Dancing Without Music

Young Adult - Coming of Age
213 Pages
Reviewed on 03/07/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Dancing Without Music is a young adult coming-of-age story by Angela Grey and Paige Peterson. The book follows the lives of two seventeen-year-old teens, Mia Callan and Milo Chatham. Despite their seemingly humdrum lives, Mia has an eating disorder that prohibits her from living a normal life, while Milo suffers from epileptic seizures, triggering his acute depression and suicidal tendencies. The two teens find kindred souls in each other and soon form a burgeoning relationship based on mutual trust and respect. But their disorders slowly begin to drive a wedge in their relationship, compounded by an incident with Mia at a high school party. Will her friends and family's support be enough for Mia to overcome her terrible trauma? Will Milo and Mia find a way through the darkness?

High school life can be hard enough without the additional baggage of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Angela Grey and Paige Peterson delve into some of these topics in this poignant coming-of-age tale about two teenagers trying to navigate love, friendships, and school life in the age of social media and a rapidly changing society. Dancing Without Music is an unflinching look at how vulnerable teenagers become victims to nefarious predators looking for ways to take advantage of their age and naivety. The authors don't shy away from touching upon some increasingly relevant social and mental health issues that can have a lasting effect on youths in their formative years. An engrossing coming-of-age drama that I will recommend to everyone.

Nino Lobiladze

Mia Callan is a seventeen-year-old girl from a suburb of Minneapolis. Mia's parents homeschool her, and she has a job as an ethical hacker and many clients. But something is wrong with Mia's life. She has an eating disorder, which her mom, Sara, tries to ignore. Mia loves running to leave her pain behind, at least for a while. Milo Chatham is also seventeen; he has epilepsy that ruins his life with horrible seizures and affects his family. Milo is severely depressed and even suicidal. He meets Mia at her home when he comes for a piano lesson with her dad, Seth. Milo dreams of a girlfriend so he can be like a normal guy and finds a loved one in Mia. But clouds grow dark over their heads, and words about a psych ward sound more often from their parents. Also, a girl named Kira persistently asks Mia to attend a party while her parents are away. Mia learns the hard way that no one can be fully trusted, even in her safe neighborhood. Dancing Without Music by Angela Grey and Paige Peterson is for mature readers fighting mental disorders or wanting to support those around them with similar conditions.

Dancing Without Music is sometimes a hard but necessary and educational read. Angela Grey and Paige Peterson give many practical recommendations throughout the book about the importance of therapies and the right medications, warning that parents or close friends of troubled teens should not ignore their mental disorders. Grey and Peterson show us how disastrous depression can be even for such a talented and deeply feeling person as Milo, as he suffers from horrible guilt toward his family, especially his younger brother, Beckett. Attentiveness, love, and forgiveness are a must when you want to help a struggling loved one, say Grey and Peterson. Another significant message it sends is that parents should always remember that children are indicators of the problems in the family. That's why signals like eating disorders or excess physical activity should not be overlooked. It also has aspects of a crime drama, providing us with breathtaking twists and turns in the plot. It inspires us never to succumb to blackmail and to stand our ground even in the case of sexual assault. We are reminded that there are always those ready to give us a helping hand despite the most unfortunate circumstances. I recommend it to fans of the family or crime drama genres.

Rabia Tanveer

Dancing Without Music by Angela Grey and Paige Peterson is a coming-of-age story of two teenagers as they learn to live with their mental health issues. Milo Chatham and Mia Callan are both seventeen years old and have battles to fight every single day. On the surface, they live very normal lives, but the reality is different. Milo suffers from seizures and this has affected his mental health. He struggles with depression and has frequently fended off suicidal thoughts. Mia, on the other hand, has an eating disorder that affects her self-confidence. Both of them find a confidant in the other, and they begin to trust and depend on each other. Things change drastically when feelings take hold of their hearts, and high school drama tries to get in between them. They do love each other, but are they mentally strong enough to support each other?

Angela Grey and Paige Peterson write the perfect narrative that encapsulates high school and the pressure teenagers have on top of everything else happening in their lives. Mental health is a sensitive topic, but it has become somewhat of a stigma in society. Teenagers go through different stages of depression and anxiety while they cope with the stress of getting through high school. Mia and Milo are the perfect representatives of what truly happens to people already suffering from some form of mental illness when they are put into stressful situations. The narrative is as much educational as it is eye-opening. Their development arc is satisfying. The two of them are the perfect reliable narrators to give an informative view into the mind of someone going through these situations. I highly recommend it!