The Arts - Angels Track 1: Drawn to You
by Janel Rodriguez Ferrer
Gina Santiago is a thirteen-year-old "Nuyorican" with rock star dreams, so when she's accepted into the prestigious New York Academy of Arts and Talents for art instead of music, she's crushed. To make matters worse, the student body at the Upper East Side school is divided into "schollies" (students on scholarship, like her) and "dollies" (rich kids with "dollars"). But Gina discovers that there is one thing that brings schollies and dollies-and dancers, singers, actors, artists, and musicians-together: music! Maybe she can make her dreams come true after all....
Read an excerpt:
FROM Chapter 3: You'll Be Sorry 3:48 (224 words):
I began entertaining thoughts of becoming an art school dropout when I remembered Angel Dominguez and felt inspired to explore the halls a bit. Maybe I can find a classroom he actually studied in, I thought, feeling the smile return to my face.
Jogging slightly, I headed for the staircase when I remembered the song about Angel that I had started earlier. Humming it to myself, I began adding more lyrics in my head.
I will find you even though you aren’t really here
I’ll find you standing by my side
Hear you whisper in my ear….
And then, almost as if someone did whisper in my ear, I stopped short at the bulletin board in the lobby. A flyer had caught my eye. It read:
Your favorite rock band,
is searching for their next great guitarist/vocalist
Could that be YOU?????
Listen to our sound, and then come see for yourself.
Saturday, September 15th.
Please call Nick at 917-555-7654 for more information.
I drew in a deep breath. Then I giggled. Then I laughed out loud. If my mother thought that that she was going to keep me away from music, she sure was wrong. My first day at NYAAT wasn’t even half-over, and I was already had an idea of how to make my dreams—and her nightmares—come true.
I really liked this book. It reminded me a bit of FAME, which was one of my favorite shows and movies as I was growing up back in the 80s. I love stories about talented kids who are trying to find their voice and place in life.
Gina is multi-talented, excelling in both art and music. She has applied to NYAAT, but to her dismay was accepted on an art scholarship, instead of a music one. Though she is extremely good in art, music is her true outlet and love in life. She connects to music in a way that she cannot connect to art. Part of it is due to her natural genes from her father, who had been a musician, and died in a car accident before she was born.
Unfortunately, her mother doesn't share her appreciation for music, nor her fascination with the deceased musician Angel "Wings" Dominguez. In fact, her mother does whatever she can to prevent Gina from following her musical dreams. I got so angry at her mother several times through the book, I was almost screaming out loud. I strongly believe in allowing children to follow their dreams, to be who they are, within reason, of course.
I was proud of Gina for standing up for herself and following her dreams. She has such a strong air of maturity about her, that I often forgot that she was only 13 years old. I kept picturing her as a 16 year-old.
Drawn to You is the first book in The Arts-Angels series. I look forward to reading more about them!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Like her main character, Gina Santiago, Janel is a Nuyorican who attended a Manhattan high school of the arts as an art major.
Unlike Gina, she isn’t very good at guitar and doesn’t have a rock band to call her own.
Truth be told, she never dreamed of becoming a guitarist. Instead, from the time she was a tween she dreamed of becoming a published author of a book series. And since you're reading this, you can see that her dream has come true!
Her first hint of an idea for the Arts-Angels series began way back when she received a pendant of St. Michael the Archangel for her sixteenth birthday.
She lives with her twin sister, Jennifer (who got a pendant of St. Joan of Arc that same birthday but hasn’t written any books about it), in New York City.
E-mail: janelrodriguezferrer (at) theartsangels (dot) com.
Janel will be awarding Winner's Choice of a $25 gift card to iTunes (music) or, Capezio (dance), or Utrecht (art supplies) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour for more chances to win.