Girl of the Year 2014: Isabelle in the City

Author: Laurence Yep
Illustrator: Anna Kmet


Isabelle and Jade are accepted into an intensive summer dance course in New York City. Isabelle has trouble bonding with her roommate, Miki, who is from Japan. They're not enemies or anything, they just don't quite click. There's a door decorating contest, and Isabelle is frustrated that Miki won't help her. Jade is making friends right and left and the dancers in her age group are from many different countries. She advises Isabelle to give Miki some space to warm up to her, as the cultural differences might be overwhelming. Soon Isabelle realizes that while Miki knows English very well, some of the slang Isabelle and the other US girls use is lost on her. She slows down a bit, which gives Miki the opportunity to understand her better. They work together on the door project, using Miki's origami skills and Isabelle's design talent. Everyone else on their floor wants to learn how to make paper ballerinas, and soon all the doors have the origami on them. Isabelle adds notes about friendship, and the judges agree that her floor has the best doors. They win the prize of seeing a New York Ballet Company performance.


Only available as an e-book, and the only short story for a Girl of the Year to date.

Like Isabelle, Miki has a very talented older sister, who dances with a professional Swedish dance company.

Jade starts acting annoyed when Isabelle and Miki start getting along, eventually admitting that she's used to being a big fish in a small pond, but now there are so many other talented dancers that she feels lost in the crowd.

A few pages at the end give instructions and bit of history about origami.

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