Dancing is a form of self-expression. There are several kinds of dances out there, across many different cultures and styles. The way to express oneself is endless. To commemorate National Dance Day, here are nine YA books about dancers and their journeys.
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance by Nisha Sharma
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance features food, dance, and drama to keep you on edge. Radha dreams of becoming the best Kathak dancer. However, a family betrayal forces her to leave Chicago. With her stage mom now in New Jersey, she goes to Princeton Academy of the Arts to start fresh.
Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team. He’s an overachiever and has no future planned since medical school is a distant dream. But, meeting Radha changes him in ways he never thought possible.
Find out how Radha and Jai help each other face their families and their fears.
A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
A Time to Dance is a story about a young girl who wants to pursue her passion for dance. This lyrically versed novel brings out the beauty of India, featuring the power of ancient Bharatanatyam dance, a powerful art. This novel features a girl’s resilience and her journey into this dancing world.
Attitude by Robin Stevenson
Cassie is trying to find her footing in a summer dance program. When she got the opportunity to dance in Vancouver, she was excited. Cassie can now elevate her dancing skills. But fitting in with stuck-up dancers isn’t fun. She needs to find her passion and align herself this summer. Australia may be her home, but dance is in her heart. Will she conquer the cliques, and dance as well?
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Swing Time features two brown girls who enjoy tap dance. Tracey’s talent is complimented by her friend’s ideas about rhythm and black music. Together, they discuss their beliefs of what freedom and dance mean. The novel follows their complex friendship and its abrupt end in their twenties. Yet it doesn’t stray far away. Swing Time is a dazzling novel about friendship, roots, and stubbornness through music.
I Wanna be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
This is a contemporary novel on a young girl’s love for ballet. Chloe Pierce is trying to reach her goal and balance her life and heart. Chloe’s plan is to take a road trip and audition for a dance conservatory. But her plan slightly changes when her annoying neighbor Eli wants to join the ride.
Welcome to the Ballroom by Tomo Tekeuchi
This is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tekeuchi. The manga series follows a young man named Tatara Fujita. A chance encounter has brought him into the world of competitive dance. In addition to reading this series, there is also an anime adaptation called Ballroom e Youkoso.
Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Sophie Orenstein is an aspiring choreographer who would do anything for her friend Peter Rosenthal-Porter. Peter is a pianist on the kidney transplant list. When Sophie discovers she’s a match, she hopes that he will love her the way she loves him. However, Peter’s feelings are for Chase, a guitarist in a band who needs a keyboard player. Although Peter has loved Sophie at one point, he now feels indebted to her. But Sophie has other things to worry about: dance, new friends, and distant relatives. She longs for Peter who is now distant. But one night twists their relationship and has them questioning their friendship and feelings entirely.
Blue Tights by Rita Williams-Garcia
Fifteen year old Joyce Collins wants to dance ballet just like her mom. But she lacks talent. But when she meets a handsome Muslim drummer, she begins to discover a new form of dance. Joyce explores her African roots as she explores African dance.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Evie has the power to see people’s fates of love. She is overcome with a vision of a couple, starting from their kiss to heartbreak. In the midst of understanding her vision, she joins La Brea Dance Studio. Evie learns all kinds of dance with a boy named X. X is brave, passionate and adventurous– everything Evie isn’t. He signs them up for a ballroom dance competition. Why would he be impulsive with a girl he just met? But when she falls for him, she questions her idea of love disasters; is it worth the risk?
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