Literature: Dancing on the Edge

A 1999 young adult novel by Han Nolan, Dancing On The Edge follows Miracle McCoy, a young girl whose mother was killed after being hit by an ambulance, but Miracle herself survived. Raised by her allegedly psychic grandmother Gigi, Miracle takes up dancing herself and is doing well until her father disappears, sending her into a downward spiral.


Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Miracle's birth, since her mother died but she lived.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: A decidedly unfunny version with Miracle, since her often disjointed and nonsensical thoughts betray a very deeply troubled mind.
  • Death by Ambulance: The story of Miracle's birth. Late in the book we learn this was no accident, since her mother was actually trying to commit suicide.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The McCoys, though the true extent is only obvious near the end.
  • Generation Xerox: Miracle's dream is to be a dance like her mother was, but her imitation also extends to the less healthy traits her mother had, including the attempted suicide.
  • Self-Harm: Miracle sets herself on fire late in the book
  • Surprise Pregnancy: It's mentioned that Miracle's mother's pregnancy barely showed at all even in the later months, and her entire stomach was at most the size of a basketball.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Many plot points that don't make much sense logically are implied to be the result of Miracle's troubled emotional state.
  • Unreliable Narrator: A large part of Miracle's internal narration should be taken with a grain of salt.
  • Wonder Child: Miracle's grandmother considers her to be this, when, after you learn that her mother was actually trying to kill herself, takes on an even more disturbing light.