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Young Adult Fiction Dance

When It All Syncs Up

by (author) Maya Ameyaw

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2023
Dance, Eating Disorders & Body Image, Friendship, Mental Illness
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Jul 2023
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2024
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12
  • Reading age: 14 to 18


“A hopeful, realistic exploration of mental health among teens invested in the world of the arts.”—STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews


A Black teen dancer with dreams of landing a spot in a prestigious ballet company must learn to dance on her own terms in this explosive debut about the healing power of art and friendship, perfect for fans of Heartstopper and Tiny Pretty Things.


Ballet is Aisha’s life. So when she’s denied yet another lead at her elite academy because she doesn’t “look” the part, she knows something has to change–the constant discrimination is harming her mental health. Switching to her best friend Neil’s art school seems like the perfect plan at first. But she soon discovers racism and bullying are entrenched in the ballet program here, too, and there’s a new, troubling distance between her and Neil. And as past traumas surface, pressure from friends and family, a new romance, and questions about her dance career threaten to overwhelm her. There’s no choreography to follow–for high school or for healing. Aisha will have to find the strength within herself–and place her trust in others–to make her next move.


"At times hopeful and beautiful but also heartbreakingly devastating, When It All Syncs Up is a story of love in so many forms. But maybe most important of all, it is about the love we give ourselves, and allow ourselves to be given, even at our most broken."—Jonny Garza Villa, author of the Pura Belpré Honor Book Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun

About the author

MAYA AMEYAW is a former bookseller and currently works as a community arts writing instructor. She has edited several mental health–themed anthologies for youth and adults, and her writing was included in the anthology Brilliance Is the Clothing I Wear (Dundurn Press). Maya also runs a YouTube series and blog where she interviews YA authors about their writing journeys. She lives in Toronto and can be found on Twitter @MayaAmeyaw.


Maya Ameyaw's profile page

Excerpt: When It All Syncs Up (by (author) Maya Ameyaw)

I don’t let myself think as I begin moving. Neil follows my lead and I feel myself shifting into a new plane where the language of his movements starts to become familiar. A form of communication that I’m not only beginning to understand, but learning to speak. Our eyes connect and I communicate to him that I get how alone he’s felt and that I’ve felt it too. That I'm so glad we’re finally together again. When we come to a stop we’re eye to eye and for a horrible second, I think we both might cry.

Editorial Reviews

“A hopeful, realistic exploration of mental health among teens invested in the world of the arts.”

Kirkus Reviews, *starred review, 03/29/23

“[A] tightly plotted and smoothly written novel that tackles issues of racism in classical ballet alongside mental health and body image conflicts.”

Publishers Weekly, 04/27/23

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