Title: Instructions for Dancing
Author: Nicola Yoon
Published: June 3, 2021
Format: e-ARC through Netgalley- Thank you, Penguin!
#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with a new and utterly unique romance.
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?
Praise for Nicola Yoon:
‘Gorgeous and lyrical’ New York Times
‘Powerful, lovely, heart-wrenching’ Jennifer Niven
‘This extraordinary first novel about love so strong it might kill us is too good to feel like a debut’ Jodi Picoult
Ouch. I was not expecting this book to break my heart! This is such a cute, thought-provoking, emotional, and heartbreaking story. There’s some magic realism mixed in too. I was expecting a cute rom-com type book and got a lot more from it.
I could see this book playing out on the screen. The fact that our main character, Evie, is obsessed with romance novels and frequently points them out in her life, is quite entertaining. Evie is jaded. Her parents have gone through a divorce and she knows an ugly little secret about it. It’s ruined the idea of what her father was to her. In addition, it’s ruined her to love. She’s completely closed off and doesn’t believe it’s worth it if everyone just ends up in heartbreak.
Then we meet X. Oh gosh, wasn’t he such a great character! I loved how open he was to life but it’s not just on the surface. He has his own tragedies in life and I think he ran into Evie at the perfect time.
One of my biggest issues with this book is the pacing. The dancing was rushed and we jump time so quickly, it was hard to remember why it was important to the story. I would have loved more of their relationship unfolding in the dance room. One of the most important elements of this book, the visions, are just pushed to the side as well. It was such an interesting aspect and I would have loved a lot more of that. She was supposed to learn her lesson from it and it was kind of minor.
The plot itself was very enjoyable. It’s rather touching and I love that we explore whether or not love is worth it. Is it better to love and have lost than never loved at all? There’s a lot that Evie has to figure out, in regards to her dad and her love life. I think this is such a relatable book for teenagers. I remember thinking similar things with love at that age and not knowing. The answer is yes. It’s always better to live in the now and love while you can (IMO). ❤
Overall, I had a fun time with this book and had a hard time putting it down. Although there are some character and pacing issues, it didn’t take away from the message. It has some very sad moments. Nicola Yoon talks about how she was going through a lot of pain when writing this book. You can feel her heartbreak coming through with this one.
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.