This post consists of a book review, details about Annie Try’s other books, her socials and other reviews of The Dangerous Dance of Emma JJ.
I received a paperback copy of The Dangerous Dance of Emma JJ by Annie Try from the author (whom I have met a number of times at ACW events) on the understanding I would post an honest review. It has the tagline Some secrets are too risky to stay hidden.
The Dangerous Dance of Emma JJ is a young adult novel, but adults, especially those involved with looked-after children (LACs) might also find it interesting to read. I am not in the target age-group, but read it from cover to cover the day I received it.
Emma JJ, who is facing significant problems as a teenage LAC, keeps a diary. Having made up her mind to tackle the cause of her flashbacks and panic attacks, she embarks on a journey of discovery – and not just self-discovery – during the summer in which she is waiting for her GCSE exam results.
Her diary entries conclude with to-do lists and charts to help her make decisions – skills she has learned from her social worker.
There is tension in the story as the restrictions around being in care (intended for her protection) threaten to prevent her taking part in activities she enjoys, such as dancing. Secrets from the past are extremely unsettling and have a bearing on the future.
Her friends are well-drawn characters, with their own worries mostly about the usual teenage concerns. Happy celebrations provide light relief from the more intense passages.
This book has the potential to help readers develop empathy and to learn skills to make their own decisions during their teenage years and beyond. While I didn’t identify with Emma, I did care about what happened to her.
There are some loose ends, which could be part of another book.
The Dangerous Dance of Emma JJ was published in 2022 by Kevin Mayhew.
Annie Try’s books and socials
The author, who writes fiction as Annie Try, had experience of working with troubled young people as a clinical psychologist. The plots of her earlier books for adults also reflect this. I have reviewed them previously, having purchased and enjoyed them.
Annie Try’s socials are her blog, Twitter and Facebook.
Other reviews and a podcast
Podcast Christian Book Blurb – interview by Matt McChlery