Book: Dancing on the Edge

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Dancing on the Edge

Author: Han Nolan
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books

Miracle McCloy has always known that there is something different about her: She was pulled from the womb of a dead woman—a “miracle” birth—and Gigi, her clairvoyant grandmother, expects Miracle to be a prodigy, much like Dane, the girl’s brooding novelist father. Having been raised according to a set of mystical rules and beliefs, Miracle is unable to cope in the real world. Lost in a desperate dance among lit candles, Miracle sets herself afire and is hospitalized. There Dr. DeAngelis, a young psychiatrist, helps her through her painful struggle to take charge of her life.


Never before in the history of the National Book Award has an author been nominated two years in a row. Han Nolan was nominated in 1996 for Send Me Down a Miracle, and in 1997 Dancing on the Edge—a transcendent novel about a young woman trying to find the truth amidst the lies told by her family—won the National Book Award for young people’s literature. Miracle was saved at birth from the belly of a dying woman—that sort of entry into the world is hard to live up to. Miracle has been struggling her whole life to become a prodigy like her writer father or to become gifted in the psychic arts like her grandmother. But when her father goes missing and her grandmother claims that he melted away, Miracle devotes all of her energies to bringing him back. Her efforts to reclaim her father are so sincere that she tries to melt herself in the fire made from a circle of candles. Never sparing humor, Han Nolan lets us meet this amazing young woman who wants so much to believe.

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