INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING by Nicola Yoon is a charming and thoughtful YA contemporary romance about Evie, a self-proclaimed bookworm who loves to read romance novels most of all. But, after discovering her father’s romantic affair, Evie stops believing in the notion of happily-ever-after and decides to donate all her romance books to the neighborhood Little Free Library. There, she meets a mysterious old woman who gifts her a book called Instructions for Dancing. Evie then unexpectedly gains a magical ability — after witnessing people kiss, she gets a vision of the couple’s entire relationship, from beginning to end. Using the movie Big as an example of how to handle this new development, Evie follows the lead of a stamp in the book which reads: “If lost, please return to La Brea Dance.” At this dance studio, she meets X — someone entirely unlike herself with the personal philosophy of saying “yes” to everything. Under the direction of their intense instructor, Evie and X begin training for an amateur ballroom dancing competition. They have undeniable chemistry, but Evie’s mysterious visions and her relationship with her father complicate her feelings about love, and whether or not it’s best to play it safe and keep her heart closed.
I’m a sucker for magical realism stories like Big, as well as any book written by Nicola Yoon. So, I was immediately primed to enjoy Yoon’s latest addition to the YA contemporary romance genre. Evie and X are incredibly easy characters to root for, and everything about their interactions and relationship is authentic. Add to this the eclectic mix of secondary characters, romantic humor, and short chapters, and this is a page-turner that many young readers (and readers of YA books) will devour. Ultimately, this is a swoon-worthy and heartfelt love story that will pull at your heartstrings. Instructions for Dancing is a sweet and thoughtful exploration of love, asking the essential question of whether or not love is worth the price of potential loss.
Nicola Yoon has further solidified her reputation as a must-read contemporary YA author. Instructions for Dancing will be high-demand and is recommended for all public and school library collections serving young adult readers.
Suggested Reading Age: Grades 8+ | Delacorte Press | 304 pg. | June 1, 2021 |
“Everyone loves to hate love triangles, but actually they’re great. They exist so the main character can choose between different versions of themselves: who they used to be, and who they’re still becoming.”