Study Guide

Dancing on the Edge Plot Analysis

By Han Nolan

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Plot Analysis


I'm Melting 

Oh, what a world, what a world… Because her mother's dead, when Miracle's father vanishes into thin air, our main girl isn't exactly left in the greatest family situation. She's alone with her grandmother, Gigi, who's obsessed with all things occult, and they find themselves no longer welcome in town. This sends the ladies packing to Miracle's grandfather's house, but since he also happens to be Gigi's ex-husband, they definitely aren't out of hot water yet.

At least Miracle and Granddaddy Opal form a good relationship—he even defies Gigi's order that Miracle not be allowed to take dance lessons. But with secrets and exes living together, plus both of Miracle's parents gone, the stage is definitely set for some serious drama to unfold.

Rising Action

It's a Twister

When Granddaddy Opal's house is destroyed in a tornado (on Miracle's birthday, no less), Miracle's world is turned upside-down again. She's sent to live with Aunt Casey and Uncle Toole, who aren't exactly the most involved foster parents ever. Left mostly to her own devices, Miracle's confusion over her identity in the wake of her dad's disappearance only gets worse, and eventually leads to her setting herself on fire. Yikes—something has definitely got to give for this kid.


These Things Must Be Done Delicately… 

Recovering in the hospital after setting herself on fire, Miracle comes face to face with the truth about her mother's accident (spoiler alert: not an accident) and must finally choose between continuing to hide from the truth by living in the bubble of lies her family has told her, or breaking free. Despite the painful reality that her mother committed suicide, Miracle chooses to walk through the darkness in order to accept and learn to live with the truth. She realizes this is the only way to ever live in the light.

Falling Action

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain 

In one last attempt to regain control over her granddaughter, Gigi kidnaps Miracle from the hospital and tries to drive her back to Tennessee so she can be a guinea pig for her new healing powers. On the way, though, Miracle comes to believe once and for all that Gigi is a fake and that she needs the help of the hospital and Aunt Casey in order to truly recover. Firm in her newfound beliefs, Miracle stands up to her grandmother, insisting she take her back to The Cedars.


There's No Place Like Home 

Gigi dumps Miracle off at a bus station without so much as a cent to get herself anywhere, and Miracle calls Aunt Casey to come pick her up. While waiting for Casey, she begins to reconsider her belief that love doesn't exist and starts actually looking forward to her new life with Casey and Granddaddy Opal, as well as continuing to heal. She hasn't reached happiness yet, but as the story ends, it's clear that Miracle is well on her way.

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