Pick a Dance Movie, Get a Book Rec

Pick a Dance Movie, Get a Book Rec

Once upon a time, little Shanese used to be a dancer. Tap and ballet were my things, and as I got older I did more modern hip-hop dances. I used to have so much fun! One of the things I loved (and still love) is watching dance movies. Now what is considered a dance movie varies depending on who you talk to. For me, it can only count a dance movie if dance is a main character, it can’t just be there. Dance has to feel alive and as much a part of the story as the lead actor and actress. Which dance is movie is your favorite? Pick a movie and we’ll give you a book.

The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg—and her dreams of a professional ballet career along with it.

After a summer healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and binging ballet videos on YouTube), she is forced to trade her pre-professional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the school musical. However, rehearsals offer more than she expected—namely Jude, her annoyingly attractive cast mate she just might be falling for.

But to move forward, Alina must make peace with her past and face the racism she had grown to accept in the dance industry. She wonders what it means to yearn for ballet—something so beautiful, yet so broken. And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?

Touching, romantic, and peppered with humor, this debut novel explores the tenuousness of perfectionism, the possibilities of change, and the importance of raising your voice.

Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.

With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics—and her mind—to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.

For years, she was wielded as weapon. Now it’s her time to fight back.

War and Speech by Don Zolidis

Not everyone can be a winner…

Sydney Williams knows this better than anyone. After her white-collar- criminal dad is sent to prison, Sydney fails almost all of her classes and moves into a dingy apartment with her mom, who can barely support them with her minimum-wage job at the mall.

A new school promises a fresh start. Except Eaganville isn’t exactly like other high schools. It’s ruled with an iron fist by a speech team that embodies the most extreme winner-takes-all philosophy.

Sydney is befriended by a group of fellow misfits, each of whom has been personally victimized by the speech team. It turns out Sydney is the perfect plant to take down the speech team from within.

With the help of her co-conspirators, Sydney throws herself into making Nationals in speech, where she will be poised to topple the corrupt regime. But what happens when Sydney realizes she actually has a shot at . . . winning? Sydney lost everything because of her dad’s obsession with being on top. Winning at speech might just be her ticket out of a life of loserdom. Can she really walk away from that?

Camp by L. C. Rosen

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim—who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.

This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.

But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

Fix by J. Albert Mann

Eve and Lidia have been friends since Kindergarten. Eve was born with severe scoliosis. Lidia was born with one hand. Their structural deviations are not what brought them together, but they are what rips them apart.

Trapped and alone inside of an un-working body following surgery and filled with obvious regret, Eve is forced into her mind, an unhappy place since her split with Lidia. Under an increasing dependence on opiates and struggling to tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined, Eve strikes up a relationship—and a pact—with the devil. She wishes for everything to go back to the way it was, to have Lidia in her life again. But as she starts to unravel the past, she comes to realize that her memory is far from reliable and must come to grips with what she thinks she knows.

Told in non-linear format, Eve relives what she believes happened, while piecing together what actually was. Fix explores dependency, self-acceptance, jealousy, physical pain, regret, addiction, and the greatest of human trials, grief.

Witches of Ash & Ruin by E. Latimer

Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.

And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.

When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis

Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.

And the boy she fell in love with last summer.

When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.

Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it, as she prepares for a future studying galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school.

Can she forgive and open her heart to him again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?

Fence: Disarmed by Sarah Rees Brennan, Illustrated by Johanna the Mad

The boys of Kings Row are off to a training camp in Europe! Surrounded impressive scenery and even more impressive European fencing teams, underdog Nicholas can’t help but feel out of place. With the help of a local legend, though, he and the rest of the team finds it within themselves to face superior fencers, ex-boyfriends, expulsion, and even Nicholas’s golden-boy, secret half-brother, the infamous Jesse Coste. Will Aiden and Harvard end up together, though? En garde!

The second installment of this enticing original YA novel series by Sarah Rees Brennan, rich with casual diversity and queer self-discovery, explores never-before-seen drama inspired by C.S. Pacat’s critically acclaimed Fence comic series.

Text and Illustration copyright: © 2021 BOOM! Studios

Fence(TM) and © 2021 C.S. Pacat

Dear Universe by Florence Gonsalves

Dear Universe,

Sorry for interrupting you with my presence, but I’m wondering if you could have my back for once. I recently had a massive chin zit and a period stain you could see from space and my boyfriend kissed someone else and also my dad is dying faster than usual. If you could show up during my last English class so I can graduate and like achieve my potential or something, I’d appreciate it.

It’s senior year, and Chamomile Myles has whiplash from traveling between her two universes: school (the relentless countdown to prom, torturous college applications, and the mindless march toward an uncertain future) and home, where she wrestles a slow, bitter battle with her father’s terminal illness. Enter Brendan, a man-bun- and tutu-wearing hospital volunteer with a penchant for absurdity, who strides boldly between her worlds—and helps her open up a new road between them.

Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman

Finding himself alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan does what any red-blooded seventeen-year-old would do–tries to hook up with someone new. But that lapse in judgement leads him to a room with a dead guy and a mysterious flash drive…two things that spark an epic case of mistaken identity that puts Aidan on the run–from the authorities, his friends, his family, the people who are out to kill him–and especially from his own troubled past.

Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning

When softball star Liv Rodinsky throws one ill-advised punch during the most important game of the year, she loses her scholarship to her fancy private school, her boyfriend, and her teammates all in one fell swoop. With no other options, Liv is forced to transfer to the nearest public school, Northland, where she’ll have to convince their coach she deserves a spot on the softball team, all while facing both her ex and the teammates of the girl she punched… Every. Single. Day.

Enter Grey, the injured star quarterback with perfect hair and an even more perfect plan: if Liv joins the football team as his temporary replacement, he’ll make sure she gets a spot on the softball team in the Spring. But it will take more than the perfect spiral for Liv to find acceptance in Northland’s halls, and behind that charming smile, Grey may not be so perfect after all.

Super Adjacent by Crystal Cestari

Claire has always wanted to work with superheroes, from collecting Warrior Nation cards as a kid to drafting “What to Say to a Hero” speeches in her diary. Now that she’s landed a coveted internship with the Chicago branch of Warrior Nation, Claire is ready to prove she belongs, super or not. But complicating plans is the newest WarNat hero, Girl Power (aka Joy), who happens to be egotistical and self-important . . . and pretty adorable.

Bridgette, meanwhile, wants out of WarNat. After years of dating the famous Vaporizer (aka Matt), she’s sick of playing second, or third, or five-hundredth fiddle to all the people-in-peril in the city of Chicago. Of course, once Bridgette meets Claire-who’s clearly in need of a mentor and wingman-giving up WarNat becomes slightly more complicated. It becomes a lot more complicated when Joy, Matt, and the rest of the heroes go missing, leaving only Claire and Bridgette to save the day.

Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American.

Choose a Dance Movie