Liana's Dance

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Member Reviews

Liana Bedford is half Australian and half Pakistani, and has spent most of her life in an international boarding school in the north of Pakistan while her parents work in the rural villages. She speaks the language and is comfortable in her surroundings ...

Until the bomb.

Mikal Kimberley has never left Australia before. Now he's got a job as a music teacher in an international school in Pakistan, near the Himlalayas. He doesn't speak the language or know the culture. But he has an ulterior motive: to find the father and sister who don't even know he exists.

Both are caught up in the worsening political situation as the local population seeks to rid the area of of Amriki—Americans. No matter that Liana, Mikal, and many of the others students and teachers are British or Australian. The attacks get closer and closer to the school, until the decision is made to evacuate the children to the safety of their national embassies.

That's when the trouble starts ...

Nothing goes according to plan, and Liana and Mikal find themselves hiding in plain sight, trying to rescue Liana's missing classmates while knowing the consequences of being caught.

Liana's Dance is a fascinating insight into another culture, and into the lives of missionaries and other international workers in countries hostile to the gospel. It's also an insight into the sacrifice they and their families must make, as they are separated for long periods during the year.

The writing is strong, and I enjoyed the occasional touches of humour, like the reference to the temperature being "a cool thirty degrees centigrade". I think that's about ninety degrees Farenheit. Thirty is definitely a warm summer day here in New Zealand!

I recommend Liana's Dance to anyone who wants to better understand the challenges for expatriate workers and their children, for anyone looking for a strong young adult novel with plenty of adventure, and for anyone who wants to expand their own knowledge and understanding of other cultures.

Thanks to Rhiza Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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I'm always interested in diverse titles, especially contemporaries that deal with modern day issues, and Liana's Dance does that pretty well! 

It deals very gracefully with the very real threat of terrorism, anti-western sentiments in The Middle East, and how teenagers today can survive such high stakes climates. 

It's a fast-paced book, with a storyline that sucks you in from the beginning and then moves quickly. There were a few things I didn't feel were realistic, but overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it!
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Sixteen year old Liana is a student at a boarding school in northern Pakistan when religious extremists attack and capture several students. She manages to escape and then, along with one of her teachers, she executes a dangerous plan to rescue her classmates. 

Liana's Dance gets off to a slow start that may not adequately foreshadow the seriousness of the events which take place later in the book. Liana is suffering from depression and having difficulty dealing with her fears and nightmares about the mounting dangers in their home. The book really begins when the school is attacked and from that point onwards the author engages the reader in an action-filled, no holds-barred journey into a world in which being mistaken for an American or a woman could mean death. The book has many layers and will leave readers with much to think about. 

I don't know enough about Pakistan per se to judge if the setting was realistically presented but the scenes in the village and Market were effectively described and certainly felt as if they could be authentic. The depiction of the life style for women also appeared accurate and the author managed to present a fairly balanced view of the state of affairs and the motives of the locals in the story. 

Despite the fact that characters close to the protagonist suffer and die, the story still wraps up very neatly, a little too neatly, The romantic angst between Liana and her teacher may have been introduced to throw readers off of the scent of his true identity but it was unsettling.
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High-school-aged, half-Pakistani, half-Australian Liana Bedford has fairly severe PTSD. It doesn’t help that she is attending a private school in Pakistan in which terrorist attacks are becoming an everyday norm, with hatred aimed at “Ameriki,” a generic term for basically anyone who looks or seems Western. 

Then the worst happens, an attack on the school. Teachers are killed, and her school friends are taken hostage by terrorists, Liana's worst fears are realized. She either freezes and gives up, or learns to deal with a culture in turmoil, wherein the gender divide is sharply delineated, and women are often targets unless kept within extremely circumscribed situations.

The story was very vivid, trading between first person and third person when Liana and her surviving schoolmates were separated. The tension was so high I had to put the book down a couple times and read other things.

Things I enjoyed: the vivid descriptions, the villagers Liana met, particularly the women. The touch of the mystic in the old grandmother’s visions, which drew on local myth, and I liked how Liana faced her fears one by one, and began to take some agency a bit at a time as she had to travel across country in disguise, dance being a recurring dream.

One aspect that might be problematical for some readers was a brief love interest that was inappropriate for two reasons. Liana did no more than feel, but it felt off  until it was resolved, and a more appropriate friendship saved when communication happened.

Altogether an exciting teen read.
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I think that this was a good story in that it was an original story. It started slow, so I was pleasantly surprised with how the story took a twist, and that drew me in later. It was a story about a girl who wanted to save her friends from terrorists. It is also a story about a white Australian teacher who is searching for his little sister. It explored the theme that your family is your fate and how do you know if someone is your family unless someone tells you. If you are someone that likes a story about finding lost family then this book is for you.
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Liana's Dance

by Rosanne Hawke

Rhiza Press



Multicultural Interest , Teens & YA

Pub Date 01 Aug 2017 

I am reviewing a copy of Liana's Dance through Rhiza Press and Netgalley:

Liana Bedford lives in a constant state of fear.  While shopping for a present in the Bazzar for their Mother Liana, her sister and their escort are knocked to the ground.  Soon Liana finds herself in a constant state of fear.  She has no appetite, and finds comfort only in dance.  Liana suffered from PTSD.

Liana Bedford is a Pakistani-Australian and could very well be the next target   When her school friends disappear one night Liana's world is changed

With her new teacher Mr. Kimberly Liana must go through rural Pakistan to find her friends and bring them home, and she must dance to save her life.

I found Liana's character to be well developed, and the emotions in this story to be raw and real.

Liana's Dance receives five out of five stars.

Happy Reading.
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A brave story which had great potential, but it came across as written in a rush and the characters are not sufficiently developed to relate to.

In my opinion the story dips very close to crossing the line towards disrespect to Pakistan culture when there is comparisons made and I would have liked to see  a stronger message of tolerance for cultural differences of others.

I didn't like the awkward romantic feelings Liana had for her teacher/brother and felt this unnecessarily distracted from the story. It was also strange how quickly she got over her feelings and kissed her friend/potential boyfriend.
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I'm glad I read this book and the description did a great job of pulling me in. However, this book took me longer than usual to read. I had to put it down a few times and come back to it. I liked seeing the story from Liana's perspective. Liana is a 16 year old Pakistan Australian who is going to an international school. She feels very vulnerable and has to come to terms with what she is feeling as political tension mounts in the area. Her school is attacked which propels the story through to the main plot. I enjoyed seeing how Liana progressed through the story but at times the story fell flat for me. Mainly in regards to her and the teacher who have to work together. Nothing else said here for spoiler. I would say give it a try I'm not disappointed in it but definitely not something that made me not want to put it down.
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For Liana, a sixteen-year-old Pakistani Australian attending international school, the political tensions throughout Pakistan have left her feeling like a target. After Liana’s friends are taken hostage by terrorists, she journeys with her teacher searching for her missing friends and a way to overcome her fears. The cultural dynamic is fascinating, but the dual role of potential love interest/brother played by Liana’s teacher feels out of place with the rest of the narrative. Otherwise, the coming of age story was timely and interesting.  


Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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I had a hard time getting into this book.  It was a bit too slow and juvenile for my tastes.  I do think middle school girls will enjoy it.  Since I did not finish the book, I do not intend to publish a review.
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i really don't know what to think of this one. it wasn't what i expected. at all. it had good potential, it really did. but that's it. other than that, i enjoyed nothing in this novel. from all the sexist things that no girl/woman minded (i mean, aren't you mad that only "men" are allowed to go to tea shops? no one in the book made a comment about that), to white people being hated and killed in pakistan (for "looking like americans"), i really don't know if this was true during the war, but it doesn't exclude the fact that it was disturbing to see racism "reversed" like that.

and while the book was set in a muslim country, 90% of the characters were NOT muslim. i mean...what's the point? i don't understand.

so the fact that this book is written by a white author, just confirms that THERE ISN'T ENOUGH RESEARCH. the setting is just there to tick the diversity box. i dived into this book expecting a story about islam, and was madly disappointed. instead i found myself with something completely different (and in a wrong way).
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I love the cover, it guide me through the book and I assumed Liana looks as her.

This books was a culture journey into Aussie-Pakistani girls life. As a mixed race and attending international school she has to be aware of the danger that may appear any other day. Her classmates are students from around the world, but to locals they all seem as 'Americani', which is very negative and draws great danger that they will be targeted next. 

Liana faces attack in town which leaves a scar on her well-being, mental state, she doesn't know how to explain how she feels, plus she is having these panic attack nightmares that seems so real..
She is a regular teenager with friends and have a secret crush, she knows the culture differences that in Australia would be normal, but in Pakistan - no way! She loves dancing and is happy their new teacher, also Aussie suggests to have a new project that will involve dancing..

Then the attack takes place and all the students are evacuated and this is where the plan goes off. This is where Liana's shows courage to fight for those she loves and surprisingly it brings more joy at this situation than one may assume.

This was interesting, at time predictable, at times not at all, read. Still I found it missed something to fully get my emotions involved.
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The story was interesting, if a little slow to start, but the writing didn't feel polished enough and I found the dynamic between Liana and Mikal, her teacher (also brother!) to be really off-putting.
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When I picked up this book about a terrorist attack at an international school in the mountains of Pakistan that leads to the abduction of a dozen kids from various western countries I didn't expect to find a subtly, but nethertheless strongly christian book. 
Yes, the point of view is clearly western, but with deep respect for Pakistani culture.
Liana's confused feelings about love are a nice aspect of this suspenseful story.
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Liana is a Pakistani-Australian teenager who attends Pines International school in the remote mountains of Pakistan. It is just after the killing of Osama bin Laden and there has been a sharp increase in terrorist activity throughout the country... Especially against Americans (any white person, really). One day while she is with friends in the bazaar, Liana is witness to a suicide bomber. Having witnessed such a terrible ac that has become so common place to the region, Liana must learn to live with her PTSD and fears.

Enter Mikal Kimberly, the new music teacher. Mr. Kimberley is a fellow Australian: charming and blonde, and the heart throb of almost every female student in the school. Mr. Kimberley has his own complicated past and has come to Pakistan to seek some closure.  It is in music class that the two characters meet and bond over their shared passion for dance.

After an extremist attack on the school, the faculty decide to evacuate the student body and send the children to their homes. It is on the road between the school and the airport that disaster strikes, and it is up to Mr. Kimberley and Liana to save the students who have been taken hostage. Liana must dance, because her life depends on it.

Liana's Dance by Rosanne Hawke is a peek into a culture that is absolutely foreign to the Western mind. The YA novel is a compulsive read for those afflicted by wanderlust, or those looking to open up their cultural awareness. A blend of social issues and teenage growing pains that are universal with a sprinkling of folk tradition, the book will suck you  in and leave you asking for more.

My husband Michael is a Marine Corps veteran who has been deployed to Afghanistan twice so I am familiar with the gender roles and expectations of conservative Middle Eastern culture, but never had I imagined how constricting and all encompassing it really was compared to American culture. Hawke does a phenomenal job of showing readers the realities of women's lives in this region, while still remaining respectful of the people. There is never the feeling that gender oppression has the support of the entire country, but rather it is a more nuanced and personal issue. Avoiding stereotype is a hard line to toe in this novel, but Hawke manages it gracefully.

If you are looking for something fresh and challenging, Liana's Dance will sweep you off your feet.
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