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Review: Instructions for Dancing

Instructions for Dancing

Title: Instructions For Dancing
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 304
Published by: Delacorte Press
Date Published: June 1, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Goodreads Synopsis:

Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?


Honestly, as a reader, I’m a bit worn out by love stories. Once my favourite genre, Romance, lately, hasn’t been my thing. I can’t put a finger on precisely why – the oversimplification of emotions, the plot that falls into neat & tidy and devoid of reality, or it could be the hyper focus on copious sex scenes with no character development … whatever it is, Romance and I haven’t been getting along. 

So it is especially surprising that a YA Contemporary Romance should be one of the better novels I’ve read this year. Nicola Yoon has crafted a novel with such honest emotional insight and while this is entirely a story about love, it’s not exactly a love story? It is beautiful, it touched my heart, it expertly explored the conversation on great love and the great grief that follows such love. Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? This itty bitty contemporary novel packs a walloping emotional hit that I truly wasn’t expecting. Somehow wrapping a completely readable, break-your-heart-open, deep-sighted, reflective novel that is still somehow entirely light and a put-a-smile-on-your-face hopeful … yeah, Instructions for Dancing somehow achieves it all. I highly recommend. 

Read this if:

  • Looking for an updated “spin” on the tired romance formulaic writing … sorry, pun intended. 
  • Enjoy your contemporary with a heavy dose of emotional brevity. 
  • Feel like experiencing that whole “laughter through tears” thing … any Steel Magnolias fans out there?? 

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