Wednesday, July 14, 2021



Rating: 5/5 stars

After loving Nicola Yoon’s first two books, I was excited to hear about her newest release, Instructions for Dancing.

This book is about Evie, who comes across a book called Instructions for Dancing and then becomes able to see visions of a couple’s entire relationship from beginning to end whenever she watches them kiss. She notices a pattern: all relationships eventually come to an end. Although this fact discourages her, she decides to see what she can learn from her newfound ability. 

“The problem with broken hearts isn’t that they kill you; it’s that they don’t.”

I don’t tend to like magical realism in books, but I liked it here; I thought it was done well. The introduction and execution of Evie’s visions felt natural to me.

I ended up really enjoying this book. Young adult contemporary romance is really not my thing anymore, likely because I’m not in high school anymore and I’m not dealing with boy drama since I’m now happily married, so I’m always worried when I read it that I won’t be able to connect with it like I used to. But this book was alright. Evie is about to go to college and the story is more about her experiences dancing and her friendships than anything else. 

I grew up dancing, so I loved that aspect of the story. I did ballet, tap dance, hip hop, Irish dance, and most notably, nearly every kind of ballroom dance. Instructions for Dancing is about various forms of ballroom dancing as Evie goes to classes to learn how to dance and train for a competition. I loved that the instructors gave little snippets of the history of certain dances, like how waltzing was once called “so fatal a contagion” in girls because dancing caused them to scandalously show their ankles. Ha! I learned lots of info I didn’t previously know, and it was really delightful.

This book was wholesome and fun and timely. Even though I don’t tend to reach for YA contemporary anymore, Nicola Yoon is an author whose books I will continue to read because they are enjoyable to me and not filled with petty drama. And this one wasn’t really a romance for most of it anyway; even though it’s wholly about love, at its core it isn’t a love story. 

Instructions for Dancing is my favorite Nicola Yoon book so far. The audiobook narrator was amazing as well, and she really brought each character to life with a distinct voice. This book is human and heartfelt and heart-wrenching, and definitely worth the read, especially if you love dancing. 

“If you get very, very lucky in this life, then you get to love another so hard and so completely that when you lose them, it rips you apart. The pain is the proof of a life well-lived and loved.”

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