This is a spoiler-free review.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Expected publication June 3rd, 2021 by Penguin.
#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with her eagerly anticipated third novel. With all the heart and hope of her last two books, this is an 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?
Thank you to The Write Reads Tours and the publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s UK, for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.
Instructions for Dancing tells the story of Evie, who at 18 years old, is already disenchanted with love. After finding out her parents are splitting up – and that the reason causing this split is her father’s affair with another woman – Evie has had enough of the whole idea of love. But love might not be through with her.
At a Little Free Library where Evie decides to dump her collection of romance novels she no longer cares for, she winds up picking up an old copy of a book entitled Instructions for Dancing, as well as a pesky super power where whenever she sees a couple kiss, their entire future together flash before her eyes.
Unsure what to do about these visions, or what lesson their apparently trying to teach her, Evie decides to return the instructional dancing book to its rightful owner: the La Brea Dance studio. And it’s there where she meets X…
“It was beautiful. But it was sad too. Both things, and at the same time. I don’t know why so much of life is like that.”
Before even hearing about the book Instructions for Dancing I’d been meaning to pick up a novel by Nicola Yoon. It was hard not to want to! I’d heard so many great things about her stories. And now, after reading her most recent release, I completely understand the hype! 😍
Instructions for Dancing is a really great novel, bursting with heart. In this coming-of-age story sprinkled with magic, heartbreak and hope play an equal role, and both love and loss are pivotal to the plot. In her acknowledgements, Yoon talks about writing this book during a very hard time in her life, where loss, love, and grief were ever-present. This truly comes across in her writing, as so much of this story surrounds these overwhelming feelings, and facing them, despite how hard that in itself can be.
At the beginning of this novel, Evie would rather give love up voluntarily than risk potentially loosing it at all. She struggles with reconciling that if something is doomed to end, does it ever even matter in the first place? I think these are thoughts a lot of people grapple with at one point or another. Especially when considering how precarious so many things in life really are. Yoon handles these topics with care and sincerity. And as such, it’s no surprise that her words are so utterly touching.
Instructions for Dancing swept me off my feet. It made me feel a lot of things. A story both happy and sad, full of wit and humour, and enchantingly heartfelt – this novel won’t be one I soon forget.
“It doesn’t matter that love ends. It just matters that there’s love.”
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.
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