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Ten cents a dance
Book
2008
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  Booklist Review

When Ruby replaces her ailing mother in the tough, meatpacking Yards of 1940s Chicago, the feisty teen can't stand the job's grimness and poverty wages: I spent eight hours a day stuffing hogs' feet in jars, and we still ate beans. When handsome bad-boy Paulie urges her to try the Starlight Dance Academy, and get paid to dance with men who show up each night, she can't resist this far more lucrative prospect. Although her mom believes Ruby has changed jobs to become a nightshift telephone operator, Ruby sashays into the wee hours as a dance-hall girl looking for glamour and adventure. Readers will be riveted by Ruby's journey as she leaves one desperate existence for another and finds herself drawn deeper into a world that is hard-edged and even dangerous especially when she begins to let Paulie lead her down a dubious path. Blatant racism, crime, and the swing-era music scene permeate the backdrop of Fletcher's absorbing wartime novel, which will have readers rooting for its spirited, soul-searching heroine.--O'Malley, Anne Copyright 2008 Booklist
Summary
<p>With her mother ill, it's up to fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski to support her family. But in the 1940s, the only opportunities open to a Polish-American girl from Chicago's poor Yards is a job in one of the meat packing plants. Through a chance meeting with a local tough, Ruby lands a job as a taxi dancer and soon becomes an expert in the art of "fishing": working her patrons for meals, cash, clothes, even jewelry. Drawn ever deeper into the world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob, Ruby gradually realizes that the only one who can save her is herself. A mesmerizing look into a little known world and era.</p>
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