Thursday, January 24, 2013

Review: Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati

Dancing in the Dark
Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati
He tossed her into the air as if she were weightless, and just for a moment she seemed suspended there, defying gravity. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I knew what she was feeling. It was in every movement of every limb.
Here was a power I had never seen before, a kind of haunting loveliness I had never imagined. Seeing it made me long for something, I didn't know what . . .
Ditty was born to dance, but she was also born Jewish. When her strictly religious parents won't let her take ballet lessons, Ditty starts to dance in secret. But for how long can she keep her two worlds apart? And at what cost?
A dramatic and moving story about a girl who follows her dream, and finds herself questioning everything she believes in.

Publishes in US: Feb 8th 2013
Genre: contemporary
Source: Flux via Netgalley

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Blkosiner's Book Blog review
      Ditty has a love, a forbidden one, but for once it is not boys. It is ballet. Her parents don't approve, so she dances in secret, and falls more and more in love and becomes more talented. How deep can she get while keeping her secrets and the essence of who she is?
     Ditty was quite a character. I could feel her love for dancing across the page as well as the pain and conflict of slowly letting go of her beliefs and others that she holds dear in order to pursue what she loves and what she is good at.
     The sense of family in this one is unique. I appreciate how some of the parents are involved and some are not, and the degrees in between. We can see the effects of when the parents try to suppress their kids from doing what they wanted and loved and then ones who knew when to let go and be more hands off. I also appreciated the teachers' involvement in this story, when one in particular stepped up when she strictly did not have to.
     I also appreciated the scope of friendship that I saw in this book. Ditty's closest friend Sarah is amazing, and how she covered for her friend and supported her even if she didn't agree really spoke to me. Then there is Emma from the dance company, how Robyn wrote her in, accepting Ditty but still asking questions like any teenager would. My favorite though, is probably Ditty's cousin Linda. I loved reading her character development and transformation, as well as her loyalty to Ditty throughout her changes.
     At first all of the unfamiliar Jewish terms got to me, and I spent a lot of time flipping between bookmarks on my kindle, but eventually the most popular words worked their way into my head and I was able to read more seamlessly. There was time of course given to explaining and demonstrating what Ditty and her family practiced, and it was needed because I for one, had no idea the scope of haredi (the ultra conservative Jewish beliefs and practices of her family.) It really molded the family and what they said, did and interacted with. Every facet of their lives really. I never felt like I was being preached at though, it just seemed matter of fact and way of life for the characters, and it was sad and realistic at the same time the conversations Ditty had with Linda about questioning if this is the only way to live and watching Ditty give up pieces of herself and her religion in order to dance. But, ultimately she was learning what she believed and following her heart.
    Bottom line: Powerful transformation of a young girl into a beautiful dancer and what she had to give up to get there.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you think you could abandon your religion for something you loved?

26 comments:

  1. I could not abandon my religion as it is the something I love but it was my decision, not my parents trying to keep me under control-I think that makes a BIG difference.

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  2. This sounds good and I like that it was rich in Jewish history, I love learning about different cultures.

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  3. I didn't know Jews weren't allowed to dance ballet... that's why I sometimes have issues with religion. They focus on the silliest things. Great review!

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  4. This sounds a little different to the norm, which is good. I do have a strange relationship with religion and fiction though, which is why I tend to avoid themes like this most of the time. Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Great review. :)

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    1. It can be pushy or whatever, and I avoid if it gets too preachy or out there

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  5. I didn't know dance could be a forbidden act in some religions - thanks for sharing this unique story with us, Brandi! I guess I don't have an answer for your question - I'd believe part of the role of a religion is to help us blossom into a better person through love and not coercion, no?

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    1. It would seem that way. But some make religion more about rules than relationship and being better

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  6. I'm not a religious person so I can't answer your question...it's a touchy subject, either way.
    I love good friend characters, I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone recently and thought Zuzana was an awesome friend. Nice to hear this novel has a few of those. I feel like I learn more about the MC from the people around them.

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    1. THat is true, never thought of it that way

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  7. This sounds different and like quite an interesting story. I wouldn't have any idea of Jewish customs either but it annoys me when I have to keep flipping back when reading, especially on kindle. To answer your question, I would class myself as a non-believer, so personally, I would give up nothing for religion, and usually steer well clear of books with religious undertones, so I don't think this would be one for me. I'm glad that you enjoyed it though. Great review Brandi :)

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  8. This sounds interesting and I love that it has a different take. You don't get too many Jewish books especially in YA either. You also had me at dancing. Oh yea... this goes on the list.

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    1. I am so happy that more dancing books are out there, would love to see gymnasts too

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  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this title. It sounds like a really insightful read. I don't come from a strict religious background, but I think I would find a way to balance my passions with my upbrining. But overall, I'd do whatever would make me the happiest.

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  10. I've never heard of this book - and I usually steer clear of the ones with religious themes. But, I am glad that you enjoyed it! :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  11. For some reason, I have been dying to read a dancing book. This one sounds awesome. The cover drew me right away. The religious themes scare me a bit though.

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  12. When I saw this on Netgalley I was so skeptical to get it. I wish I would've because It sounds like a pretty good read. I loved the fact there was strong friendships and growth of characters. It makes me want to read it :) Awesome review!

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  13. I grew up w/a very strict Christian church. No dancing. My parents weren't strict though, & I got to go to dances, but my friends didn't. So I can understand the the story. I'm happy that Dancing in the Dark was a thoughtful story w/characters that you could enjoy.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Oh it must be nice I don't think I ever read a book about dance.

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  15. After I finished this I was a little shocked, I never really knew that the Jewish religion was as strict as they were. It was interesting.Great review.


    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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    1. I think it depends on how strict your parents and church it. Prb like the christian religion where there are different denominations if you will

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  16. I have the eARC of this, still needing to be read. :/ After reading you're wonderful review, the book is moving to the top of my TBR pile. I don't think I could give up my faith for something I loved, but I'm interested to know just how Ditty did and if a person really could. Thanks for sharing and giving me the will to read it.

    Raina @ The LUV'NV

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  17. I felt so sorry for Ditty in this book. It was so unfair that she wasn't allowed to do what she wanted. I would totally give up religion for something that ment a lot to me. I'm pretty sure that God is supposed to forgive our sins ;)

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