Veda is an outstanding student in the art of traditional Indian dance. Although her mother isn't excited about it, Veda attends competitions and is highly regarded by her demanding instructor. When an accident leaves Veda with an amputated leg, she decides to re-build her life, and she has to make choices about which relationships to prioritize, and where dance will fit into her world.
This is an inviting story, and although there are some serious issues (death of a family member, serious injury), those parts are not gratuitously presented. This is not just a story about resilience, either; the author does an excellent job showing all the parts of Veda's life: her communication with her family, her competitiveness with friends, her interest in young men, and her own future and ambitions. I have not yet travelled to India, but I loved the way the setting breathed in and out of this story without needing a megaphone to draw attention to itself; I had the sense of Veda's normal, which is different from mine, and while I appreciated what I learned about India, I was primarily connected to the character's journey. The story is also told in free verse, so it could be used as an excellent model for writing with students who don't consider line breaks unless they are rhyming.
After all these years of ignoring me
she seems to want to start a conversation
though she doesn't know how."
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
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