Welcome to my stop in the Instructions for Dancing book tour! Thank you so much to TheWriteReads for including me in this tour, and the publisher Penguin for my review copy. This in no way affects my opinion.
Title: Instructions for Dancing
Author: Nicola Yoon
Audience: Young Adult
Release Date: 3rd June 2021
Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.
When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.
For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.
But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love.
Contemporary is a genre that I usually have mixed results with, but if every book is as good as Instructions for Dancing, I would never read any other genre. I fell in love with this book even though it ripped out my heart in the end.
The standout element of Instructions for Dancing for me was our two main characters Evie and X. The growth that Evie goes through and her journey of rediscovering the meaning of love was perfect. I really connected to her, especially as she was a reader, but she also had some witty and snarky one-liners that had me laughing constantly. I wasn’t sure about X in the beginning, but as the book developed, I grew to fall more in love with him and the journey that he had been on. There is a hidden depth to his character that really endeared him to me, making the book even more heartwrenching.
One thing I also loved was the progression of Evie and X’s romance. It felt so natural, which is not something that I usually find in YA contemporary. They grew with each other, and it made them reflect on what they really wanted from their relationship and the relationships that they have with friends and family.
Like Nicola Yoon’s other two books, the message throughout Instructions for Dancing is so strong, and it shines through and really connects with the reader. Nicola Yoon has an amazing way of making you reflect and think about your life. Instructions for Dancing covers both divorce and grief, and how the stories are told pull you into that moment and make you imagine what it really feels like to be put in those situations.
The only thing that I would have loved was more of them dancing. I loved the dancing chapters, and Fifi, their extravagant dance teacher, was hilarious. So I was a little bit upset when we didn’t get as many chapters of them dancing as I wanted.
The ending of Instructions for Dancing ripped out my heart, as I was not expecting it. But I loved it. It completely matched the book’s tone and matched with the message that Nicola Yoon was trying to portray. If you do pick up this book, I highly suggest having a full box of tissues next to you as you will really need them.
I highly recommend Instructions for Dancing if you love YA contemporary! And even if you don’t like YA contemporary, I think it is a really important read because it shows the meaning of love and living life to the fullest.
About the Author
Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Instructions for Dancing, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Two of her novels have been made into major motion pictures. She’s also co-publisher of Joy Revolution, a Random House young adult imprint dedicated to love stories starring people of color. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the novelist David Yoon, and their daughter.