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One Wrong Turn

One Wrong Turn

Author: Chenée Marrapodi

Publisher: Fremantle Press

Published: July 2023

Chenée Marrapodi’s debut novel, One Wrong Turn introduces readers to Amelia and Valentina who both dream of being chosen as the lead in an upcoming production of Cinderella. Amelia has grown up surrounded by ballet and dreams of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Valentina shows no less passion, but her recent move from Italy to Australia sees her struggling to juggle a new country and language, as well as the challenges of making friends and living up to the expectations of her family.

Marrapodi’s own dance background and Italian heritage shine through in this story about the dedication, sacrifice and teamwork required for success in the demanding world of ballet. But there are also powerplays, exclusionary tactics and lies that threaten to undo not only individual performances but the entire production.

Told through the alternating voices of Amelia and Valentina, One Wrong Turn invites empathy for both girls, even when readers may disagree with their choices. While Amelia and Valentina are the narrators of this story, perhaps the hero is Khalila, a fellow student at the dance school. Inclusive and welcoming, she epitomises what it means to be a team player and a true friend. She works quietly behind the scenes to save the show from being an unmitigated disaster.

Although categorised as a middle-grade novel, One Wrong Turn is an engaging read for dance lovers of all ages – as well as anyone who remembers what it’s like being a young teenager attempting to navigate, and find their place in, the world around them.


Reviewed by Melinda Tognini

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