Study Guide

Dancing on the Edge Abandonment

By Han Nolan

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If there's one thing we know about young adult fiction, it's that the genre is packed full of abandoned kids—Oliver Twist, Mary Lennox, and Alaska Young should be rolling out the welcome mat as Miracle joins their legion of Kids Who Got a Bad Deal. Because while Miracle may have a legal guardian of some kind for the entirety of Dancing on the Edge, the adults in her life haven't exactly done an awesome job of raising her. Fortunately, struggling through life on her own only adds a richer layer to her transformation as a character.

Questions About Abandonment

  1. What needs is Miracle been deprived of? How has the absence of each made her life more difficult?
  2. How does being a neglected child make Miracle stronger? Give specific examples, please.
  3. How does Miracle's sense of self shift after being in The Cedars? What factors contribute to this?
  4. How do Gigi's and Aunt Casey's strategies in managing Miracle create further problems for her?

Chew on This

Being in The Cedars at age thirteen is the first experience Miracle ever has with structure, and as much as kids may say they hate it, they really thrive when there are some clear boundaries.

Miracle was abandoned the moment her family agreed not to tell her the truth about her mother's death.

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