Young Adult Literature

3 Current and Upcoming Diverse YA Releases Inspired by Dance

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As a young ballerina, I’ll never forget how it felt to don the outfit and the shoes and how inspired I felt as I performed. Not only that, but growing up in Puerto Rico, I also was introduced to dance from my own culture, such as salsa and merengue. That music and stepping to the beat of it became a fun pastime in high school dances and weddings galore.

I adore books about different types of dance and performance, plus the relationships and the passion that comes with it. With that in mind, I wanted to share three young adult dance-inspired novels that have either been recently released, or are about to be released, that you will truly enjoy.

So step to the beat and take a moment to dig into these books. You might just be inspired to dance in your own bedroom after these fun reads.

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

I had the luck to read a digital galley of this novel, and it’s adorable!

Out June 1, the book follows Evie Thomas, who has given up on love and romance. Then, a strange thing happens where she witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began and how it will end. This makes her realize love just leads to disappointment and a broken heart.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. This boy is everything that Evie is not, for he seeks adventure, has a deep passion for life, and is daring. Then, after admitting that his way in life is to say yes to everything and go with the flow, he decides to enter a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met…Evie herself.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind, especially after her visions of love ending. But, will she be able to resist him?

This cute novel is a perfect contemporary full of romance and magical sparks that will have you feeling happy as you read it.

K-Pop Confidential by Stephan Lee

Who doesn’t love the sassy world of K-pop, filled with edgy dance moves and synchronized flawless singing? If this world is one you adore, then this book released in 2020 is for you.

Candace Park knows a lot about playing a role. Most of her life, she’s been playing the role of the quiet and perfect Korean girl, taking strictly all AP classes and playing a classical instrument. Yet she hides some dreams, like her obsession with SLK, K-pop’s top boyband, and even some wishes of being a star someday. She can sing and perform, yet she has no idea how she can become one of those K-pop superstars.

Secretly, Candace enters a global audition held by SLK’s music label, and snags a spot in their trainee program. It takes her strict parents some convincing to let her follow this dream, but then she realizes what she signed up for. Under the strict supervision of her instructors at the label’s headquarters in Seoul, Candace must perfect her dance and performance skills, learn to speak Korean fluently, and navigate the complex personalities of her fellow trainees, all while following the strict rules of the industry, which includes the number one rule of “no dating.” This starts to become impossible once she meets a dreamy boy trainee, which could lead to scandal in the K-pop world as she is slated to debut as part of a group.

If she doesn’t have what it takes, after her family sacrificed everything, what comes next? And will she give up on love? This book explores what happens when one follows ones dreams and what could come next when you truly get to know yourself.

This Train is Being Held by Ismée Williams

In this super cute book released in 2020, a dancer and a baseball player find themselves battling fate and their own beliefs.

Alex is a great baseball player. His father is pushing him to go pro, but Alex maybe wants to be a poet, something that papi seems to not understand.

Isa is a dancer who dreams of going pro, if only her Havana-born mom weren’t completely against it. Her mom is also completely against her daughter falling in love with a Latino. Yet, behind the dancing which leads to her escape at times, Isa’s privileged private-school life is currently falling apart. Her dad lost his job and her older brother is struggling with mental illness. These are things she strictly keeps to herself.

Then fate, and the New York City subway, suddenly bring Alex and Isa together. What will come of their meeting? Is it meant to be? Could they inspire each other in a time when they need it the most?

This is a lovely read full of enchanting and realistic moments that I urge you to pick up as soon as possible.

What other books about dance have you enjoyed? Find even more with these posts: