Winner of the 2021 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing.
Evie Vanhoutte is a teachers' pet, a basketball star and the most beautiful girl in the year level. Evie Vanhoutte is tall, has long dark hair, a great smile, and for the past four years, Evie Vanhoutte has been the object of my most ardent, heartfelt, and passionate affection. Unrequited affection, of course.
Patch is out of place at Mountford College - she wears the wrong clothes, she's not sporty or popular, she lives in a small flat above her dad's record shop a world away from the leafy suburb where she goes to school. And she has a secret long-term crush on basketball star Evie Vanhoutte. Evie barely knows Patch exists until an accident involving a bottle of ink and Patch's school uniform sparks a friendship that's equal parts exhilarating and terrifying, and very, very confusing.
As if that weren't enough, Patch is also trying to deal with a jealous school bully, forgetting to be supportive of her transitioning best friend, Edwin, and worrying about how a potential new stepmother could throw everything off course.
Dancing Barefoot is a feel-good romance about growing up queer, figuring out your place in the world, staying true to yourself and your friends, finding love, and learning to embrace the obstacles life throws in your path.
Patch is on a scholarship at Mountford College, where she struggles to fit in with the wealthy kids. Her one best friend is Edwin, who is in the process of transitioning. If not for Edwin, Patch’s school life would be completely unbearable.
Patch has a crush on Evie, the most gorgeous girl in school and one of the most popular. When an incident in art class throws them together, a friendship forms.
I read this book in one sitting and fell in love with all the characters from the start. Patch and her Dad and brother Lou are instantly relatable characters, and so are Patch’s struggles with fitting in at school.
Dancing Barefoot is a wonderful novel about admitting who you really are and standing up for yourself. It’s about growing up, coming out, friendship, family, and most importantly, understanding that people are not always how they seem to the outside world - every person has a story if you’re prepared to look and listen.
Perfect for students in Year 9 and up.
Reviewed by Michelle