Rummanah Aasi
 While preparing for the last major dance competition before they graduate from eighth grade and go to separate high schools in NYC, Cory must balance the expectations of his parents, school, crew and his new friend as pressure mounts from all sides.

Review: Freestyle is an energetic and cheerful story about breaking dancing, meeting expectations, and yo-yo masters. The story is focused on our main protagonist Cory who is skilled at b-boying with his dance crew and less talented at school. While his crew, but more specifically his crew leader, aspires to win a dance competition, Cory has to work with his tutor to improve his grades if he wants to attend a good high school in Brooklyn. With his time commitments going in different directions, Cory has to figure out how to meet everyone's expectations. 
 I really like this graphic novel from its vibrant colors, the action filled panels, and its refreshingly big group of friends who share a similar interest in dancing but not drama. The story moves quickly as the characters begin to wrestle with what other people want for them versus what they actually want. Sometimes these notions collide and other times it dovetails quite beautifully. Unlike other graphic novels that take place in middle school, there is a romantic or a budding romantic story line, but I appreciated that the author focused on friendships instead, both new ones and existing ones. Cory and Sunna's rocky friendship made sense to me and I enjoyed watching them working out their issues as well as learn yo-yo tricks. The cast of characters are diverse without being a big deal, which is also nice to see. Overall a fun story about friendship, growth, and having the space to express big feelings without being heavy handed.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Eagle Rock series by Hope Larson
1 Response
  1. How fun to have hip hop and yo-yo tricks in this book; I think that would really appeal to middle grade readers.

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