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Ditty was born to dance, but she was also born Jewish. When her strictly religious parents won’t let her take ballet lessons, Ditty starts to dance in secret. But for how long can she keep her two worlds apart? And at what cost?


A dramatic and moving story about a girl who follows her dream, and finds herself questioning everything she believes in.


  • Shortlisted for the WAYBRA awards in 2015

  • An Honor Book in the Sydney Taylor Book Awards 2014

  • One of 5 Badass Best Books in for YA and NA contemporary fiction in 2013

  • A CBCA Notable Book in 2011

  • Shortlisted for the REAL (Reading and Enjoying Australian Literature) Awards 2011 for fiction Years 7-9, incorporating the KOALA, COOL and YABBA awards.

“…a subtle first novel about familial loyalties and individuality… It's an intriguing glimpse into a singular culture; the persuasive depiction of Ditty's internal conflicts distinguishes Bavati's debut.”

 Publishers Weekly

“Dancing in the Dark is an absorbing tale of one teenager’s struggle with family expectations, her faith, and the dilemmas which choosing to defy her parents’ force her to confront. For most Australian teens, Ditty’s life and faith will be unfamiliar, making the story doubly interesting. But, on another level, all teens will find the dilemmas of self versus family, and of meeting societal expectations, familiar. Ditty is an honest and open narrator, and her story is well-crafted and will intrigue teen readers.”

Sally Murphy, Aussie Reviews

“This is a really wonderful story – while it serves as a fantastic insight into the life of someone who’s very religious, the religious aspect won’t alienate readers – …all teenage girls will…empathise with Ditty, and her need to be independent and follow her dreams… I strongly recommend it to girls 12 and older who are looking for a contemporary YA from a unique perspective.”

Steph Bowe, Australian author

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