“Pretending to Dance” by Diane Chamberlain

★★★★☆ New release Tuesday! And what a beautiful cover.

Pretending to DanceMolly and her husband, Aidan, live in San Diego. They’ve tried unsuccessfully to have children of their own, so now they are going through the adoption process. During the lengthy and intrusive questionings by the adoption agency, Molly tells some lies. They are the same lies she has told Aidan. About her family in Morrison Ridge — what happened to her mother and father, as well as the rest of her family that she does not keep in touch with. This whole process causes Molly to remember what really happened back then, when she was just a teenager.

Flashing back to Molly’s life at 14, she is bespectacled, loves New Kids on the Block, and is just exploring her teenage freedom. Molly’s father has MS which has paralyzed him to the neck, so he is wheelchair-bound and has a live-in assistant named Russell. Her father is a psychiatrist who specializes in “Pretend Therapy” (e.g. pretend you aren’t shy, and eventually you won’t be). Molly spends a lot of her summer with her dad, helping him write his book and then going on a book tour. During the summer, Molly finds out some shocking details about her parents that change her view of them forever.

Molly also has a new friend. Stacy is the only girl her age that has stayed in town for the summer, and she is very mature — she has a high school boyfriend that has a friend who is interested in Molly. Molly is nervous, but Stacy lends her a copy of Judy Blume’s Forever to read to catch her up.

Molly’s innocent side (hanging out with dad, crushing on the New Kids on the Block) clashes violently with her new, growing up side (sneaking around with boys). That summer will change her life forever, in more ways than one.

Pretending to Dance is a masterfully woven story taking you from the past to the present effortlessly. It has great writing and keeps you guessing, giving you false paths to follow until the true ending is revealed. Highly recommended.

Purchase the book here.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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