A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman | Book ReviewA Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
Published by Penguin on 2014-05-01
Genres: Asia, Dance, Emotions & Feelings, People & Places, Performing Arts, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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Padma Venkatraman’s inspiring story of a young girl’s struggle to regain her passion and find a new peace is told lyrically through verse that captures the beauty and mystery of India and the ancient bharatanatyam dance form. This is a stunning novel about spiritual awakening, the power of art, and above all, the courage and resilience of the human spirit. Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling. But Veda refuses to let her disability rob her of her dreams, and she starts all over again, taking beginner classes with the youngest dancers. Then Veda meets Govinda, a young man who approaches dance as a spiritual pursuit. As their relationship deepens, Veda reconnects with the world around her, and begins to discover who she is and what dance truly means to her.

I just read the most quiet, sweet novel, my friends. A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman is a young adult verse book that doesn’t loudly declare itself, but kind of whispers. As weird as that sounds, it makes sense when you read it. Venkatramana’s book explores dance, growing up, and India. It’s a book that does not feel over the top at all, but rather subdued in a calming kind of way. I know I am being super cryptic, but A Time To Dance was really a peaceful kind of read for me. Don’t mistake that for being boring, because it’s not. There’s actually a rather interesting plot in Venkatraman’s A Time To Dance.

A Time To Dance is about main character Veda who is a bharatanatyam dancer. Basically, this means that she does a style of dance that is very spiritual in nature, that honors Shiva. Dance is pretty much the only thing Veda is good at and the only thing she really, really is passionate about. Her mom, however, doesn’t quite understand Veda’s love of dance and would rather she focus on school. Luckily, her dad and her grandma, Pati are totally on board with dance. Anyways, after winning a competition, the unthinkable happens for Veda. She is in a car accident and has to have part of her leg amputated. Veda is bereft because she thinks she can’t dance anymore. What A Time To Dance explores is how Veda regains her hope and her passion for dance, and proves to the world that she can indeed still dance.

Veda is such a persistent, admirable character. Don’t get me twisted and think that she’s perfect or anything, she is not. In fact, like any normal person, she is so upset and depressed and traumatized by her accident. It takes awhile for her to get through what has happened to her. It’s not like she instantly leaves the hospital room with her new limb and feels beautiful again. No way, that confidence develops over time. If you’re a stickler for character development, I think you’re going to be really into this book. Also? Veda is very family oriented and she has the coolest best friend, Chandra. Really, Veda rocks and I think you’ll like her when you meet her.

One thing that I did not expect at all from A Time To Dance by Padma Venkatraman is the romance. That’s right there is ROMANCE in this book. Now, it’s not really the swoonworthy let’s doodle hearts in our blog type, but it is real and it’s sweet and awkward. I mean, okay first off Veda gets a crush on her doctor, lol, but he makes her feel beautiful and better about her situation, so as an adult reader, I couldn’t really blame her for that awkward-ness. THEN there is an even better prospect and you better believe I was rooting for that one that whole time.

Why Should You Read This Book?

  1. Remember that time we were all tweeting #WeNeedDiverseBooks? HERE IS A DIVERSE BOOK. Purchase it, read it, review it and hey we might just get more diverse books if this one does well in the market.
  2. The setting is so fascinating, I have never been to India or anything, but I want to visit after reading this book.
  3. Continuing with the diverse books thing, not only is this a multicultural book where Veda is Indian, but she’s also differently abled and like, she doesn’t let it define her or get in the way of her dreams of dancing. That’s awesome. Also that’s like two checkmarks for diversity.
  4. It’s a really fast, compelling read. Listen. verse books are quick to get through and Venkatraman wastes no time getting down to business in A Time To Dance.
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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. The second sentence of your review totally sold me. Just added it to my collection. So well said. While I’m not typically someone who reads books told in verse, you’ve made this one sound amazing.

    I do love stories where someone triumphs over obstacles and one that also has a bit of a romance – sweet!

  2. It is nice to hear about a book where the main character is differently abled. That’s definitely rare for me.

  3. Thank you for reviewing this! I think I will add it to my TBR list! Looks like a subtly refreshing read!

  4. That cover is something I’d expect to see on my mother in law’s bookshelf and would never pick up on my own.

    Thanks to you, I will be adding this to my TBR because quiet books are MY THING and I trust all of your recommendations until the end of time.

  5. I am completely sold on the idea of this book! It sounds very different, but in the best way. I look forward to reading about Veda, and her story, and seeing how she regains her hope and passion about dance!