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“I only desire your talent...” Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights. When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform “I only desire your talent...” Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights. When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right... One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.


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“I only desire your talent...” Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights. When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform “I only desire your talent...” Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights. When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right... One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.

30 review for Music Boxes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    Magic spells, haunted halls, disappearing dancers and a fluffy dog... The hauntingly enchanted magic of Music Boxes is sure to deliver chills and thrills in the reader's heart. Barnes & Noble @bnkidsblog recently suggested this book as "5 Spooky New Middle-Grade Books for Campfire Chills" in their 'Summer Reading' post with just the right level of scary for kids ages 8-12, and I couldn't agree more. Lindsay and her parents are moving to New York City to live in a cramped apartment because her sis Magic spells, haunted halls, disappearing dancers and a fluffy dog... The hauntingly enchanted magic of Music Boxes is sure to deliver chills and thrills in the reader's heart. Barnes & Noble @bnkidsblog recently suggested this book as "5 Spooky New Middle-Grade Books for Campfire Chills" in their 'Summer Reading' post with just the right level of scary for kids ages 8-12, and I couldn't agree more. Lindsay and her parents are moving to New York City to live in a cramped apartment because her sister Bridget has been accepted to a special music school for the gifted. Life in the hustle and bustle of her busy street is certainly different from her farm life back in Nebraska. Heavy-hearted, Lindsay unpacks the little possessions she was able to bring. Among those is the little music box with a dancer on top that her grandmother had given her on her 12th birthday. A small and special trinket to cherish in exchange of leaving behind her dancer friends, the ballet classes and dance outfits. As Lindsay's parents start their jobs right away with long hours, Lindsay finds herself walking down the street one afternoon to pick up some pizza for their dinner meal and gets sidetracked by dancers in the window of a prestigious ballet school run by the once famous Madame Destinee. With a pitter patter in her chest, she is invited to come in and try out to dance with the other dancers. Something magical has happened! Perhaps she can forgo the ballet lessons at the local Community Center that her parents have signed her up at and dance for Madame Destinee's instead. There's just one tiny issue...her parents are never to find out if she is to become a student at this prestigious school. Splendor and food galore await Lindsay every practice and evening performance as she sneaks out her apartment in the nights to star in Madame Destinee's amazing shows. Lifted to heights in Pas de Deux's and swirling pirouettes in the wonderful show, she is caught between a world of splendor and reality, that leads her to notice some unusual things happening around her. As one dancer after another is disappearing, she is trying to solve the fate of her friends. A task that is taking her down shifty hallways, escape magical spells, see the truth and risk her life. When her sister disappears as well, she is confronted with choices to make that will affect her entire family and being. An unlikely Samaritan helps Lindsey sort through the witchcraft to lift a curse from long ago. A haunting page-turner awaits the reader in nail-biting suspense to the end of the novel. The perfect middle grade read for non-boring summers! *** While reading this story I had distant reminders of The Nutcracker story pop into my mind. Like smelling cookies bake or feeling the first chills in late autumn that brings forth winter, I was reminded of my distant childhood being consumed and enchanted by long afternoon reading escapes. A bit of magic and a bit of mystery made this a lovely and suspenseful book to get into. A perfect book to gift :) I received a physical copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you. More reviews of mine here: https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Christine Rains

    Lindsey McKay had to leave her friends, her home, and her dreams in Nebraska when her family moved to New York so that her little sister could go to Julliard. Her parents work a lot, and Lindsey is left on her own to stew in her jealousy. Stopping to pet an adorable dog on the street, she meets Madame Destinée, an infamous ballet teacher. She sniffs out great talent, and Madame believes Lindsey has it. Taking classes with Madame is a dream, but things just aren't right at the exclusive school. W Lindsey McKay had to leave her friends, her home, and her dreams in Nebraska when her family moved to New York so that her little sister could go to Julliard. Her parents work a lot, and Lindsey is left on her own to stew in her jealousy. Stopping to pet an adorable dog on the street, she meets Madame Destinée, an infamous ballet teacher. She sniffs out great talent, and Madame believes Lindsey has it. Taking classes with Madame is a dream, but things just aren't right at the exclusive school. When the other students start to disappear, Lindsey discovers the reason is more chilling than she ever imagined. Will she be able to save the other students before she becomes a permanent part of Madame Destinée's collection? I do love modern fairy tales, especially with a good does of the paranormal. This YA story hooked me right away in Lindsey's world. The frightening new move to a big city, the sadness at having left her whole life behind, and the green streak of jealousy when a sibling gets all the attention. I certainly sympathized, feeling how it all seemed unfair. Lindsey has a strong voice, but not a mean one. She does still love her sister despite everything. Then all the wonder when she meets Madame Destinée and is introduced to her magical school. The details are lovely, and even later when the creepiness sneaks in, it is still hauntingly beautiful, especially with the music boxes. Madame Destinée herself is a striking character. Mysterious and dominating, yet seemingly kind to her students. All those pretty cakes and treats. Yum! I was a big fan of Robert. I sympathized with him, too, that his family wanted him to play hockey and not dance. The whole cast of characters was varied and enchanting. Or enchanted, as the case had been with some! I highly recommend this book to fans of YA paranormals. It had me under its spell. I received an ARC of this book, and I chose to leave my honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    C. McKenzie

    Lindsay’s parents move the family to New York so Lindsay’s talented sister can attend Juilliard. This move has wrecked Lindsay’s chance at a top-notch ballet school because her parents can’t afford it. They are already struggling to pay for Juilliard and to meet their living expenses in the big city. She signs up for the community center ballet school, but it’s just not the caliber of school she’s used to or needs to develop her own talent. Then she meets Madame Destinée has a chance to learn fro Lindsay’s parents move the family to New York so Lindsay’s talented sister can attend Juilliard. This move has wrecked Lindsay’s chance at a top-notch ballet school because her parents can’t afford it. They are already struggling to pay for Juilliard and to meet their living expenses in the big city. She signs up for the community center ballet school, but it’s just not the caliber of school she’s used to or needs to develop her own talent. Then she meets Madame Destinée has a chance to learn from a top-notch teacher and dance with the best young dancers she’s ever met. She’ll even get to perform before an audience. But there’s something terribly wrong at this school, and Lindsay soon discovers she and all of the students are in grave danger. Music Boxes is fun middle grade read that weaves together real-life issues of a family with some magical intrigue and interesting characters. The many surprises along the way keep the reader turning the page to find out what will happen next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sherry Ellis

    Twelve-year-old Lindsey and her family have moved from a small town in Nebraska to New York City so that her eight-year-old sister could study violin at Julliard, a prestigious music school. Lindsey wants to be a famous ballerina and is jealous that her sister gets to go to a great school while she has to take her lessons at a dumpy community center. Then she meets Madame Destinee, a supposedly famous dance teacher who offers to teach Lindsey for free and make her an amazing dancer like all the Twelve-year-old Lindsey and her family have moved from a small town in Nebraska to New York City so that her eight-year-old sister could study violin at Julliard, a prestigious music school. Lindsey wants to be a famous ballerina and is jealous that her sister gets to go to a great school while she has to take her lessons at a dumpy community center. Then she meets Madame Destinee, a supposedly famous dance teacher who offers to teach Lindsey for free and make her an amazing dancer like all the other students in the school. Lindsey can't resist. But she soon learns that there's something sinister about the school and that Madame Destinee's promise of making her a great dancer is too good to be true. Music Boxes is an intriguing middle grade mystery reminiscent of the popular fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. There's just the right amount of creepiness to keep the readers on the edge of their seats, turning pages. The descriptions of the settings are well-done. It's easy to imagine what the dance school was like. The love-hate relationship between Lindsey and her sister is one that a lot of siblings can relate to. Readers may even learn an important life lesson that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Music Boxes is a story that young readers, especially ballerinas, ages 8-12 would enjoy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Tonja Drecker has spun an ingenious, spine-chilling tale for younger readers in Music Boxes. The story begins innocuously enough when the McKay family move to New York, all for the sake of encouraging the musical talent of their eight-year-old daughter, Bridget. It is Bridget's older sister, Lindsey, whose actions drives the story. Fearful that her sister's good fortune will derail her own dreams of becoming a ballet star, Lindsey starts secretly attending a ballet school a block away from their Tonja Drecker has spun an ingenious, spine-chilling tale for younger readers in Music Boxes. The story begins innocuously enough when the McKay family move to New York, all for the sake of encouraging the musical talent of their eight-year-old daughter, Bridget. It is Bridget's older sister, Lindsey, whose actions drives the story. Fearful that her sister's good fortune will derail her own dreams of becoming a ballet star, Lindsey starts secretly attending a ballet school a block away from their new apartment. However, there is something not quite right about the new ballet teacher, which lends a Coraline-like creepiness to the story. The treatment of the music boxes, for which the novel is titled, oozes with creativity. Prepare to be spooked!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Lindsay McKay and her family moved to Manhattan from a very small town in Nebraska. She dreams of being a prima ballerina, while her younger sister, Bridget, has been accepted into Juilliard, at the age of eight, to play the violin. Lindsay is happy for her sister, but not thrilled about living in a new place. Luckily, she brought her prized possession, a special music box given to her by her grandmother. At least it givers her some comfort. Lindsay’s first ballet lesson at the local community c Lindsay McKay and her family moved to Manhattan from a very small town in Nebraska. She dreams of being a prima ballerina, while her younger sister, Bridget, has been accepted into Juilliard, at the age of eight, to play the violin. Lindsay is happy for her sister, but not thrilled about living in a new place. Luckily, she brought her prized possession, a special music box given to her by her grandmother. At least it givers her some comfort. Lindsay’s first ballet lesson at the local community center does not go well, and she can’t hide her disappointment that no one in the class takes dance seriously. When she stumbles into Madame Destinee’s Dance Studio, it’s like a dream come true. The dancers are amazing! Madame offers for her to dance with the others and Lindsay feels herself move like never before. All she has to do to pay for her lessons is show up at a nightly performance. This sounds like a dream! She knows that here she can be a star and dance like she’s never danced before. But when Lindsay starts to notice that things aren’t quite as they seem and that Madame Destinee may be doing something to enchant the dancers, she becomes nervous about what will happen to her and her family. Is it possible to break the enchantment? Are the music boxes in Madame Destinee’s office important in some way and why do they match the one she brought from Nebraska? Can she help the other dancers? Read this enchanting story to find out. Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker is a read that grabbed me from the start and pulled me in. It’s a story for people who like a good spooky mystery! I could easily relate to the main character, Lindsay. She is passionate about ballet and wants to be the best. I admire that type of dedication. When she noticed what Madame Destinee was doing to the dancers I felt both nervous and excited. The music boxes had quite a story behind them—I was definitely spooked, but in a good way. There's suspense and interesting relationships that keep the reader guessing. I think this book would be great for anybody in fourth grade and up who likes a story that gives them the chills.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beverly McClure

    Music boxes are lovely. One can picture a ballerina twirling and spinning on her toes to a beautiful tune. It’s enchanting. Many girls aspire to being ballerinas, even though it’s a lot of work and no guarantee they’ll succeed. In Author Tonja Drecker’s new novel MUSIC BOXES, Lindsey McKay’s dream is to be a star like the ballerina in her music box. Things look promising for a while. Lindsey and her family move from Nebraska to Manhattan to give her the opportunity. Madame Destinee says she is t Music boxes are lovely. One can picture a ballerina twirling and spinning on her toes to a beautiful tune. It’s enchanting. Many girls aspire to being ballerinas, even though it’s a lot of work and no guarantee they’ll succeed. In Author Tonja Drecker’s new novel MUSIC BOXES, Lindsey McKay’s dream is to be a star like the ballerina in her music box. Things look promising for a while. Lindsey and her family move from Nebraska to Manhattan to give her the opportunity. Madame Destinee says she is talented and will be a star. But weird things start happening, and her dreams are threatened. Tonja Drecker has woven a fascinating tale of mystery and suspense. I cheered throughout the story for Lindsey to succeed in her quest to be the best. She’s a likable character, willing to work to reach her goal. Then, when things start falling apart, she learns what the important things in her life are. This is a story that will touch the hearts of young and old. Young readers who are striving to reach their own dreams. Older readers who remember their dreams. MUSIC BOXES would make a great addition to school libraries and public libraries, as well as your own library. Recommended. ###

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laurisa Reyes

    Music Boxes is a terrific thriller for young fans of Goosebumps and other books that go bump in the night. Lindsey and her family move to New York so her younger sister can pursue her dreams of being a violinist. But Lindsey has dreams of her own. She wants to be a ballet dancer. So when Madame Destinee invites her join her studio and perform nightly in front of an audience, she jumps at the chance. At first, Lindsey loves the applause and the glamour of the stage, but soon she begins to see thro Music Boxes is a terrific thriller for young fans of Goosebumps and other books that go bump in the night. Lindsey and her family move to New York so her younger sister can pursue her dreams of being a violinist. But Lindsey has dreams of her own. She wants to be a ballet dancer. So when Madame Destinee invites her join her studio and perform nightly in front of an audience, she jumps at the chance. At first, Lindsey loves the applause and the glamour of the stage, but soon she begins to see through the magical facade. All is not as it appears. In addition, her dancing friends are disappearing one by one, replaced by Madam Destinee's music boxes with figurines that look just like them. If your child loves scary stories (but not too scary), then this is the perfect read. Don't let the theme of ballet and music fool you. Kids will keep turning pages to find out if Lindsey will escape the clutches of the sinister Madame Destinee.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Music Boxes is an absolutely enchanting book. It took me right back to my own childhood ballet classes, although, fortunately, mine were a lot less spooky. I was completely drawn into the main character's struggles - her yearning to be a world-class ballerina no matter what the cost, being torn between her love for her sister and jealousy of her musical talent, and having to adapt to new surroundings after being uprooted from her childhood home. When Madame Destinee arrives on the scene, Lindsey Music Boxes is an absolutely enchanting book. It took me right back to my own childhood ballet classes, although, fortunately, mine were a lot less spooky. I was completely drawn into the main character's struggles - her yearning to be a world-class ballerina no matter what the cost, being torn between her love for her sister and jealousy of her musical talent, and having to adapt to new surroundings after being uprooted from her childhood home. When Madame Destinee arrives on the scene, Lindsey seems to have found the answer to her dreams, but then dark and mysterious things start to happen. This book will have you turning pages well into the night to find out if Lindsey is able to uncover the secrets behind Madame Destinee's ballet school and save herself. Highly recommended for readers of all ages. Note: I received an ARC of Music Boxes and voluntarily chose to leave an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Krystal Jane

    This is a fun middle grade mystery with magic and fantasy and a hint of Hansel & Gretel and Coraline. I really cared about the characters and worried about what was going to happen to them! Plus the book had me wanting to take dance classes again, and I found myself twirling around the house on more than one occasion. I really liked the friendship between the dancers and the sisterly bond Lindsay had with her little sister Bridget. I even liked Adela! She wasn't the nicest person, but she was ve This is a fun middle grade mystery with magic and fantasy and a hint of Hansel & Gretel and Coraline. I really cared about the characters and worried about what was going to happen to them! Plus the book had me wanting to take dance classes again, and I found myself twirling around the house on more than one occasion. I really liked the friendship between the dancers and the sisterly bond Lindsay had with her little sister Bridget. I even liked Adela! She wasn't the nicest person, but she was very interesting. I loved following Lindsay on her journey into the prestigious and mysterious ballet school, run by the scarily skilled and eccentric Madame Destinee - who I would absolutely love to see played out in movie form. The effects would be awesome. The dance school isn't the dream come true it appears to be, though. Talented dancers are disappearing, and it all leads to an ending that is exciting and suspenseful! Plus the story is uplifting is left me happy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathrina Constantine

    The author, Tonja Drecker has created a unique story filled with enchantment. Lindsay and her family moved from Nebraska to New York City to fulfill her sister's dream of becoming a violinist with Juilliard. However, I felt sorry for them since money was extra tight, and, Lindsay had to put her dreams of becoming a ballerina on hold. When Lindsay bumps into Madame Destinée the world turned topsy-turvy. Strange things started happening, but Lindsay was enthralled with the dance studio. When Madam The author, Tonja Drecker has created a unique story filled with enchantment. Lindsay and her family moved from Nebraska to New York City to fulfill her sister's dream of becoming a violinist with Juilliard. However, I felt sorry for them since money was extra tight, and, Lindsay had to put her dreams of becoming a ballerina on hold. When Lindsay bumps into Madame Destinée the world turned topsy-turvy. Strange things started happening, but Lindsay was enthralled with the dance studio. When Madame Destinée told Lindsay to come back at midnight to dance in her theater, warning bells went off in my head. I cringed, and wanted to shake some sense into the young girl. I never leave spoilers, but those scenes with the music boxes gave me the chilly-willies....

  12. 5 out of 5

    Juneta Key

    I loved the story. Imaginative and creative. It was such a fun read. I loved the mystery of it. It kept me turning pages with just enough thrill to pull me totally into the world. The ups and downs of friendship, magic, and an unexpected twist. The story was touching and spooky at the same time, so well written. Highly recommend. I volunteered to read an ARC and this is my honest opinion.

  13. 4 out of 5

    H.M. Gooden

    Be careful what you wish for! An interesting story about a talented young dancer who dreams of being a star. The only problem is the more she sees and experiences, the more she begins to feel it’s all a horrible nightmare. A quick and enjoyable read

  14. 5 out of 5

    June Jacobs

    By way of introduction, I do not usually read middle-grade fantasy basically because I read a lot of historical fiction, non-fiction, and contemporary fiction. ****I am so glad I decided to give 'Music Boxes' a try!**** The author has provided an intricate story with well-developed settings, characters, and plot. I appreciated the higher-level vocabulary the author used in her writing because it shows her respect for her audience. It also challenges the audience to stretch, think, and comprehend By way of introduction, I do not usually read middle-grade fantasy basically because I read a lot of historical fiction, non-fiction, and contemporary fiction. ****I am so glad I decided to give 'Music Boxes' a try!**** The author has provided an intricate story with well-developed settings, characters, and plot. I appreciated the higher-level vocabulary the author used in her writing because it shows her respect for her audience. It also challenges the audience to stretch, think, and comprehend at a higher level. I also enjoyed the depth and description the author presents when introducing her characters and settings and throughout the story. I was able to envision exactly what each character, each costume, and each setting looked like throughout the book. The story had some sections I felt were a bit creepy, but they were not scary. Without naming characters, as a reader I just knew some things were 'off' with one of the characters especially. This eccentric behavior kept me waiting to see what would happen next. When would the other shoe drop, as they say? I wanted to read more to find out the full story. The ballet dancing/dancer theme running throughout will be appealing to all readers as there is a wide range of character traits and ethnicities included in the diverse cast. Highly-recommended to fans of fantasy fiction, clean middle-grade fiction, dance/ballet fiction. I feel this book would also make an awesome family or classroom read-aloud. *This book is completely clean in language and content. :0} Note: I received an ARC of this paperback from the publisher in conjunction with a blog post I did which included an interview with the author. I received no compensation of any kind from the publisher or anyone else to post a review on my blog, this site, or any other retailer site. #############

  15. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine Holly-Rosing

    Twelve year-old Lindsey and her family move from Nebraska to New York City not because Lindsey loves ballet and wants to be a ballerina, but because her younger sister, Bridget, is a musical prodigy on the violin and has been accepted at Julliard. Though she loves her sister, Lindsey is a bit annoyed and resentful that her sister's dreams come before anyone else's. She thinks her luck may have changed though when she runs into Madame Broussard, who is a ballet instructor. Swept up in Madame Bros Twelve year-old Lindsey and her family move from Nebraska to New York City not because Lindsey loves ballet and wants to be a ballerina, but because her younger sister, Bridget, is a musical prodigy on the violin and has been accepted at Julliard. Though she loves her sister, Lindsey is a bit annoyed and resentful that her sister's dreams come before anyone else's. She thinks her luck may have changed though when she runs into Madame Broussard, who is a ballet instructor. Swept up in Madame Brossard's classes and her sudden improvement, Lindsey ignores some of the strangeness around her until the other dancers start disappearing and her teacher's music box collection starts growing. This was a thoroughly engaging story with strong character development and pacing. I loved how Lindsey was smart and naive, yet slowly lifted the blinders. She had a nice internal tug-of-war between her desires and the reality of what was around her. The emotions felt true for characters of that age. A very well-written story. Highly recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paula Berinstein

    Music boxes is exactly my kind of book. I absolutely love stories in which anything can happen, no matter how improbable or fantastic, and I mean the latter as in “fantasy.” I’m not sure if the story is magical realism, fantasy, or just plain whimsy, but it completely captivated me. It feels a little like Mary Poppins, a little like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, and a little Dr. Who. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who loves stories that are larger than life and a little bi Music boxes is exactly my kind of book. I absolutely love stories in which anything can happen, no matter how improbable or fantastic, and I mean the latter as in “fantasy.” I’m not sure if the story is magical realism, fantasy, or just plain whimsy, but it completely captivated me. It feels a little like Mary Poppins, a little like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, and a little Dr. Who. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who loves stories that are larger than life and a little bit surreal. I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next! I was given an ARC by the author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Koevoet

    This is the best children’s book I’ve read in ages. The author is an extremely talented writer, and her turn of phrase drew me into her multi-sensory world almost from the very first page. The protagonist, Lindsey, is a believeable character, and yet very human and vulnerable. The complexity of Madame Destinee, the story’s antagonist, was built upon many different layers, requiring time to uncover her true evil nature. The character Robert lended a nice male balance to the mix as did Lindsey’s s This is the best children’s book I’ve read in ages. The author is an extremely talented writer, and her turn of phrase drew me into her multi-sensory world almost from the very first page. The protagonist, Lindsey, is a believeable character, and yet very human and vulnerable. The complexity of Madame Destinee, the story’s antagonist, was built upon many different layers, requiring time to uncover her true evil nature. The character Robert lended a nice male balance to the mix as did Lindsey’s sister Bridget who served as the main character’s achilles heel. The plot of the story was ingenius, never boring and always seducing the reader to turn the page to the next chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story that will appeal to all ages and highly recomend it for anyone who loves a good urban fantasy story told from a talented and fresh perspective.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melody Bremen

    Music Boxes is like a modern day fairy tale. But not a sweet, sugar coated fairy tale. This story brings you into a world that is equal parts sinister and enchanting, with the perfect amount of darkness for the middle grade audience. The tension starts immediately and doesn’t let up until the end. I enjoyed watching how Lindsey was sucked into the mystery (even thought I kept yelling at her in my head, “No, don’t do that!”) and her plucky resolve at the end of the story. Music Boxes follows twelv Music Boxes is like a modern day fairy tale. But not a sweet, sugar coated fairy tale. This story brings you into a world that is equal parts sinister and enchanting, with the perfect amount of darkness for the middle grade audience. The tension starts immediately and doesn’t let up until the end. I enjoyed watching how Lindsey was sucked into the mystery (even thought I kept yelling at her in my head, “No, don’t do that!”) and her plucky resolve at the end of the story. Music Boxes follows twelve-year-old Lindsey who has just moved from Nebraska to New York. She is not super excited about the move. She’s a ballet dancer, but her parents’ main focus is on her younger sister’s prodigious violin talent. Shortly after the move, she passes a dance studio right near her house that seems more expensive and elite than the class she’s signed up for at the community center. It is run by a woman named Madame Destinée, who invites Lindsey inside to look around. She proceeds to tell Lindsey that she is very talented and should definitely take classes in her studio. The next day when she attends the ballet class at the community center, she finds it a tremendous disappointment since the caliber is nowhere near what Lindsey would like. She begins to sneak out to Madame Destinée’s studio regularly for lessons. As time goes on, she notices strange things happening at the studio. An odd dog, doors appearing from nowhere, and music boxes that are not as sweet and innocent as they first appear…

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sokooky

    This review is also posted on my blog Kitty Cat at the Library along with a interview with the author! This book was so cute! I absolutely adored it. It follows a girl named Lindsey who moves from a quaint town in Nebraska to New York City because her eight year old sister is going to Juiliard since she is a violin prodigy. She is an aspiring profesional ballerina and when a mysterious–and fancy–dance school offers to teach her, she leaps at the chance to take lessons! The only twist is that she This review is also posted on my blog Kitty Cat at the Library along with a interview with the author! This book was so cute! I absolutely adored it. It follows a girl named Lindsey who moves from a quaint town in Nebraska to New York City because her eight year old sister is going to Juiliard since she is a violin prodigy. She is an aspiring profesional ballerina and when a mysterious–and fancy–dance school offers to teach her, she leaps at the chance to take lessons! The only twist is that she has to sneak out at midnight and hypnotize her parents to sleep… Despite some of the belivibility in this book to be quite lacking, I seriously enjoyed this story! I love reading about people who are passionate about something, and I don’t believe I’ve read about ballerinas before. All the ballerina terminology used throughout the book was super fun to read about. At one point instead of using cliched ‘her heart beat a hundred beats a minute’ it says “Lindsey’s heart pounded a thousand waltzes and more.” That’s so cute and clever! I fits the story so well and adds quirkiness to the book. I also enjoyed the plot. While it was somewhat predictable, there were still enough small details and twists to keep me entertained. The younger audience, which it is aimed for, would probably have a bit of a harder time figuring out what was going on. The pacing of the story was well done and never felt to slow or fast. Another thing that I personally love to read about is sibling relationships! You usually don’t find strong sibling relationships in common media, as it usually focuses on romances and friendships. I think that there should be more stories written about siblings, simply because the relationship is so odd and complex and completely unique! Siblings are a huge part of your life and character. (You can usually tell when someone is an only child…) That’s why I’m glad this book has such a strong focus on Lindsey and her sister. They are both very talented and highly likely to become famous. Bridget probably already is, seeing as she was accepted into a prestigious college for music at only eight… There is sibling rivarly and jealousy but in the end, their bond is stronger. I also did appreciate that while the author hinted at romance, it was mostly left untouched. This was a good choice because the book really has no need for romance, especially considering how young all the main characters are. I always hate it when there is a story and it has an awesome plot and characters, and then this completely irrelevant side character comes in and the main character falls in love with them. It’s so pointless and cliched that it becomes boring. However much I loved this book, there were a few things that bugged me. First off, how and why was Bridget accepted into college at eight? I get that you might be a musical genius, but I don’t know if any human is physically capable of being that smart (I looked it up and apparently you can, but only one person has ever been to college at eight years old.). I get why Bridget had to be talented but I don’t think that this makes sense. There were also moments towards the end that felt rushed. The whole book had a nice and easy feel, but the last two chapters felt so out of place. They should have been emotional, but important scenes happened so quickly that I didn’t really have time to process or even be sad about what happened before we moved to the next part. The ending, while cute, was also vague and confusing. This was pretty dissappointing to me as I was looking forward to a satisfying conclusion. Even with all these faults, I still enjoyed the Music Boxes. The story was so refreshingly unique and spun my head in so many different directions!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cat Michaels

    Author Tonja Drecker injects suspense from the start in her middle-grade mystery as 12-yo Lyndsey meets ballet instructor Madame Destinee after Lyndsey’s family relocates to NYC to advance younger sister’s musical career at Julliard. The teacher promises to deliver Lyndsey’s dream of being a successful dance career, but only if Lyndsey attends midnight lessons at Madame’s ballet school. Hmmmmm. Something strange there, but Lyndsey is determined to become a dancer and do whatever it takes. She is Author Tonja Drecker injects suspense from the start in her middle-grade mystery as 12-yo Lyndsey meets ballet instructor Madame Destinee after Lyndsey’s family relocates to NYC to advance younger sister’s musical career at Julliard. The teacher promises to deliver Lyndsey’s dream of being a successful dance career, but only if Lyndsey attends midnight lessons at Madame’s ballet school. Hmmmmm. Something strange there, but Lyndsey is determined to become a dancer and do whatever it takes. She is suspicious about the strange food Madame serves her pupils but pushes doubts aside when they collide with becoming a star ballerina. Speaking of dance pupils….Madame’s school is populated with other tween dancers to serve up juicy rounds of adolescent insecurities and friendships. Her dog, Broussard, injects canine wisdom and provides clues to the mystery behind Destinee’s music box collection. I love how the book sprinkles humor and tween romance, such as remarking, “pas de huh!” about the pas de deux flubbed by Lyndsey’s attractive male dance partner. Remember fights you had growing up with your siblings? Alternating dynamics of love and jealousy between sisters Lindsey and Bridget give an authentic, age-appropriate feel to sibling conflicts while portraying positivity. No spoilers, but the connection between young dancers and music boxes is clever and engaging Although I re-read Drecker’s fanciful climax a few times because of its complexity, the author reveals all and delivers a satisfying conclusion. This imaginative tale for upper-elementary graders delivers on fantasy and mystery while underscoring the importance of family and following your heart. I highly recommend “Music Boxes” for children in grades 3-6. A must-read for kids who love ballet! Disclosure:
I was provided with a review copy of this book by its publisher and freely offer my honest opinion of this tale.

  21. 4 out of 5

    S.A. Larsen

    A twisted tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last spin of the music box! The writing flows with ease and the gentle yet enthusiastic voice of Lindsay. She’s the older sister in the family, and if you’re the oldest child you know what that takes – a strong inner core, willingness to endure more responsibility, and the grace to lead. But Lindsay’s younger sibling, Bridget, doesn’t need any of that from her. Bridget is a child prodigy, a talented violinist at the age of eight A twisted tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last spin of the music box! The writing flows with ease and the gentle yet enthusiastic voice of Lindsay. She’s the older sister in the family, and if you’re the oldest child you know what that takes – a strong inner core, willingness to endure more responsibility, and the grace to lead. But Lindsay’s younger sibling, Bridget, doesn’t need any of that from her. Bridget is a child prodigy, a talented violinist at the age of eight already accepted at a prestigious school for the brightest artists respective of their field. And what does Lindsay have? She has a love of dance that must be put on hold because her family relocates so Bridget can attend her prestigious school. Lindsay is happy for her younger sister, but there’s this ping in her gut whenever she thinks about what her sister has and what she’s had to give up. As the story moves forward, the dynamic between siblings becomes more complex, and the theme of jealousy is explored, which I really enjoyed. When Lindsay meets a seasoned dance instructor that offers her lessons, she’s beyond thrilled. But this instructor has strange stipulations such as keeping her lessons from her parents and her participation in a show each night at midnight. If you’re thinking that something odd and maybe even sinister is going on here, you’d be correct. And it gets weirder from there, only in a way cool way weirder! Drecker has come up with an eerie twist on a beloved toy from years gone by. The music boxes play a huge part in the story and will make you question the one you (or your parents) had as a child. Upper elementary and middle school readers will love the mystery of the music boxes, the diabolical dance instructor, and the private dance world Drecker has created.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ilana Waters

    Before you do anything else, pick up a copy of Tonja Drecker’s MUSIC BOXES. It’s perfect for the middle-grader in love with dance, especially one who’s feeling “out of step” with herself and her place in the world. After moving to a new city with her family, Lindsey struggles to come to grips with sibling rivalry, her own ambition, and a magical dance school whose instructor isn’t all that she seems. Captivating magic abounds, but is it the answer to all of Lindsey’s problems, or her worst night Before you do anything else, pick up a copy of Tonja Drecker’s MUSIC BOXES. It’s perfect for the middle-grader in love with dance, especially one who’s feeling “out of step” with herself and her place in the world. After moving to a new city with her family, Lindsey struggles to come to grips with sibling rivalry, her own ambition, and a magical dance school whose instructor isn’t all that she seems. Captivating magic abounds, but is it the answer to all of Lindsey’s problems, or her worst nightmare? I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from the author (in exchange for an honest review), and I can tell you, the magical parts are enchanting, the exciting parts heart-pounding, and the poignant moments completely wrenching. It’ll take brains, resolve, and true friendship for Lindsey to conquer the forces both inside and outside her. Will she be able to do it? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    MUSIC BOXES is a stunning paranormal YA mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed this enchanting journey into the competitive world of the arts in New York City, particularly ballet. Ms. Drecker takes us by the hand, introducing wide-eyed newcomers to the harshness, temptations, and dangers of a big city, yet also demonstrates that with love, everyone has a place and a purpose. Twelve-year-old Lindsey had to leave her wide-open blue skies of Nebraska because her eight-year-old sister is a violin-playing prod MUSIC BOXES is a stunning paranormal YA mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed this enchanting journey into the competitive world of the arts in New York City, particularly ballet. Ms. Drecker takes us by the hand, introducing wide-eyed newcomers to the harshness, temptations, and dangers of a big city, yet also demonstrates that with love, everyone has a place and a purpose. Twelve-year-old Lindsey had to leave her wide-open blue skies of Nebraska because her eight-year-old sister is a violin-playing prodigy. All attention is lavished on little sister and it’s hard not to be jealous, especially when Lindsey must downgrade to take ballet lessons at the dingy community center. She feels alone and pushed aside until a graceful ballet star with a renowned nose for talent sniffs her out, praising her and offers her free lessons. But nothing is free… I highly recommend MUSIC BOXES--a magical story of aspirations, avarice, and arabesques!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    I can only wish that the mysterious dance school with all of its beauty and wonders could perch on the streets of New York and invite readers in for a magical adventure of their own. For what is life without dreams, adventure and a pinch of the impossible?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    (This review will be on my blog All the Ups and Downs soon.) -- Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker seemed like the perfect chilling read for right around Halloween. A creepy middle grade mystery? Sign me up! Music Boxes lived up to my expectations for sure! Twelve year old Lindsey has just moved from Nebraska to New York City in order for her younger sister to attend Julliard. In Nebraska, she was part of a fantastic ballet school. In New York, she only gets to dance at the drab community center. When a (This review will be on my blog All the Ups and Downs soon.) -- Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker seemed like the perfect chilling read for right around Halloween. A creepy middle grade mystery? Sign me up! Music Boxes lived up to my expectations for sure! Twelve year old Lindsey has just moved from Nebraska to New York City in order for her younger sister to attend Julliard. In Nebraska, she was part of a fantastic ballet school. In New York, she only gets to dance at the drab community center. When a world renowned ballerina offers to give her free ballet lessons in exchange for dancing in her secret midnight shows, Lindsey can't believe her luck. She's tired of living in her younger sister's talented shadow, so she quickly obliges. However, Lindsey soon realizes that dancers given private lessons are going missing. What's even more worrying is after they disappear, a music box appears with a little ballet figure that looks like the missing dancer. Is there something sinister about Lindsey's new ballet teacher, or can everything be put down to a coincidence? The plot for Music Boxes reminded me of a Goosebumps book which is saying a lot because I loved the whole Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. I was quickly absorbed in the story from the very first page. Believe me when I say my eyes devoured this novel. Although somewhat predictable for adults, its target audience of middle schoolers will enjoy the many plot twists peppered throughout the book. If the pacing was perfect for me, I believe it will also keep younger readers interested. One of my favorite things about the world of Music Boxes was the dance school and how magical it really was. Another good thing about Music Boxes is there aren't any cliff hanger endings. All loose ends are tied up by the end of the story. Ballet dancers will really enjoy Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker as there are quite a few ballet terms in it. I had no idea what they meant, but it didn't distract from the story. It would have been nice to have a glossary of ballet terms or some kind of description for those of us who aren't dancers. Plus, the whole story mainly takes place in a ballet school. However, I think non dancers will really enjoy the story too as it has elements that anyone can relate to such as friendship, family, and doing the right thing. For a middle grade novel, I felt that all the characters felt really alive. Although I would have liked some more back story for a few more of the dancers from Madame Destinee's school, I felt like the most important characters in the novel had enough back story. Lindsey feels like a character that most young girls will be able to connect with whether they are interested in ballet or not. With her conflicting feelings of listening to her parents and wanting to do what she loves, it's easy to see why Lindsey is a relatable character. Lindsey is also very brave and comes across as just a nice girl in general. Bridget, Lindsey's 8 year old sister, was my favorite character. She's a very talented violinist and the reason Lindsey and her family moved to New York City. Even though the family seemed more focused on Bridget, Bridget never came across as having an over-inflated ego or like she was better than Lindsay. I loved how sweet Bridget was and how she wanted what was best for Lindsey. Madame Destinee was an interesting character for sure. I never trusted her from the get go, but it was easy to see why a young child would especially when she's offering them their chance to shine at doing something they really love. I also loved Broussard because I love dogs! Trigger warnings for Music Boxes include kidnapping, witches, minor violence, and death (although done in a non-scary way). All in all, Music Boxes is a fantastic story full of intrigue and mystery that readers of all ages will enjoy. The plot is creepy in a good way, and the characters are written superbly! I would definitely recommend Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker to everyone aged 10+. Yes, the target audience is probably 10 - 13 year olds, but I really think everyone would enjoy it. It's written that well! - (A special thank you to Silver Dagger Book Tours for providing me with an eBook of Music Boxes by Tonja Drecker in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan Rooke

    Highly imaginative and more than a little creepy, Tonja Drecker’s Music Boxes is a novel to get lost in. It tells the story of twelve-year-old Lindsey, who is uprooted from her comfortable life in Nebraska when her eight-year-old sister Bridget, a violinist of enormous talent, snags a coveted spot at Juilliard. As the story opens, the girls’ parents have moved the family to New York for Bridget’s schooling. Lindsey, though she loves her parents and sister dearly, can’t help resenting that her dr Highly imaginative and more than a little creepy, Tonja Drecker’s Music Boxes is a novel to get lost in. It tells the story of twelve-year-old Lindsey, who is uprooted from her comfortable life in Nebraska when her eight-year-old sister Bridget, a violinist of enormous talent, snags a coveted spot at Juilliard. As the story opens, the girls’ parents have moved the family to New York for Bridget’s schooling. Lindsey, though she loves her parents and sister dearly, can’t help resenting that her dreams of ballerina stardom are being neglected in favor of her little sister’s brilliant future. She is in this vulnerable emotional state when she meets Madame Destinée, a charismatic dance teacher who has it in her power to make Lindsey a star. But Madame Destinée, it appears, may have powers that extend much further than that. Drecker writes the story from Lindsey’s point of view, bringing her to vivid life as a believable twelve-year-old with all the fears, self-doubts and misapprehensions normal for her age. Lindsey tries hard not to feel sorry for herself and to adapt to her new life in New York, struggles I was firmly invested in. Small wonder that when Madame Destinée tempts her with free dance classes and promises of glory, Lindsey wants badly to believe. First, however, she must ask herself how much of what she sees at the dance school is real. Can she trust the evidence of her own eyes? A delicious sense of atmospheric foreboding pervades much of the book. There are moments that made my skin crawl and a jarring shock that made me gasp aloud. The intensity increases when, in an unnerving twist, Lindsey discovers that much more than her own future is at stake. As her courage and strength assert themselves, I was drawn irresistibly forward, turning the pages and rooting for a satisfying conclusion. The author’s deft pacing keeps the story moving along, while her skillful descriptions of the characters and the vibrant New York City winter setting add depth and richness. Music Boxes is a wonderful, engaging book that holds appeal for readers well beyond its intended Juvenile Fiction age group. I loved it and look forward to reading more from Tonja Drecker in the future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews

    While this book may seem harmless, it actually will bend the mind of anyone that reads this book with the fantasy aspects, the mystery of the dance studio, and normal sibling rivalry. Lindsey has given up a lot to follow her family to New York so her younger sister can attend Julliard.  Everyone has given up something since living in New York is not cheap, so fancy dance schools are not in the cards for Lindsey and she has to continue her ballet at the community center.  This would be a hard adju While this book may seem harmless, it actually will bend the mind of anyone that reads this book with the fantasy aspects, the mystery of the dance studio, and normal sibling rivalry. Lindsey has given up a lot to follow her family to New York so her younger sister can attend Julliard.  Everyone has given up something since living in New York is not cheap, so fancy dance schools are not in the cards for Lindsey and she has to continue her ballet at the community center.  This would be a hard adjustment for any preteen, but Lindsey takes it well until she stumbles across a dance studio around the corner and a teacher that recognizes her talent and is willing to teach her for free.  But nothing in life is free as Lindsey slowly learns.  In fact, Lindsey notices the danger sooner than those around her and it is a fight to stay alive and keep those around her safe as well. The relationship between Lindsey and her sister mirrors what many might see in their own lives.  Yes, there is sibling rivalry, but they truly care about one another and realize that they have to watch out for one another in this big city.  Lindsey also learns that you can't judge a book by its cover and those you think you should avoid you should actually embrace and learn from them. The story has its ups and downs but it kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what the next twist or turn would be and how could the story potentially end. We give it 5 paws up and think it will be perfect for any middle-grade reader that wants to be challenged and entertained at the same time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Austin

    Wow. What a great children’s mystery! I read this book with my eight year old son who was pulled into the story instantly. Though the plot focused around a ballerina dance studio, there was enough of a haunting undertone to keep my son’s interest and not complain about the story being too ‘girly.’ When Lindsay’s family leaves everything behind and moves to New York in hopes of their prodegal daughter who has gotten a music scholarship to Juliard, Lindsay begins to feel left out. Her dreams of bec Wow. What a great children’s mystery! I read this book with my eight year old son who was pulled into the story instantly. Though the plot focused around a ballerina dance studio, there was enough of a haunting undertone to keep my son’s interest and not complain about the story being too ‘girly.’ When Lindsay’s family leaves everything behind and moves to New York in hopes of their prodegal daughter who has gotten a music scholarship to Juliard, Lindsay begins to feel left out. Her dreams of becoming a ballerina have been placed on hold while the family’s focus is on eight year old, Bridget. But then Lindsay stumbles upon Madame Destinee’s dance studio and things begin to get a bit bizzarre, dancers start to disappear and a collection of music boxes steadily grow. Things aren’t as they appear at Madame Destinee’s dance studio and Lindsay is on a mission to figure out the truth. Review from my eight year old: “It’s kind of a weird book. But weird in a good, creepy way. Lindsay should have just stuck with dance lessons at the community center, then she would have been a star. Instead, she went to Madame Destinee’s school which was really dangerous. I liked the plot twist about Broussard. I do have one question; Is Robert’s brother a famous hockey star?” I highly recommend introducing this story to your child, if your child has an interest in ghost stories, such as mine.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Steve Lindahl

    Music Boxes is a well-written YA novel with a wonderful twelve-year-old protagonist. The book deals with the relationship between two sisters. Lindsey, the twelve-year-old, has every reason to be jealous of her eight-year-old sister, Bridget. Lindsey loves to dance and is quite good at it, but Bridget is a prodigy on the violin. Their family has moved from Nebraska to New York City to allow Bridget to attend the elementary school associated with Julliard. Meanwhile Lindsey is left to attend danc Music Boxes is a well-written YA novel with a wonderful twelve-year-old protagonist. The book deals with the relationship between two sisters. Lindsey, the twelve-year-old, has every reason to be jealous of her eight-year-old sister, Bridget. Lindsey loves to dance and is quite good at it, but Bridget is a prodigy on the violin. Their family has moved from Nebraska to New York City to allow Bridget to attend the elementary school associated with Julliard. Meanwhile Lindsey is left to attend dance lessons at a local community center. Here is what she thinks of that option: Classes at the Community Center didn't count as real ballet no matter how well-known the teacher had been. Community Center meant trash. Music Boxes is a horror story with a witch whose evil magic revolves around dance and music boxes, two subjects that should interest many readers, especially young ones. Every good horror story has a strong villain and this one has a great one. The tension keeps increasing as the pages keep turning. However, what I like the most about this novel is how it covers many important topics in a subtle fashion while never straying from a plot that holds a reader's attention. The topics include jealousy between siblings, honesty, trust in one's family, drug use, prejudging people, and the power of love. Yet Music Boxes never feels preachy. I recommend this novel to readers of all ages who enjoy horror stories featuring young people.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    "Music Boxes," written by Tonja Drecker will leave middle grade readers captivated. When twelve year old Lindsey moves to New York with her family from Nebraska, she is not at all happy. Her parents made the move to enroll Lindsey's eight year old sister, Bridget, in an elite music school. More than anything though, Lindsey wants to go to the best ballet school New York has to offer. Instead, they enroll her in a dumpy community school which leaves her with disappointments. While walking around th "Music Boxes," written by Tonja Drecker will leave middle grade readers captivated. When twelve year old Lindsey moves to New York with her family from Nebraska, she is not at all happy. Her parents made the move to enroll Lindsey's eight year old sister, Bridget, in an elite music school. More than anything though, Lindsey wants to go to the best ballet school New York has to offer. Instead, they enroll her in a dumpy community school which leaves her with disappointments. While walking around the corner where she lives, she finds Madame Destinee Broussard's studio. She's asked to attend, but she keeps this secret from her family. Strange and wonderful things start to happen at first. When she meets many other dancers from around the world, she senses something is not quite right. Lindsey finds early on, not everything appears to be what it's suppose to be. I met the author of this book, Tonja Drecker, at a Barnes and Noble tour she was on and purchased this book. I'm glad I did. Ms. Decker writes this story in a way that will keep the reader turning the pages. She offers complete descriptions to the setting, characters, with a steady plot. When I came to Chapter 14, I knew right then, this book would make an awesome movie. I highly recommend this suspenseful story. I'm looking forward to reading more of Tonja Drecker's book.

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