Summary

Set in 1940s Chicago, this riveting novel follows a 15-year-old who, in order to support her family, finds herself swept up in the complex world of a taxi dancer--a girl paid ten cents to dance with any man--and sometimes more than that.


With her mother ill, it's up to fifteen-year-old Ruby Jacinski to support her family. But in the 1940s, the only opportunities open to a Polish-American girl from Chicago's poor Yards is a job in one of the meat packing plants. Through a chance meeting with a local tough, Ruby lands a job as a taxi dancer and soon becomes an expert in the art of "fishing": working her patrons for meals, cash, clothes, even jewelry. Drawn ever deeper into the world of dance halls, jazz, and the mob, Ruby gradually realizes that the only one who can save her is herself. A mesmerizing look into a little known world and era.