A Time to Dance

Padma Venkatraman. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-25710-0
Venkatraman (Island’s End) again follows the maturation of a passionate and serious young woman, this time in a verse novel set in contemporary Chennai, India. After teenage classical dancer Veda loses part of her right leg, her teacher doesn’t believe she can succeed even after Veda is outfitted with a prosthesis. Veda joins a new studio, where her perfectionism and determination clash with her instructors’ philosophy of emotional and religious expression. “You dance like a demon,” her attractive young tutor tells her, envying Veda’s strength while inadvertently highlighting her spiritual shortcomings. Aided by a cast of stock characters—a supportive grandmother, a disapproving but loving mother, and a wise older mentor—Veda sets aside her longing for applause and develops the “three kinds of love.... A healthy love of one’s physical self,/ compassion for others,/ and an experience of God.” Veda’s questions about the nature of God, her growth as an artist while performing a Buddhist tale of grief and acceptance, and her transcendent experiences linked to Shiva, often portrayed as a dancer, lend depth to her spiritual journey. Ages 12–up. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/03/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 336 pages - 978-1-68065-045-7
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-751440-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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