BLOG TOUR: Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
First things first, I’d like to say a huge thank you to The Write Reads for organising this blog tour.
Instructions for Dancing is Nicola Yoon’s third novel, and her first release in five years. Because it’s been such a long time since The Sun is Also a Star was released, I had high hopes for Instructions for Dancing, but I wasn’t expecting to find a new favourite novel.
Before I share more of my thoughts on Instructions for Dancing, check out the cover and the synopsis below…
#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?
Instructions for Dancing is a YA romance which focuses on what comes after happily ever after.
Evie’s parents’ divorce completely changes her attitude towards love. She can’t understand why people bother taking the risk of being in a relationship when they always come to an end. Why is her sister Danica still dating when Evie can’t even enjoy the contemporary romances she used to adore?
These thoughts solidify after she finds herself gifted a book called Instructions for Dancing. Shortly after acquiring the book, Evie discovers she’s been granted the power to see the highlights of a relationship every time a couple kiss in front of her. The one thing all of the relationships have in common? They all end. Whether they end in divorce, death or devastation, Evie finds herself swarmed with visions of relationships ending, over and over and over.
Evie confides in her best friend Martin about her newfound talent, and he convinces her to head to the address of the dance studio stamped in the back of her book. After spontaneously taking a dance lesson, Evie gets taken to one side by the dance instructor – a formidable woman named Fifi – who asks her to perform in a ballroom dance competition. Her partner? X, the grandson of the dance studio’s owners, and the boy who will make Evie want to reconsider her relationship avoidance.
I loved everything about this book, and it was one of the easiest five stars I’ve ever given. This is a refreshing take on the YA contemporary genre, and it’s one which I’m sure will stick in my mind for many years to come.
My heart ached for Evie from the first page of this book. She is hurting deeply because of the dissolution of her parents’ marriage, and genuinely sees no point in relationships or love. Something about the image of her hesitating while choosing to donate her romance novels – that brief second in which her hope rekindled – tugged at my heart strings, and I was hooked by Evie’s story from that moment on.
Similarly to Everything, Everything, Instructions for Dancing is made up of lots of very short chapters which switch between text conversations, group chat messages and even lists of romance tropes (which Nicola Yoon plays with delightfully). The changing formats make this a quick read, but I also found myself unable to put it down because I couldn’t wait to see what happened next between Evie and X.
Their relationship is definitely a slow-burn romance. It’s obvious that they have feelings for each other, but it takes X a while to break down Evie’s walls and convince her to give him a shot. It’s impossible not to root for them, and I’m sure X is going to be a new fictional crush for a lot of teen readers.
When you pick up Instructions for Dancing, make sure you have a packet of tissues nearby. I had a lump in my throat at the end of this novel, because Nicola Yoon isn’t afraid to show the end of the love story she has so painstakingly crafted. I was expecting to see the end of Evie and X’s story (with Evie seeing the end of relationships, it would be hard not to discover how their love story ends), but Nicola Yoon does it in a way which makes you appreciate the beauty of love, even though it may be fleeting.
There is so much more in this book that I want to gush over, but I’m trying to stay as spoiler-free as possible! Instead I’ll let Nicola Yoon’s words speak for themselves and share two of my favourite quotes from Instructions for Dancing with you.
‘Given enough time, all love stories turn into heartbreak stories.’
‘People who say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all have never really loved anyone and never really lost anyone either.’
Instructions for Dancing will make you grab life by the horns and remember to appreciate every moment you spend with the ones you love, and it’s inspirational as hell. This is the YA contemporary I needed, and it’s one which I think will resonate with a very wide audience.
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.
I hope you enjoyed my stop on the Instructions for Dancing blog tour. If you’ve also taken part in this blog tour, please leave a link to your stop down in the comments and spread The Write Reads love!
Thanks for reading,