physical growth. It would remind them each and every one has something to shine."

-– Kim Adams, SOS Aloha

“Wonderfully inspiring tale of a young girl painfully shy, wanting to dance ballet. The friendships that she makes breaking out of her shell give every shy, awkward girl hope.”

- jynxpierce on Librarything

"This is a wonderful read. It is so interesting that I can not help but reread it. The main character is so real, with her faults and strengths. All the characters relate in some way which makes the story all that much better.

"The author has showed the reader that dreams can come true in every life setting, even dreams that you didnt know you you have. Seeing the drama that appears at any given moment in the story, for the main character who has her own troubles, let the readers feel as if anything is possible.

"This story is so intriguing that I had to keep reading as well as reading it to the children on my block. I am glad I have read it and recommend this book to everyone."

-- queenpanda for

"The best part of the book for me was watching the friendship between Ara and Jenny - this friendship is the exact model that I try to teach my students about. Bringing out the best in each other without outshining or outdoing the other, that is what makes a friendship bloom.

"I also enjoyed following along with Jenny throughout her obstacles and trials - the perseverance that Jenny displays is such a great attribute and makes her a very strong character. And even though I was angry with her mother throughout the book, I am glad that the author included her as a character because we need to realize that not everyone in our lives will be supportive all the time and that is another obstacle that we have to overcome to achieve our goals.

"The author really does tell a great story here and I loved it..."

-- Lindsay, Everyday is an Adventure

"Definitely a very strong story, Jenny's the type of girl I can (could) relate to, even if I was never quite as painfully shy. This book is unputdownable, whether you like and are interested in Ballet/Dancing or not."

-- Sarah's Reviews on

"If you know a young girl who you think even might be suffering with social phobia, PLEASE get her this book. It won't take the phobia away, but it will help her know that she's not alone. Simply understanding what's wrong and that there are others with the same problem is help all by itself."

-- Bluerose's Heart

"This story written for 'Tweens' is so good that it will transcend that age group. The story plot seems deceptively simple, but it unfurls with complexity. And Jenny is a character you can take into your heart. One that is vulnerable and shackled by her shyness, but who struggles to stay close to the thing she loves most...any way she can. Overcoming pride, guilt, and inadequacy, she moves painstakingly toward her goal. This is my first read by author Glen C. Strathy and I highly recommend his style and voice. His ability to get inside the head and heart of his young subject, Jenny, is a spark of pure talent, with just a sprinkle of magical insight. BE SURE TO PUT THIS ONE ON YOUR CHILD'S READING SHELF."

-- Lynda Coker,

Between the Pages

"What a delightful read! Dancing on the Inside is a stirring story about a young girl's journey through ballet school and what she discovers about dance, herself and how dreams really can come true."

-- Peggy Hooke, Etobicoke, Ontario

"...This is a wonderful story, perfect for any little girl who dreams of learning to dance, especially if she is too shy to do it."

-- lostinalibrary at Librarything

"Jenny is such a beautiful, lovable character. Great book!"

-- coffeenut1992 at Librarything

"I loved – as I am sure will other readers – being part of a dance school, learning the names of dance positions, progressing with Jenny in ability and strength, meeting the colourful variety of personalities, engaging in producing a final show, and working through each situation with this aspiring young dancer. A fun read woven with much useful information for the young dance enthusiast."

-- Lenore Waddell, M.L.S., Burlington, Ontario

"This is a great book about finding--and fighting to do--something you love, despite the obstacles. Jenny's crippling shyness would make a career like ballet seem out of the question, but she doesn't let it stop her, practicing in secret instead and, for the first time, acting against her parents' wishes. Her unlikely friendship with the bubbly, outgoing Ara works beautifully. I love how "friendship" in this book goes beyond two people with shared interests enjoying each other's company. Ara and Jenny's opposite personalities actually complement each other and help bring the girls closer together. Ara gives Jenny that extra boost she needs when she's about to give up on dancing altogether, and Jenny helps pull Ara back down to earth when she gets a bit too carried away. Neither changes the other, but they each become a better person for it.

"Another aspect I loved about Dancing on the Inside was the glimpse it provided into the behind the scenes life of ballet. The information didn't feel overwhelming, nor did it interrupt the flow of the story, but it gave me enough to form a vibrant picture.

"The book sends an encouraging message to anyone aspiring in the arts. In spite of Jenny's ongoing fear of being seen dancing, she manages to find a creative solution to do what she really loves.

"...I would recommend this for preteens or even young adults. The wording's simple enough for a young audience, but I (a nineteen-year-old) didn't feel like it was talking down to me, and the storyline held my attention."

-- Kelsey Paige on Goodreads

Dancing on the Inside was a wonderful read. It was believable, interesting, and engaging – so much so, in fact, that I read it in one go! This story touched my heart, and I am sure it will do the same to others; how could it not? The main character is great: she has her faults, but they do not truly detract from her person; in fact, they make her all the more real. The other characters are all relatable, too, which makes the flow of the story all the better.

“This is an amazing tale that allows the reader to see how dreams can come true in realistic settings – even dreams that are unknown at the time! It also shows how the parental figures in a young person’s life can mean well, and yet do a bit of damage at the same time – this is important for this story because it really brings the reality of the entire thing home to the reader. Seeing the drama that can unfold in any given moment for the main character, who already struggles with her own drawbacks, lets the reader step back and recall their own personal dramas - and their subsequent victories.

“Throughout the entirety of Dancing on the Inside I wanted to know what happened next; what else would this girl dream up that would make her happier? What other antics would the other characters get up to that would alter the desires of the main character? So intriguing and touching was this story that I not only had to keep reading, but towards the end I was fighting back tears of joy for her successes and her personal growth!

“While this story is not my usual type of read by any stretch of the imagination, I am beyond glad that I decided to take a leap and go for it. This will be not only one of my favourite stories to re-read, but one that I will read to my daughters, too, because it is just the type of story to motivate them and get their own dreams flying.”

-- The Shibby at

"...a story that is enchanting, fast paced and definitely inspiring. ...Jenny Spark is one young girl that could do more that just Dance Inside."

-- Fran Lewis,

I loved this book and wished it could have lasted longer. I grew up taking ballet lessons as a child, and from the very beginning of the book, I immediately identified with the main character, Jenny. Jenny has an overwhelming passion for dance, but is unable to act on her passion because she suffers from a crippling shyness. I was always the shy kid standing at the edge of the ballet classroom. The plot was interesting and the characters were real to life. This was an enjoyable quick read for me and I would certainly recommend it others.

-- S. Asawa at

"An excellent story for the young girl reader. The story is about ballet and what it means to love to dance, friendship, rivalry - a big part in any dance class - and doing what you love..."

-- awolfe at LibraryThing

"This was a nice story of friendship and the importance of finding a way to overcome your fears and finding a way to do what you love."

-- rebecca at"

"I loved this book and wished it could have lasted longer. I grew up taking ballet lessons as a child, and from the very beginning of the book, I immediately identified with the main character, Jenny. Jenny has an overwhelming passion for dance, but is unable to act on her passion because she suffers from a crippling shyness. I was always the shy kid standing at the edge of the ballet classroom. The plot was interesting and the characters were real to life. This was an enjoyable quick read for me and I would certainly recommend it others"

-- SaritaD at LibraryThing

"A lovely story of Jenny, a young girl who has a desire to learn ballet but struggles with her fear of the spotlight. She learns to embrace her inner talent and builds confidence while making new friendships along the way. She easily captures your heart. A must read for all inspiring ballerinas everywhere!"

-- Margaret at Goodreads

"This is a beautiful story about Jenny, a pre-teen girl who has a passion for ballet. Unfortunately she is extremely shy and suffers from anxiety which affects her ability to participate in dance class. We see a close friendship develop with a joyous, extroverted classmate (Ara) and how with hard work, friendship and understanding, Jenny is able to handle her shyness and embrace her love of dancing. It is an enjoyable read, and is well worth reading for any pre teen/ teen that loves ballet or is facing a challenge."

-- Sandra (Guelph, Ontario)

"... I really enjoyed it. The story flowed well, kept my interest and brought the world of ballet to life for me. Jenny and Ara did seem a bit too mature for 12 year olds in some ways but as the book is aimed at that general age range, I think their personalities and dreams would appeal very much to girls just starting to edge past childhood. I'd certainly recommend it."

-- tvordj at LibraryThing

"Such a cute book. It was a very quick read and honestly I couldn't put it down. I relate a lot to Jenny. I was the shy one in junior high/high school. The one who wanted to be great at things, but was afraid to fail. The one who didn't realize the talent I had. I think this is a must read for any teen/pre-teen who is shy and has a dream. The ending of the story was so sweet and I think that ballet really needs to be produced :)"

-- Tillie at

"Dancing on the Inside by Glen Strathy is one of the most endearing books I have read in a while.Jenny has such an overwhelming passion for dance, but is unable to act on her passion because she suffers from a crippling shyness. I know what that sort of shyness feels like. Ara and Jenny are such good friends because they bring out the best in each other.

Strathy has done a wonderful job portraying the friendship between the girls. Sometimes men have a hard time grasping the deep relationships women tend to have. The characters are both very believable and well rounded. It was a quick read but worth every second. My daughter is currently reading it now.

-- Rita Reviews

Buy Dancing on the Inside at these online retailers...

Barnes and Noble

and... Chapters Indigo

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