Rather than being a simple story full of girls who envy one another for looks, talent, or any other superficial quality, this is a story with lessons, many of them. And all of them point back to the basic premise that the girl who stays true to herself and her dreams, the girl who values and helps her friends, is a girl who will succeed. Shallow, mean girls, even those with talent and money, are not the heroes here. Instead, in addition to Alexandra, the main character, the heroic girls are true individuals. One is a Puerto Rican-Italian who tie-dyes her leotards to cover food spills and stains. Another is an young African-American with crooked teeth but a huge dancing talent, yet another is a girl so interested in science that she tries to talk backwards like Leonardo da Vinci in order to expand her genius. And there are others.
This is also the story of Alexandra and her mother and how they learn to appreciate each other for the dreams they have. The narrative itself is simple, but the conflicts are as complex as those kids face in the real world. Surprisingly, this is a pretty good book, one to which girls especially will relate, even if they are not interested in dancing, tutus, or all that goes along with the frilly, girly world.