This train is being held

Ismée Williams

Book - 2020

Told in two voices, ballet dancer and private school student Isabelle Warren and poet and baseball star Alex Rosario grow closer after meeting on a subway, bonding over their parents' expectations and their own dreams.

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Published
New York : Amulet Books [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
289 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781419734939
1419734938
Main Author
Ismée Williams (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Alex Rosario plays ball so people, especially his papi, will see and respect him, but secretly he writes poetry. Isabelle Warren dances because she loves being in the spotlight, but it helps that dancing gives her a break from her tumultuous homelife. From beginning to end, told in the course of about a year, this story explores overcoming appearances and prejudices and the ways loving and taking care of yourself and others is a choice as well as a responsibility. Isa and Alex are from completely different walks of life, even though both of them are children of immigrants, speak Spanish, and live in the same city. Williams addresses these themes in a modern context and doesn't shy away from Alex's justified fear of police officers, Isa's privilege, the dangers of (and alternatives to) running with gangs, how mental health struggles affect families, and the power of sharing the truth on social media. It's a captivating, classic story about two people who shouldn't be together, and readers will be cheering them on until its satisfying conclusion. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In a charming #OwnVoices novel by Williams (Water in May), a ballet dancer and a rising baseball star find common ground and romance via the New York City subway. Upper East Sider Isa, who attends a private school, pursues ballet despite the disapproval of her tempestuous Cuban mother, a perpetual board member who's struggling with her husband's layoff. Dominican Alex, who attends school in Washington Heights and travels between his divorced parents, would rather write poetry than play ball, but his former-Yankee father is pushing him to go professional. Both teens are intensely driven, and both have stormy home lives they'd rather keep private. Yet despite their avowals that neither has time for a relationship, their random subway encounters, which begin when Alex holds the door for Isa, evolve into planned time together. When Isa's stability at home begins to dissolve, her attempts to keep up a strong front drive a wedge between them until they find themselves thrown together in a crisis. Demanding parents, experiences of racism, mental-health challenges, gang violence, and the fallout of a lost job blend seamlessly with moments of poetry to create a realistic and complex romance. Ages 13–up. (Feb.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Set against the backdrop of New York's transit system, an unlikely love blooms between two budding artists. Alex, a talented baseball player with a demanding Dominican father, secretly writes poetry. He doesn't want to let his father down but he wants to explore his own dreams outside of baseball. However, he knows baseball is the way out of poverty and the bridge to respect in a world that sees him as just another thug. Isabelle is a brilliant dancer with a bright future. To the outside world, everything looks perfect—her wealth and beauty provide her opportunities and privilege—but there are things she wishes she could change, like her mother's elitist attitude and prejudices. There's also the secret about her brother. Isabelle and Alex meet on the subway and fall in love, but when her father loses his job, Isabelle's whole world is turned upside down. Will their relationship thrive or will it be crushed by the people they love? This is a love story that sheds light on self-hatred and colorism in the Latinx community. Readers will take a walk in Alex's black Chuck Taylors and experience the feeling of being policed when he is just trying to live, and dance in Isabelle's ballet shoes to discover how it feels when people are shocked she speaks Spanish because her skin is white and her hair is blonde. VERDICT Serious romantics will enjoy this love story set against racism, classism, colorism, and mental health stigma.—Cicely Lewis, Meadowcreek High School, Norcross, GA Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Told in two voices, ballet dancer and private school student Isabelle Warren and poet and baseball star Alex Rosario grow closer after meeting on a subway, bonding over their parents' expectations and their own dreams.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Pressured by his Papi to pursue a career in pro sports in spite of his poetic spirit, Alex bonds with an ambitious young dancer whose dreams have been complicated by her mother’s controlling nature, her father’s unemployment and a sibling’s mental illness. 20,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

'A nuanced and tenderly pitched story.' 'Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author    'Ismée Williams has created an engaging urban romance that tackles difficult subjects such as mental health and racism, while celebrating poetry, dance, baseball, and the complexities of Latino families.' 'margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree   Alex is a baseball player. A great one. His papi is pushing him to go pro, but Alex maybe wants to be a poet. Not that Papi would understand or allow that.   Isa is a dancer. She'd love to go pro, if only her Havana-born mom weren't dead set against it...just like she's dead set against her daughter falling for a Latino. And Isa's privileged private-school life'with her dad losing his job and her older brother struggling with mental illness'is falling apart. Not that she'd ever tell that to Alex.   Fate'and the New York City subway'bring Alex and Isa together. Is it enough to keep them together when they need each other most?

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“A nuanced and tenderly pitched story.” –Elizabeth Acevedo, National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author    “Ismée Williams has created an engaging urban romance that tackles difficult subjects such as mental health and racism, while celebrating poetry, dance, baseball, and the complexities of Latino families.” –Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree   Alex is a baseball player. A great one. His papi is pushing him to go pro, but Alex maybe wants to be a poet. Not that Papi would understand or allow that.   Isa is a dancer. She'd love to go pro, if only her Havana-born mom weren't dead set against it...just like she's dead set against her daughter falling for a Latino. And Isa's privileged private-school life—with her dad losing his job and her older brother struggling with mental illness—is falling apart. Not that she'd ever tell that to Alex.   Fate—and the New York City subway—bring Alex and Isa together. Is it enough to keep them together when they need each other most?