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Title: Instructions for Dancing
Author: Nicola Yoon
Published: 3rd of June 2021 – Penguin
Format: Digital (NetGalley eARC) – 304 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Today I am bringing you another tour post, and first review in WEEKS!! This time it is for the #UltimateBlogTour organised by Dave from @The_WriteReads for Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon!
As you know, I am not the biggest fan of YA contemporary and romance stories, but I knew this would be a quick and fun read. I was taken by surprise and loved it, even though I spent the last chapters sobbing! Keep on reading for my thoughts on this fantastic book that will give you ALL the feels!
Thank you so much to Dave, Penguin and the author for letting me take part in this tour, and thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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?
Trigger warnings: death (mentioned), grief, alcohol, cheating, break ups, divorce.
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon is a YA contemporary romance in which we meet Evie, who is struggling to cope with changes in her life and no longer believes in true love that lasts forever. Enter Xavier and ballroom dancing and what an adventure!
I was a little sceptical going into this book because it’s not my usual genre and YA contemporary are hit and miss for me. I saw a lot of other bloggers on the tour say it was great, and when I started it, I literally could not stop. Yes I read it until 4am when I was supposed to be sleeping so I could finish my thesis the next day, ahah! It was totally worth the late night though because this book hit me where it hurts, but it was also a stunning and very real story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I won’t be adding an ASPECTS rating to this review because as soon as I turned the last page, I just knew it was a 5-star read for me!
This book is set in the U.S. (I can’t remember the exact town, oops) and most of the book happens either at Evie’s school or at La Brea Dance Studio where she goes for her ballroom dancing lessons. This book was much more character-driven, which was a change for me but one I enjoyed! While I feel like we didn’t get that much of an insight into the setting or the dance studio, I was able to picture them quite easily, so the beautiful writing style really helped me!
Evie: Evie is the main character of this story and we meet her at a time when she is really disenchanted by life and because of her parents divorce. She no longer believes in love, and doesn’t even read her beloved romances anymore. I feel like she grew immensely and went on such a journey of discovery and had so many wonderful experiences. I honestly loved her as a character, she knows what she wants but she is also lost with her feelings and this made her feel very real and relatable.
Evie’s family: We don’t get to see much of them, but I instantly loved her mum. Wasn’t sure what to think of her dad but he eventually grew on me and I loved that her sister is a makeup whizz, she was also super stylish and I could really imagine all the beautiful clothes she was wearing!
Evie’s friends: You know that I love a great friendship dynamic in books which is almost an automatic thing in contemporaries, but I LOVED her friends! I loved Martin especially but each were very unique, had their own quirks and I loved their relationship and little friend group. They all also grew a lot throughout the course of the book, which was a great thing to see, even though they did have a few ups and downs.
Xavier: Wow, as soon as we met Xavier – also known as X – I was like “Well, hellooooo!” ahaha! He was charisma supreme and such an honest and kind person. I really liked him and he was bad boy without being “break-your-heart-before-I-declare-my-love” type bad boy if you know what I mean? He was really cool and I loved reading about X and Evie dancing, they had a lot of chemistry!
Fifi: There were lots of other characters in this book but as soon as we met Fifi I knew I needed to mention her. She is one of the dance instructors at the dance studio and my gosh she is hilarious. I loved her so much. She is very much the sort of “no-messing-about-business-time” person and it was fun seeing her super serious all the time, but then also she showed a little bit of a soft side which was lovely. I can’t even tell you how many times I laughed, but it made the book so fun to have such an eccentric and fun character like Fifi!
Dancing: I am not the biggest fan of sports and neither am I the biggest fan of reading about dancing. I used to dance when I was younger but stopped fairly early and switched to theatre, which is what I prefer doing and reading. But there was something about the way the dancing in this book was described that had me hooked. Along with the characters, the overall plot and the feels, I just couldn’t put it down and the dancing scene at the end was really intense but so well written, really beautiful.
Love, dating, breaking up: As you probably saw from the blurb, this is not your usual YA contemporary romance because Evie is able to see a couple’s past, present and future by seeing them kiss, crazy or what?? She gets to see all aspects of love which impact on her own feelings and it made her grow a lot to see people and to understand what the visions were about and their reason.
Learning to be yourself: This is a part of the book that I really enjoyed and you only get to see it happen really slowly, but when Evie finally let go of all her bad feelings and just let herself feel and be, it was lovely. That particular scene was really beautiful!
Sadness – go grab tissues! I was NOT expecting this so do be aware that you’ll need tissues!! I am not a crier for books (or only very, very rarely), and this one had me sobbing towards the end. It was beautifully written, but heart-breaking and the author just let me have all the feels.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, as you can tell, I ADORED this book. It was really not what I was expecting and quite out of my comfort zone but I am so glad I decided to read it! I’ve not had many 5-star reads at all this year, but this made it into the list and became the 4th 5-star book of 2021!
I loved the writing style of this book, I had already read both of Nicola Yoon’s previous books and while one was just not for me, the other was really nice, and this in my opinion was her best so far! She has a beautiful and descriptive writing style that I really enjoyed and the pace flowed in a way that made me not able to put down the book! I thought it was really well executed, as well as some of the tough topics, they were handled really well.
I gave this book 5 stars and I absolutely adored it. It was both fun and sad, but really beautiful and I just had a great time reading it, even though I was in a *state* at the end. I highly recommend this book!
If you like YA contemporary romances that are unique, with ballroom dancing, great friendship groups, complex and relatable characters, a different and surprising plot, funny characters, but also don’t mind grabbing tissues and having a good cry, then this is the book for you!
Thank you once again to Dave, the author, Penguin and NetGalley. This was such a great book and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read it!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – NICOLA YOON
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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