Hurwin, Davida Wills 1950-
Hurwin, Davida Wills 1950-
Born 1950, in San Francisco, CA; married; husband's name Gene; children: Frazier Malone (daughter).
Home and office—Southern CA.
Dancer, actor, educator, and writer. Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Santa Monica, CA, instructor in drama.
Iowa Teen Award nomination, 1998-99, for A Time for Dancing; New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age selection, 2003, for The Farther You Run.
A Time for Dancing, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
The Farther You Run, Viking (New York, NY), 2003.
Circle the Soul Softly, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.
A Time for Dancing was adapted as a film, released in 2000.
In her fiction for young adults, Davida Wills Hurwin focuses on young women coming of age. Her debut novel, A Time for Dancing, draws on Hurwin's experiences as a dancer, while Circle the Soul Softly benefits from Hurwin's insight as a high-school drama instructor.
A Time for Dancing is a story of grief and loss. Samantha and Juliana are best friends, and have been since childhood. They perform together in the same dance company and attend the same school. However, when Juliana is diagnosed with cancer, their friendship changes, and Samantha has to learn to say goodbye. "Few YA dramas deal with the issue of terminal illness as intimately as this gripping first novel," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, while Anne O'Malley noted in Booklist that A Time for Dancing "will hold fans of this genre glued to the page." Samantha and Juliana "are likable, fully drawn characters who immediately engage the reader," Maeve Visser Knoth maintained in her Horn Book review of the novel, which was also adapted as a film.
The Farther You Run begins six months after A Time for Dancing, and continues to focus on Samantha as she struggles through her grief, refusing to dance. Her new friend, Mona, tries to get close, but Samantha pushes her away, unwilling to accept emotional support. "The emotional intensity and vibrant characters will hook readers from the first page," wrote O'Malley in Booklist. While feeling that the book would mainly appeal to fans of the first novel, Miranda Doyle noted in School Library Journal that "the friendship between the
two girls is convincing." A Kirkus Reviews contributor found The Farther You Run "immensely appealing and slightly unrealistic in the depiction of life on one's own."
In Circle the Soul Softly, Kate O'Connor suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following the death of her father. After a move to a Los Angeles suburb with her family several years later, Kate is terrified of literally running into things and people. She is also sure she is being stalked by a presence she calls the Monster. As school progresses, however, she begins to connect with the other teens in her drama group. When Kate begins to suspect that one of her new friends is being abused, the act of helping someone else in need helps Kate face issues from her own past. "Hurwin's creation is tender, thought-provoking, and emotionally profound, with an inescapable crescendo," wrote J.A. Kaszuba Locke in a review of Circle the Soul Softly for Book Loons online. Myrna Marler, writing in Kliatt, described Kate's narrative voice as "likeable and believable," and School Li-brary Journal critic Susan Riley predicted that "teen girls will strongly relate to the protagonist's feelings."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 1, 1995, Anne O'Malley, review of A Time for Dancing, p. 470; August, 2003, Anne O'Malley, review of The Farther You Run, p. 1980.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1995, review of A Time for Dancing, p. 58; April, 2006, Loretta Gaffney, review of Circle the Soul Softly, p. 357.
Horn Book, January-February, 1996, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of A Time for Dancing, p. 78.
Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, November, 1997, review of A Time for Dancing, p. 215.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2003, review of The Farther You Run, p. 859; February 1, 2006, review of Circle the Soul Softly, p. 133.
Kliatt, March, 2006, Myrna Marler, review of Circle the Soul Softly, p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, October 9, 1995, review of A Time for Dancing, p. 87; December 22, 1997, review of A Time for Dancing, p. 61; June 30, 2003, review of The Farther You Run, p. 82.
School Library Journal, August, 2003, Miranda Doyle, review of The Farther You Run, p. 160; March, 2006, Susan Riley, review of Circle the Soul Softly, p. 223.
Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 1995, review of A Time for Dancing, p. 302; August, 2003, review of The Farther You Run, p. 225; February, 2006, Laura Woodruff, review of Circle the Soul Softly, p. 487.
Book Loons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (April 28, 2007), J.A. Kaszuba Locke, review of Circle the Soul Softly.
HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (April 28, 2007), "Davida Wills Hurwin.