Cover Image: How to Dance

How to Dance

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Member Reviews

This is one of the books that I have been behind on reviewing. My life was so crazy in the peak months (November & December) and the New Year at work that a only had time to read at night before bed. So sadly, I only got to type out the review now after the book was even published.
The first thing that called to me was not the synopsis but the cover. It is adorable and seeing the word dance made me want to see what this book was about. I always love anything with dancing form movies to books. Maybe because I am utterly useless when it comes to dancing. As I once said I don’t much like reading dual POV, I would read it if I have to. Thankfully this book was only dual POV’S
I loved how this book represented a disability. I don’t remember reading a character with a disability as the center of the plot before. It showed us the experience someone goes through with a disability. The plot is so captivating and I enjoyed reading the journey of Nick Freeman. A very determined karaoke singer with CP. I mean just because he has CP does not mean he is an idiot, he was very sharp and is able to connect with anyone.
This was an okay read but for me the lacking romance and Hayley being in a committed relationship with someone else in most of the book meant that I could only give a 3-star review.

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thank you to netgalley for the advanced reading copy. I really enjoyed this and will be getting copies for my shop.

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First, I want to say I did appreciate and was looking forward to a contemporary romance with dual pov written by a man. I also was glad to see representation of a disability that I didn't know much about. I think the author did a decent job in showcasing the frustration at times that the ML was feeling.
However, everything else in this book fell flat to me. Hayley was a struggle for me to understand and relate to. She was so overly consumed with dance that it was literally the only thing we ever learned about her personality. There wasn't much else there to connect with for her. I also didn't feel like she grew or became any more emotionally aware or available by the end of the book. And because of that, I just didn't see what Nick was so attracted to. Even with his pov, we never really get a clear explanation of that. It seemed like he fell for her at first sight just watching her dance. Beyond that, I didn't feel like either character really got into the deep discussions or meat of who they were as people. There was no angst, curiosity, or good communication.
Again, while I appreciated the representation here, I felt like Nick in general was just kind of a jerk who had become so overly concerned with the superficial aspects of dating that he made this sweeping generalization of how all people see him. While not unfair of him, I felt like the backstory we got to help explain his behavior was quite weak. I was glad his friend did call him out on his bad attitude and behavior but wish it had happened much earlier so we could have had some character development.
Ultimately, this was a slow read where I didn't feel like either character was super invested in the outcome, making it hard for me to feel invested too.

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Oh my goodness, did I ever adore this story. In this utterly charming debut, readers go on a swoon-filled journey with two lost souls. In “How to Dance” by Jason B. Dutton, these souls learn neither physical disability nor emotional scars disqualify us from finding beauty, validation, and love amidst the chaos of being human.

Meet Nick Freeman. He has a local bar where he's a karaoke legend. He works hard, hoping his singing talent and winning smile will distract from his cerebral palsy. One night he watches a professional dancer light up the floor.

Meet Hayley Burke. She’s a ball of energy whose first language is dance. When she notices a man’s reaction to her dancing, she urges him to acknowledge his passion and try a few moves himself. When she realizes Nick can only walk with the aid of a metal walker, she’s mortified. As they fumble through misunderstanding into friendship, will they eventually become something more? Nick sure doesn’t think so.

Dutton's witty debut celebrates the beauty found in vulnerability, the moments it creates, and the magic of those shared moments. I loved the themes of resilience, passion, and the transformative power of connection. This is truly a story the book world needed and reminded me that love knows no bounds.

Thank you to NetGalley and Alcove Press for a temporary e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I don't how else to say this, but I absolutely loved this book! Such an emotional and heartwarming story about two people who are lost on their own, but find peace with each other. This is a debut author that I will most definitely be following. Nick has a heart of gold. But when it comes to his disability he works very hard at trying to get people to see past it and really see him, and he doesn't really open himself up to anyone. Hayley is a talented dancer and moves into town with her boyfriend, hoping to make into the local dance company. It doesn't take long for her and Nick to become friends. As their friendship grows deeper and the path for their relationship to grow into something more gets cleared, it was beautiful to see how they each helped the other break down their walls and let each other in and how they helped each other grow.
This story was such a touching story that pulled me in from the very start and kept me engrossed till the end. The characters were well-developed and relatable and I was immediately endeared to them. This was a brilliant debut novel and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley and am voluntarily leaving my review.

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How to Dance is a super sweet clean romance.
-debut
-own voice
-disability rep
-opposites attract
-dual pov

Third person isn't my fave but I did enjoy the story overall.
3.5 stars

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Hey hey! So, listen up, folks! I just finished this awesome book called "Opposites Attract" and let me tell you, it's a real gem! If you're into stories where people from totally different worlds come together, this one's for you! Plus, it's got some cool stuff like disability representation, found family vibes, and lots of singing and dancing action! 🎤💃

First off, let's talk about the dancing! Woohoo! I had a blast reading about all the dance moves and the way the characters just owned the dance floor. It's all about showing that no matter what challenges you face, you can still shine bright like a diamond! 💎 Our main peeps, Nick and Hayley, are just awesome. Nick's got Cerebral Palsy, and the author nailed his character perfectly. It's like, disabilities don't define you, you know?

Now, onto the feels! This book had me going from tears to giggles in no time. It's a rollercoaster of emotions, people! And guess what? We get to see things from both Nick and Hayley's points of view, which adds a whole lot of depth to the story. I felt like I really got to know them, you know?

But hey, let's be real for a sec. The start of the book was a bit slow for me, not gonna lie. But hang in there, because once you hit the second half, it's like fireworks! 🎆 And yeah, some of the side characters made me scratch my head with their decisions, but hey, nobody's perfect, right?

Overall, this book was a total win for me. The characters were so relatable and easy to root for. Plus, it's totally unique and interesting! I hadn't even heard of it before I picked it up, but I'm so glad I did! Big thanks to NetGalley and Alcove Press for hooking me up with a copy in exchange for this honest review. You guys rock! 🤘

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3.75⭐️

What a compelling narrative! A vivid portrayal of daily life with cerebral palsy and navigating the dating scene. Jason has done a fab job with his debut novel!

Nick, a math teacher by day, transforms into a karaoke sensation by night. While he refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy, his apprehension about others' perceptions leads him to believe they are only kind to him because of his disability. Haley, a professional dancer with a degree in early education, finds solace in sharing her passion for dance. Yet, anxiety and emotional turmoil impede her ability to fully embrace her craft.
Their paths collide at a bar, where Haley's dance captivates Nick, but a misunderstanding fuels a rocky start. As their story unfolds, they forge a friendship, leaning on each other to navigate their respective challenges. Together, they discover that navigating life's dance floor doesn't always require two steady feet and sometimes demands a change in partners.

This beautiful story is a beacon of hope, inspiration, and the quest for love and sanctuary amidst life's chaos.

What to expect:
* Disability Rep
* Dual POV
* Opposites Attract
* Slow Burn
* Karaoke Singing Math Teacher MMC
* Professional Dancer FMC
* Learning to Trust

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Thank you to the author, Alcove Press and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This debut romance novel is an unexpected gem. Told in alternating M/F chapters (in the third person), it tells a classic friends to lovers tale, with a twist. Nick, the male lead is smart, witty, a talented singer - and struggles with how others see him as a disabled person. I loved how he was not portrayed as a saint, or an inspiration, but as someone who is fun to be around and who goes the extra mile to make sure everyone around him feels comfortable. Hayley, the female lead is a talented dancer who gets off on the wrong foot when encouraging Nick to try some moves. Turns out, both of them have a skewed view of themselves, and as they get to know one another both learn to trust and open up - a process that is not without challenges. The characters, including the circle of friends, were so well-drawn I wished I could be a part of their circle, After reading the author's note, I understood why Nick's character was so well-done - but a bit less of his struggle to accept help, love, anything would have been more, in my opinion.

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How to Dance by Jason B. Dutton is an interesting & charming opposites attract romance that is sure to tap its way into your heart. How to Dance follows two opposite people on one unforgettable journey into each other’s lives. This was such an intriguing story as they go from strangers to good friends in such an authentic way. Friends to lovers is not one of my personal favorite tropes but I really enjoyed this story. The inclusion & love for both the music/dance world as well as phenomenal disability representation had my heart singing to a happy tune.

How to Dance is great for fans of…
💃 Friends to Lovers
💃 Disability Representation
💃 Music & Dance
💃 Opposites Attract

The author’s voice is very unique & refreshing, an excellent gift to the romance genre. This is also a story with a certain rhythm to it. I could feel a cadence in the way the scences unfolded. The lively & chaotic nature of the theatre & the world of performing arts was shown so beautifully along with the ode to the family that world creates.

There were awkward & interesting moments where the able-bodied characters struggled as they oddly interacted in someway with disability & that was just so beautifully authentic to me. It felt true to life & experience & I appreciated that along with so much of this book.

If you’re looking to waltz your way into your next romance, I recommend How to Dance!

Massive thanks to NetGalley & Alcove Press for the gifted copy, which I voluntarily read & reviewed.

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How to Dance by Jason B. Dutton
Own Voices Disability Representation!
Throughout the story we see a range of responses to Nick's physical disability:
Awkward, don't know how to react
Foot in mouth, but not cruel
Friends and Advocates
Inspiration porn
Dismissive
Cruel

All of these reactions are common and I blame society.
Society that doesn't normalize disability.
Society that thinks there is only one right answer.
Society that doesn't make accommodations.
Society that hides disabled people in special classrooms.

I really enjoyed Nick and Hayley’s story. There are a lot of emotions in this story. Including Nick's own internalized ableism.

This is my 1st book for Read Disabled 2024 and the 1st book for the prompt main character with a physical disability.

I received an advance review copy for free from NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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This was a really enjoyable debut romance novel! Nick is a fun-loving math teacher by day and a karaoke master by night. When he runs into Haley, a dancer who recently moved into town, dancing at his bar with her boyfriend, she tries to share the joy she feels in dancing with him. She encourages him to discover the dancer within him, only to discover he needs a walker to get around. This starts an unlikely friendship filled with misunderstandings, humor, and heartache.

I loved Nick and Haley's relationship, their friendship, and their witty banter. I loved Nick and his friendships with all of his friends, especially his high school best friends. Friends to lovers and found family are some of my favorite tropes and this book had it all. It was a dual-point-of-view story, so there is a lot more emotional depth and understanding about both of the characters.
As someone who loves to dance it was fun to explore her connection and need to dance. Nick had cerebral palsy and I thought the author did an excellent job portraying his angst as well as his ability to connect to others and make them feel good. It was nice to see some mental health and disability rep in this story. Overall, a very enjoyable read with a lot of depth to it. I look forward to more from this writer. Maybe even a sequel to this story perhaps?

Thanks to Netgalley, Alcove Press, and the author of the ARC

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Funny, angsty, and full of passion. I enjoyed reading this and adored the relationships between all of the characters. I found Hayley and her anxieties especially relatable, and the real examination of the work that goes into all of our relationships. It was nice to see both characters mess up and be emotional disasters, and the real work they did with others and each other to fix it.

While this is sort of friends to lovers, its really we were never friends because we wanted to be lovers. They are, however, careful and sweet with one another, and try very hard to build a friendship. They understand and care for each other well without it ever crossing a boundary.

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This is a charming book but kind of a mediocre romance. she's with her boyfriend for like half the book and the beats were just so off. the MMC was the best part of the book, that and his group of friends.

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This story delivers a heartfelt romance that beautifully explores the dynamic between Nick Freeman, a karaoke star navigating life with cerebral palsy, and Hayley Burke, an enthusiastic dancer. Their journey from awkward encounters to a meaningful connection highlights the essence of love transcending physical boundaries. Dutton's authentic depiction of Nick's disability enriches the story, offering a fresh perspective in the romance genre. The story's dual narrative enhances the emotional depth, making the characters' experiences more impactful. While the initial pace may be gradual, the story eventually captivates with its themes of acceptance and self-discovery. Adding to the experience, David Bendena's narration in the audiobook version brings a new dimension to the tale, with his nuanced performance accentuating the emotional depth and bringing the characters' journeys to life.

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This is a stunning debut novel. I didn’t fully know what to expect going in because I obviously had nothing to base it off of. Personally, I think this book was perfect.

Nick and Haley are such fun characters and I loved seeing how their relationship developed throughout the book. They had a fairly awkward first meeting, but I think it had the best payout. They both just wanted to make the other person happy and genuinely get to know them.

Sorry, but Kevin sucked so bad and having to read about him for a decent amount of the book was kind of annoying. It served a purpose though, and I understand why he was there. He was someone who Haley felt like she needed for her dancing. but never fear, Nick was there to show her real love and companionship. Kevin wanted what was bets for him, now what was best for Haley.

I felt like the way Nick and Haley’s friendship progressed was very natural and they just couldn’t help but tell each other everything. They were always on each other’s minds and they just gave each other purpose. Haley was able to show Nick that he can dance in his own way.

Nick was also able to be Haley’s safe space. She felt so trapped in her old dance company that she didn’t know what to do. Nick brought that joy back into her life and reminded her that she can dance again because it is part of who she is. The cute moments when they were just caught up in each other were my favorite.

Now, the book does have a third break up, but it’s my favorite kind of throwback break up. It’s the kind of break up where they’re throwing insults at each other and both of them really hurt but it’s so fun to read. They both then have to have a real moment where they really think about where they are in life and what they want. Essentially they have to come to the conclusion that they love themselves because that was the problem was that neither one of them believes that they deserved love.

Personally, I would love more bonus content where we see them actually get to be together. I wouldn’t be mad about a a marriage proposal bonus chapter.

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“How To Dance” by Jason B Dutton

Originally, I requested this book from NetGalley because of the title, but I honestly got so much more out of it than I expected!

The MC has Cerebral Palsy and and is very obviously written from a place of understanding and real world experience. I have a very good friend with CP, and I was so excited to read this as CP isn’t something often featured in the books I read.

In addition to the AMAZING disability rep, this book offered incredibly insightful commentary for the able-bodied, in regards to how we treat , react, and respond to the disabled and how that can be interpreted.

This book had SO much to say, and while it did get a little wordy at time, I loved that the MCs helped each other navigate life and that they “got” one another and that they never felt truly “seen” until they met the other.

As a dancer, I totally connected with Hayley and her inherent NEED to dance, as well as the feeling of being consumed and burnt out by performing for others instead of dancing for the joy of it and for yourself.

“How to Dance” is a fantastic debut album with excellent rep!

I was given an ARC by NetGalley and Alcove Press. All opinions are my own.

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How to Dance is a book that follows the main character Nick, a teacher who has Cerebral Palsy, and a passionate dancer who just moved to the area with her long term boyfriend, Hayley. Told in dual POV, this book gives the reader a clear idea of both characters emotions and experiences throughout the story.
This is a fun friends to lovers romance with a lot of depth in terms of disability representation. Nick has a chip In his shoulder due to how he has been treated in the past because of his disability, this theme is recurrent throughout the story. Nick is a technology whiz who teaches and loves to sing karaoke at the neighborhood bar, where he meets Hayley.
Although Hayley moves to Nicks town with her long term boyfriend, their relationship goes through adjustments due to new working situations and components in their relationship. During this time, Nick is a great friend to Hayley and supports her ongoing dream of wanting to dance for her career.
I really enjoyed this book and the story it told with a male MMC and a great our-story/disability representation. This book does have a third act breakup which was a little annoying for me... but all worked out in the end.

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I received an advance review copy for free from Netgalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Nick has cerebral palsy and because of that, he has put an emotional barrier between him and others. In comes Hayley, who is a dancer new to town, and sees through this facade of his. They become friends but neither of them can deny their attraction for one another. Here we see Nick overcoming his demons.

"Like, there are good times, right? And there are bad times, and there are times wen the universe comes together. Like everything up until now has just been puzzle pieces creeping closer and closer, and then everything fits."

"It means dancing isn’t about what you do with your body. Dancing is about your relationship to the rest of the world. How you react. How you interact. Dancing is movement, but that movement isn’t always physical. Sometimes it’s in a conversation, or a song."

Would I recommend this? Yes, here we see someone with a disability overcoming his demons and a beautiful story of two individuals who understand each other on a deeper, meaningful level.

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Nick Freeman lights up a room with his incredible voice. One night at a karaoke bar, where he is king, he spots a woman who outshines. She's dancing her heart out, and in that moment, he sees what he's missing. Hayley spots the longing in his eyes and offers to dance with him, then realizes that Nick has cerebral palsy. What follows is a relationship fraught with misunderstandings, but, is ultimately a journey of self-discovery for them both.

This book is full of deep statements and highlightable lines. You can tell, even before reading the author's note, that the author lives with the same condition as his main character, Nick. The strong emotions absolutely jump off the page. Many themes in this story, such as the assumptions we make about how others perceive us, were really profound. This book also allows the reader, who may not have ever dealt with some of these situations, to understand frustrations felt by people who deal with a disability.

I had a hard time with this book. Much of it felt abrasive. I was not fond of how the characters interacted. The derogatory terms used to describe differently-abled people were jarring. I also became frustrated in the third act when, instead of seeing more of the couple together, each of our main characters went off and had side conversations with other people. It was a device meant to help each of the characters grow as individuals, but it felt like it turned the book from a romance to a general fiction book. I'm glad that the characters matured and found happiness with each other, but the ending, in my opinion as a romance reader, needed to have far more of the couple together.

Trigger warnings: derogatory terms used for differently-abled people, bullying, miscarriage (off page), (emotional) cheating, derogatory terms used for women, the possibility of a child dying young, frustrations related to cerebral palsy

I'd like to thank Alcove Press and Netgalley for the eARC of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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