Ages: 12 and up
It’s 1956, and ever since she and her mother rescued Angel Musseldorf from her abusive parents, Frankilee Baxter has been miserable. In addition to being more pretty, popular, and talented than Frankilee, Angel moves in, steals Frankilee’s clothing, and begins dating the boy Frankilee likes. At the same time, Frankilee’s community is struggling with the issue of school integration.
What keeps Frankilee going is her fantasy about Elvis Presley rescuing her from life in Clover, Texas. But this restless teenager is a realist and doesn’t wait around for things to get worse. She devises a plan to get rid of Angel, begins a local Elvis fan club, and works to promote integration. What Frankilee doesn’t bargain for is becoming involved in a burglary, an elaborate kidnapping scheme, and a shooting.
With humor and heart, Dancing with Elvis tells of one young woman’s coming of age in the South during a time of change in America’s history.
Every night after I say my prayers, it gives me great pleasure to think about murdering Angel Musseldorf. Hell, I know she’s a battered kid, and she’s had an unheavenly host of problems, but I’ve had about all I can take. Then I get to thinking — what about jail time? I don’t mean to be wishy-washy, but maybe I wouldn’t kill Angel dead. Still, I’d like to get rid of her in some kind, Christian way.
I blame it all on Mother. And she blames me. Daddy blames us both and says we’ve been in cahoots, plotting against him and the rest of the world for too long. Wanita, our housekeeper, says we’ve put too many crickets in a box, and now that some of them are climbing out, we’ve got more than we can handle, and it serves us right.
Awards & Recognitions
Children’s Picks, Winter 2005/2006
New York Public Library
Books for the Teen Age List
Oklahoma Center for the Book
Oklahoma Book Awards, Finalist (2006)
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards
Honorable Mention, Young Adult Fiction (2006)
International Reading Association
Children’s Book Award Notable (2006)
Delta Kappa Gamma Society International
Gamma State Young Author’s Award (2007)