Books · Contemporary

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

timetodanceVeda wants to be a bharatanatyam dancer, although her parents disapprove, and her mother was pressuring her to study to be an engineer. Right after winning her first competition, she got into an accident that leaves her an amputee. Her dance teacher told her that she would be better off looking for a new path in life, but she wouldn’t give up, deciding instead to enter a different school, and taking beginner’s lessons as she got used to her disability.

Before I go on, two things to know –
1. I dislike verse novels.
2. This is a verse novel.

I wanted to read it anyway because it’s rare for me to encounter a book like this, that just screams “you’re going to love me!” at first sight. Besides the poetry thing, I don’t really dislike anything about this book, so I’m just going to proceed with the things I loved: Veda’s relationship with her grandmother, Veda’s relationship with her mother, Veda. Veda’s slightly icky-but-understandable crush on her doctor giving way to her crush on Govinda, which I really liked because while there are so many love triangles in YA, I have not read enough books where this sort of thing (liking more than one person, and neither of them needing to be, I dunno, their effing SOULMATE or anything like that) happens. Maybe I just haven’t read enough books, yet. Maybe. But I like this, here. The way Veda is depicted as a disabled character – like she’s a normal person who isn’t at all defined by her disability, and even though it’s a story about her overcoming the odds, she never even once appear as sort of Mary Sue, attaining the unattainable and smiling through it all. It’s not easy, and she isn’t always perfect, and she knows it. I like her spiritual growth, and the explanations about the bharatanatyam dance form and how it relates to their religion. I like Veda’s growth as a dancer.

I’m still not too sure if free-verse poetry is the best way to tell this story, but whatever your feelings on verse novels are, I think this book is still worth picking up. Because –

3. I loved this book anyway.

read as part of the A More Diverse Universe 2014 challenge. Click on the banner to see other bloggers’ reviews!

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