Blurb (from Goodreads):
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.
My rating: 8 out of 10 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Flux Books and Netgalley.)
17-year-old Yehudit (Ditty) is glad that she is Jewish, and glad that her life has a purpose, but she also knows that her life would be nothing without dance.
One of 7 children, and part of a strict Jewish family, Ditty’s life is strictly structured, and she must abide by the Jewish laws and stipulations. She must always be dressed conservatively, she must always eat kosher food, she must not do anything on Saturdays which are Jewish rest days, and she must not spend time with boys who are not her relatives. The list of rules that Ditty must live with and abide by is endless.
At the age of 12, Ditty asked her parents if she could learn ballet, and they forbade it. Ditty did it anyway but hid it, and as she learned more her love of dance grew. At 17, Ditty is a very talented dancer and wants to go to ballet school and to pursue a career as a dancer, but her parents have plans to have her married and having babies as soon as possible, as every good Jewish girl should. But Ditty isn’t sure that she wants to be Jewish any more.
Can Ditty ever really be the dancer she wants to be? Can she defy her family to follow her dreams? And what else must she sacrifice to get what she wants?
This was a lovely story, which although it was about religion wasn’t preachy. There was time given to talking about the rules, traditions, and laws by which Ditty’s family lived, but whilst Ditty believed everything that her parents had taught her, her love of dance and her not-quite-so-strictly-Jewish cousin Linda allowed her to question the things that she had been taught, and stretch her wings a little.
I loved Ditty, she was such a good person, and I hated that her parents told her that she couldn’t do what she loved because of her religion. I understand that people have religious beliefs that rule certain things out, but it was just so unfair that religion could stop Ditty from dancing. Like her cousin said, how bad is dancing really? In the grander scheme of things dancing is not bad – wars are fought over religion, but not dance.
I loved how Ditty grew during this book and developed her own ideas about things. She was so believing and accepting of everything her parents told her to start with, so much so that going against their teachings made her feel physically sick at times, but as she slowly did more and more things that they would disapprove of, she realised that nothing bad happened when she disobeyed the rules, and actually began to learn through finding her own way.
Overall I found this book so inspiring, and I could almost feel the dance with Ditty. She went through so much, but she learned and gained so much too. A great YA story about religion and following your dreams.
8 out of 10.
Dancing in the Dark will be released on February 8th 2013