A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Read by Anna/Central Teen Room
Veda is a classical dance prodigy in India. Ever since she first saw the statue of Shiva, the four-armed God of dance, as a small child, she’s wanted to do nothing but dance. However, her parents know that dancing won’t bring her a steady career with good money and a stable life. Her mother wishes she would study harder to get into a good college. And yet, Veda still wants nothing more than to dance. Then, the unthinkable happens. She loses half of her right leg in an accident. Now, she can no longer dance. And yet, Veda still wants nothing more than to dance. But even her dance teacher isn’t so sure she can do it anymore. Still, her determination finds her in the capable hands of an American man determined to create a prosthetic foot to help her dance, and a new dance teacher who believes in her, not just her ability to dance.
This was a very inspiring story, told in verse. It was a quick read, one that I found very difficult to put down once I’d gotten started. Veda is a very likeable character, and someone most people can relate to. A Time To Dance offers a glimpse of what it’s like to live in India as a young girl, showing the Indian traditions including those stemming from religion, and talking about the caste system. However, while religion is there, while it inspires Veda, it does not preach to the reader, for which I was grateful. I found this story to be rather peaceful for the most part, and heart wrenching for the rest of the time. The romance is sweet, feels natural, and doesn’t over shadow the rest of the story. But Veda’s story isn’t just about dance and a little romance. It’s also about family and friends, how to hold onto both, and how to let go. A Time To Dance handles serious issues realistically and easily. I loved the way this story was told, I loved the characters, and I also really liked the cover, which first drew my attention to it. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something inspirational, something about loss, life, love, and dance. Or if you’re at a loss as to what you should read next, pick this one up. You’ll be glad you did.