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Codename: Dancer (The Dani Spevak Mystery Series Book 1) by [Brice, Amanda]
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Codename: Dancer (The Dani Spevak Mystery Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 296 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Product Description

A Young Adult Mystery Romance

Aspiring ballerina Dani Spevak is thrilled when hit TV show Teen Celebrity Dance Off comes to the campus of her performing arts boarding school. She trades the barre for the ballroom and gets set to cha-cha-cha to stardom with Hollywood wonderboy Nick Galliano.

At first their partnership is awkward, because Dani is in awe of her longtime teen idol crush. But soon their chemistry is heating up the dance floor and the attraction moves into real life.

Her excitement is short-lived, because someone wants her off the show. Bombs, poisoning, arson… Will Dani’s 15 minutes of fame be over before she reaches age 15? Dani and her friends are suddenly at the center of some serious sabotage. And if she doesn’t find out who is behind it, her next pirouette could be her last.

It’s like Nancy Drew in toe shoes in this light-hearted tween mystery, a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award for Best Young Adult Romance.

Nominated for the 2011 Cybil Award for Young Adult Fiction and a finalist for the 2012 eFestival of Words Best Independent Book Awards!

Book 2 (Pointe of No Return) and Book 3 (Pas De Death) in the Dani Spevak Mystery Series are available now! Sign up at Amanda's website ( to be notified when Book 4 (THE DEGAS CODE) will be released!

What They're Saying

"References that include everything from Snooki to Chewbacca will have you laughing out loud."
~ Romantic Times

"It reminded me so much of my childhood, and I have no doubt this would have been my favorite series. Young girls are in for a treat with Daniela Spevak pirouetting through mystery, mayhem and maybe a little romance. It's Nancy Drew meets Dancing with the Stars! What could be better?"
~ Broadway actress & dancer Cara Cooper

“Fans of Pretty Little Liars and Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls will love Codename: Dancer. Sparks fly, tutus twirl, and a clever mystery unravels in what is sure to become a favorite among teens and tweens everywhere. Amanda Brice’s debut is a must read for every girl who ever danced – or ever wanted to!”
~ NY Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday

"Amanda Brice's debut novel has something that will appeal to everyone, especially ballet enthusiasts, mystery lovers and fans of reality TV competitions. Even if you don't know a thing about dance, you'll be easily drawn into this quick-paced story with authentic characters and big stakes. I adored Dani and found myself rooting for this spunky heroine. Can't wait for the sequel!"
~ Rhonda Stapleton, author of STRUCK

"A perfect example of YA done right."
~ I'd So Rather Be Reading review blog

About the Author

As a little girl, Amanda Brice dreamed of being either a ballerina or the author of a mystery series featuring a cool crime-solving chick named Nancy Flew, but her father urged her to “do something practical,” so she went to law school and spent her days writing briefs and pleadings instead of fiction. But dance and writing have remained a part of her life. Amanda was a member of the ballroom dance team at Duke University, and continues this interest by her obsession with Dancing with the Stars, so it was only natural for her to set a teen mystery series at a dance school. Amanda is the Vice President of Washington Romance Writers, and is a two-time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award. She blogs every other Wednesday with the Fictionistas and every other Friday with Killer Fiction. She is also a popular conference presenter, speaking on basic copyright and trademark law for writers. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys dancing, reading, cooking, traveling, and obsessing over whether Duke will beat Carolina in basketball. Go Devils! You can learn more at

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 469 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Suasponte Press (Dec 3 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004WPOK7S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #683,689 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9ee34b04) out of 5 stars 42 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f1807f8) out of 5 stars Review From a Dancer Aug. 6 2013
By Kamaria Carrington - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was excellent and I would suggest it to all of the girl on my dance team. Heck I'd recommend it to all the girls in my performing arts school! I absolutely love it and will definitely read it again!

Very well written too! I can't wait to read what else Dani Spevak has in store for us!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f180a44) out of 5 stars Great for young teens Aug. 19 2011
By A. - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm a fan of mysteries and/or thrillers. I really am. I just have a bit of a problem with adult thrillers/mysteries. They can get a bit too intense for me sometimes, haha. I guess I just get too involved with the book. That's why YA mysteries and thrillers are more my pace.

Codename: Dancer satisfied my taste for mystery without being too over the top. The book is on the shorter side so the action picks up pretty fast. The mystery was done well. It was one of the books where you had to keep reading so you could figure out who did it. [Normally I'm pretty good at figuring it out but I wasn't able to do it for this book!] While the book was a mystery, it was light-hearted and fun as well. Definitely perfect for a quick afternoon read.

When starting the book, I was a bit worried about the dancing. Since the author has a background in dancing, I thought the book would be heavy on the dancing and dancing terms. As someone who hasn't even mastered the Macarena, I thought I might be in over my head. I was pleasantly surprised though. The author used the terms just enough to prove she knows what she's talking about but not enough to turn off or confuse the non-dancers reading. I discovered at the end of the book there's a glossary of dance terms! It's not terribly convenient if you're reading on an e-reader though.

My only "problem" with the book was it walked the line between a middle grade book and a young adult book a bit awkwardly. I could see younger teens/tweens enjoying this book but there was more language than a normal middle grade book has. On the other hand, the book seemed maybe a smidge more juvenile than typical YA books. As an adult, this isn't a problem for me but for some people, like parents, it could be a problem.

I also appreciated that Dani's eating problems were addressed. I was worried that nothing would be said about it and it would be passed off for normal. It was taken care of pretty fast though but the book is short so it's understandable.

Rating 3.5/5

4/5 for younger readers. Definitely worth picking up especially if you're a fan of Nancy Drew.

3/5 for older readers like me. If you're looking for a quick, fun mystery, look no further.
*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f180c84) out of 5 stars Good Book Alert Review: Delightful YA mystery June 20 2011
By J.A. Beard - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Codename: Dancer
Author: Amanda Brice
Genre: YA Mystery
Rating: 4 Stars

Codename: Dancer is a delightful YA mystery with a touch of romance.


Fourteen year-old dancer Dani Spevak's fortunes at her new performing arts schools seem to be turning around when she's selected to dance with a gorgeous teen actor on a reality show. Just as quickly though, her fortunes reverse when a series of suspicious accidents strike the set. Now, this dancer has to turn detective before it's too late.


Codename: Dancer begins with a fairly standard scenario: a new transfer student having a hard time fitting in at her school. Though the social antagonist is a bit typical, the performing arts school setting and the lively lead give more than enough entertainment prior to the start of the mystery. The protagonist, Dani Spevak, a likable aspiring ballerina is likable and competent without ever seeming unrealistic.

Dani, and the various secondary characters were fairly well-developed. As a 14-year-old with a major crush, her actions aren't always motivated by the most deep and noble of reasons, but they're never inconsistent or inexplicable. Given the setting, the quirky, memorable line-up of secondary characters never seemed unnatural. The same can be said of the romance sub-plot. Those looking for deep, epic romance might be disappointed but it's still a cute sub-plot, an Dani's feelings come through well.

The Arizona performance arts setting was a nice touch. The author gives enough detail about the school to provide a more definite sense of setting beyond the more typical "fancy private school" settings that seem to dominate many YA mysteries these days. Fans of dance will appreciate the author's attention to detail in that area, but it shouldn't be overwhelming for those who are less knowledgeable in the subject.

An aspiring ballerina at a performing arts school doesn't seem a likely detective, but the scenario that unfolded in the book manages to plausibly draw Dani into the mystery without seeming forced. Indeed, the plot is held up by a steadily escalating tension that always draws the reader forward. Despite the tension, the personality of Dani and her friends infuses a sense of fun throughout the whole novel. Though there is a brief aside where the novel explores a few serious issues afflicting teen girls, overall the story experience was mostly about fun entertainment.

Of course, fun characters won't sustain a mystery novel if the central mystery itself is not well done. Codename: Dancer provided enough clues and suspects to please a light mystery fan. The eventual resolution of the mystery ended up satisfying without relying on simple, cheap re-direction.

Any fan of light mystery should enjoy Codename: Dancer. I look forward to the sequel coming out in Fall 2011.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f180f00) out of 5 stars Cliched but still fun June 9 2011
By S. Power - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Codename: Dancer (A Dani Spevac Mystery) is a cute middle grade book about Dani who has just arrived at a performing arts boarding school. Dani is lucky enough to be cast as a dancer in a dancing with the stars like reality show but there's a problem. Someone has been sabotaging the show. A set falls down injuring one of the dancers, a bomb is planted in Dani's purse and more. Dani and her friends decide to put their spying skills to the test so they can save the show.

This is an adorable book and the mystery was fun I tore through the book and found it very entertaining. The setting and characters were interesting enough and I liked that the main character was a dancer. However, the characters were super cliched. The art student was dark and dreary, the mean girl was nasty and conniving and the movie star was cute and funny with Dani falling for him in an instant. Dani eats nothing at all and is constantly skipping meals and her friends help her diagnose her eating disorder before the end of the book which she accepts rather easily (because all dancers have eating disorders). The dance sequences seemed like they were written by someone who has read a lot about dance or watched it on TV but not someone who was actually a dancer. The book is very short (150 pages) but it's currently available on Amazon for kindle for 1.99 and for that price it's a fun and quick read.

Appropriateness: This book is free of sex and substance abuse and the romance is limited to kissing. The main character has an eating disorder that's handled in the same way that one would be handled in a program for young teens. She skips a lot of meals and uses costuming as an excuse. Her friends notice and after a few point it out to her and she accepts it (after denying it for a while) eats some pasta and in the end she mentions that she'll be going to a nutritionist to get it in control. I would recommend this book to girls 10-13.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f180d98) out of 5 stars Young Adult Fiction done right July 6 2013
By Kelli Nash - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This book was a lot of fun! It was a perfect example of YA done right. It was a fast, light read with a good mystery and an even better message.

Dani is a 14 year-old dancer who is new to a performing arts boarding school. She makes fast friends with some other dancers and they audition for the coveted spots on the Teen Celebrity Dance Off team. After the team members are chosen and rehearsals begin, things start to go wrong. Dani and her friends set out to solve the mystery of who is sabotaging the show. In the middle of their hunt for the guilty party is a blossoming romance and Dani's struggle with her body image.

There were hints as to Dani's body image issues throughout the book before it was expressly discussed. Being a dancer, you can imagine the focus on weight these girls feel and Dani feels pressured to lose weight to look good on stage and fit into her costumes. I loved how Brice used her book as an opportunity to send a great message to her readers.

Another thing I liked about Codename Dancer was Dani's voice. She's perky and kind of sassy. I liked Brice's references to pop culture. I thought they were very well-done without being heavy-handed (like, say, the House of Night series).

I would recommend Codename Dancer for a younger YA audience. Middle grade fans especially will love it. I liked the book much more than I thought I would and would definitely read more from Amanda Brice in the future.