Release date: June 1, 2021
Despite how it might seem, this is not a love story.Instructions for Dancing, Nicola Yoon
I picked up Instructions for Dancing as soon as I heard of its release, and I was very excited to read it. Not only am I a fan of Nicola Yoon‘s work, but I thought the premise of the book sounded really interesting as well. The story follows Evie Thomas, who doesn’t believe in love anymore, but suddenly she gains the ability to see the entire course of a couple’s relationship when seeing them kiss. The book warns that this is not a love story, but going into it I still expected a light and fun romance. It ended up being a lot more than that, so much so that I put this book on my favourites list. Definitely go give it a read!
I think I loved all the characters in this book (save for maybe Evie’s dad) because they all offered different thoughts and ideas. I loved Evie, who tends to think and prepare a lot, and as a reader, I loved that the protagonist was a reader as well. Evie’s family and friends were really fun to read about as well, and I especially enjoyed the segments of text messages between them. They really made me laugh, and I felt they were accurate representations of teenagers texting – sometimes it made me think of my own silly texts with friends.
My favourite part of this book was definitely the dynamic between X and Evie. X, who is quite the opposite of Evie, is her love interest, and I really enjoyed reading about the growth of their relationship and what they were able to share with each other. Their relationship was interesting right from the start, and I knew they’d be great together, and that they’d make quite an impact on each other.
The plot took me completely by surprise. I don’t normally gravitate towards YA romance or contemporary novels, but I genuinely loved this one. It’s a fairly quick read (I was able to read it in one night) and the plot is fast-moving and doesn’t have any boring filler bits. Evie’s friend Martin compares this plot to the movie Big, a comparison I agree with as well, and I also really loved that movie.
I loved the little bit of magic that was incorporated into the book, and I thought it was just enough to make it seem believable and keep readers intrigued. I was hooked the moment Evie received her book, Instructions for Dancing, and knew this plot was going interesting places. It was really cool to be able to see Evie learn the relationship course of various people in the story, as it offered insight into these characters as well, even though these revelations were often heartbreaking too.
I thought this happy fun plot would continue through the rest of the book, but that isn’t quite the case, so be prepared for that. This book will make you cry – and not happy tears – but nevertheless, it’s a really impactful read.
In the acknowledgments of this book, Nicola Yoon shares a very personal story about losing parents to terminal illnesses at the time of writing this book. This hit really close to home for me, and made me cherish this book even more, as I am currently losing my grandfather to an illness as well. Nicola Yoon wrote about late night lonely car rides to the hospital and “how illness and death remakes the world,” and it really resonated with me at this time. I feel really appreciative that she was able to share that with readers, as I know her words will impact many and change the way they view this book. It’s easy to skip over the acknowledgments or author’s note at the end of the book, but maybe this time give it a read.
I loved this book, and after reading the acknowledgments, I loved it even more. Thank you to Nicola Yoon for writing this book and for sharing your story, and to everyone else, please go read this!