A heartfelt middle-grade novel about a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility and her quest to defy expectations—and gravity—from Tony award–winning actress Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz
Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon loves a lot of things: her dog Warbucks, her best friend Chloe, and competing on her wheelchair racing team, the Zoomers, to name a few. But there’s one thing she’s absolutely OBSESSED with: MUSICALS! From Hamilton to Les Mis, there’s not a cast album she hasn’t memorized and belted along to. She’s never actually been in a musical though, or even seen an actor who uses a wheelchair for mobility on stage. Would someone like Nat ever get cast? But when Nat’s family moves from California to New Jersey, Nat stumbles upon auditions for a kids’ production of Wicked, one of her favorite musicals ever! And she gets into the ensemble! The other cast members are super cool and inclusive (well, most of them)— especially Malik, the male lead and cutest boy Nat’s ever seen. But when things go awry a week before opening night, will Nat be able to cast her fears and insecurities aside and “Defy Gravity” in every sense of the song title?
About the Author
Ali Stroker is a Tony Award winner for her role as Ado Annie in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! She made history as the first actor in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway in Deaf West’s acclaimed 2015 revival of Spring Awakening. She's a series regular in the Netflix series, Echoes, and starred in the Lifetime holiday film, Christmas Ever After. Ali recurred in the final season of Netflix's Ozark and is recurring in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building. She co-wrote the 2021 novel, The Chance to Fly, and she wrote the 2022 children's book, Ali and the Sea Stars. She played Lady Anne in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III. She’s performed her one woman show all over the country, some of her favorites being the Kennedy Center, Town Hall, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. Her mission to improve the lives of others through the arts is captured in her motto: “Turning Your Limitations Into Your Opportunities.” Stacy Davidowitz is an acclaimed author and playwright. Her star-reviewed novel The Chance to Fly, coauthored by Tony Award–winning actress Ali Stroker, was named a best children’s book of the year by Amazon, Chicago Public Library, Parents, and Bank Street College of Education. It was also selected by the National Education Association as a featured title for Read Across America. Davidowitz is best known for her four-book Camp Rolling Hills series, inspired by her coauthored Camp Rolling Hills the Musical, which continues to have productions across the country. She is also the author of the Hanazuki chapter-book series based on Hasbro’s YouTube series. She has written award-winning plays that have been produced regionally and internationally, and are published by Broadway Play Publishing, Stage Rights, and YouthPLAYS. When she is not writing, she teaches creative writing, female empowerment, and musical theater in schools, camps, foster care facilities, and juvenile detention centers. She lives in upper Manhattan with her husband and twin boys. Learn more about Davidowitz at stacydavidowitz.com and follow her on Instagram at @stacydavidowitzbooks, where in addition to all things books, you can watch clips of her performing as a kid.
Stacy Davidowitz is the author of the Camp Rolling Hills series and co-author of Camp Rolling Hills the Musical, which continues to have productions across the country. She is also the author of the Hanazuki series based on Hasbro’s YouTube series. When she is not writing, she is teaching creative writing and musical theater in schools, foster care facilities, and juvenile detention centers. She is a proud graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University, where she earned degrees in drama and acting. Fun fact: Growing up, she was in seven productions of Annie. Stacy lives in Manhattan with her husband and twin boys.
“Every theater kid in the world will instantly fall in love with Nat Beacon and relate to her story of perseverance. The Chance To Fly is as unique, inspirational, and full of heart as Ali Stroker is herself. She and Stacy Davidowitz will make readers laugh, cry, and teach them the true meaning of defying gravity.” — Chris Colfer, New York Times bestselling author and Golden Globe winning actor
“The perfect read for any dream chaser . . . You’ll realize how unlimited your possibilities are.” — Kristin Chenoweth, Tony and Emmy Award winning actress and singer
“I only wish that The Chance to Fly was written when I was a teenager. Ali Stroker is a powerful role model for all youth and adults alike . . . We are living in changing times where audiences are clamoring for greater diversity. A Tony Award winner whose voice soars, whose energy brings us all to cheer is an example of what is possible.” — Judith Heumann, International Disability Rights Activist, author of Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Me
"A story both fine and also uplifting—in both senses of the word, moral and physical!" — Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked
“Anyone who loves to dream and has a love for theater will greatly appreciate The Chance to Fly. This book reminds everyone that it is a beautiful thing to be different and to be passionate about doing what you love.” — Sophia Gennusa, Tony Honored actress for her title role in Matilda
**STARRED REVIEW** "Bolstered by realistic dialogue and Nat’s engaging internal narrative, this endearing novel will entrance a new generation of theater lovers and charm older ones with its allusions to beloved shows." — Publishers Weekly
"Fun, honest, and uplifting: applause!" — Kirkus Reviews
"Seeing the obstacles Nat faces daily and watching her learn to advocate for herself may inspire readers to do the same. Serious scenes, like Nat’s crush Malik discussing his experience as the only Black student in school, and learning why Nat uses a wheelchair, are poignant, as is Nat’s evolving relationship with her parents... Young disabled performers will be excited to see representation, and all readers will be rooting for Nat." — School Library Journal