Trigger Warnings: Alcohol (underage); Cheating; Death (mentioned); Divorce; Grief
After I fell in love with Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, I was delighted when I found out that Nicola Yoon had wrote another book! I genuinely could not wait to read Instructions for Dancing, and it certainly did not disappoint when I finally picked it up last Friday.
The stand-out feature of Instructions for Dancing was certainly the blossoming romance between Evie and X. I loved watching this develop throughout this book, and at times, it was almost a ‘will they, won’t they?’ romance, due to Evie being sceptical over love. This was something that I especially enjoyed, as I really wanted them to get together, yet at the same time, I did not know if Evie would allow that to happen, especially after her parents’ divorce.
What I did find interesting about Evie’s scepticism was that, as Instructions for Dancing was narrated from her perspective, the opening was filled with our main character criticising Romance. Considering that Instructions for Dancing is a Romance novel at heart, I found this rather unusual, as I was enjoying one of my favourite genres whilst reading that they are bad and unrealistic. This really contrasted from Everything, Everything, where Olly and Maddy were desperate to see each other, and The Sun is Also a Star, where Daniel was desperate for Natasha to fall in love with him.
I also found it really interesting that in Instructions for Dancing, Evie and X’s romance was not the main focal point. I would say that their dancing was as equally important as their romance, which, again, was different to Yoon’s previous books. Their romance and dancing storylines really complemented each other, as when one progressed, the other did too. The romance in Instructions for Dancing being different to the romances present in Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star really did bring a breath of fresh air to this book, which I did particularly like.
At first, I was slightly sceptical of Evie’s visions, as I was concerned that they might make this story completely unrealistic. However, my mind was quickly changed when tension was building up surrounding her visions, especially when Evie could not explain what was happening. A prime example of this would be when she ‘saw’ the romance between herself and X – which really shocked me, as I never would have thought that their romance would have taken that direction!
I do not quite understand how Evie’s visions came about, but I do like that this is left for us readers to decide ourselves, as even Evie herself never truly got to the bottom of why her visions happened. I did like how, as the story wrapped up in its cyclical-esque structure, we were given some explanation, as this wrapped up the visions storyline, whilst still leaving the ‘why’ to our imagination.
I loved the dancing element in Instructions for Dancing! Although Evie was sceptical at first until Martin persuaded her to go to La Brea Dance Studio, she definitely did not regret it when she met (and subsequently fell in love with) X.
Although I had a rough idea of what the Salsa and the Argentine Tango look like (thanks to years of watching Strictly Come Dancing!), I had no idea of what the Bachata, West Coast Swing, or Hustle look like! I loved that when Fifi was going through each step in detail, I was learning more and more about these styles of dance. The dances were also incorporated seamlessly into the story . . . even when Fifi presented a radical idea to improve Evie and X’s chemistry and dancing skills!
I loved how each character had their own story to tell. I loved this especially with Evie’s Mum, as it was not until relatively close to the end that we actually heard her side of the story in regards to her divorce. I found it really interesting not only to read her thoughts and emotions, but also that Yoon chose to keep this element hidden from us until the end.
I also felt that each character was perfect in their role, to the point where I could just imagine Fifi shouting over the music and giving Evie and X all of her words of encouragement, whether it was helpful or not! Yoon also got the relationship between Evie and Danica as sisters spot-on. This was so realistic to read, and it was one of the many things that I thoroughly enjoyed about Instructions for Dancing.
Of course, I also loved the friendship between Evie, Martin, Sophie, and Cassidy, and how Evie’s views changed towards this friendship as a result of her visions. This character development was something that I loved to see, especially as it affected the relationships between each character.
Although I felt that the plot of Instructions for Dancing was simpler than the plots of Nicola Yoon’s other books, I still really enjoyed it. This definitely helped with the ease of reading, as I could just sit back and enjoy Instructions for Dancing, without having to remember lots of little plot details.
Initially, I was surprised with the lack of chapter variations. However, I think that this was purely because the last of Nicola Yoon’s books that I read was Everything, Everything, where there are so many types of chapters. I think that if the last of Nicola Yoon’s books that I read had been The Sun is Also a Star, then this would not have surprised me as much. When I was racing towards the end of Instructions for Dancing, I did especially like it how I could carry on with the story uninterrupted.
After THAT plot twist, I was wondering how on Earth the story could be neatly wrapped up by the end of the book (in 44 pages, to be exact)! However, like always, Yoon finds a way to round off every storyline, and bring her book to the perfect conclusion.
There is something about Nicola Yoon’s books where I can just speed through them and finish them ridiculously quickly. Although I did read Instructions for Dancing slower than I read her other two books (partly because I was reading two other books alongside it!), this did not detract from my enjoyment at all.
Something that I do especially love about Nicola Yoon’s books is that I do not have to slow down at any point in order to understand parts of the book. With Nicola Yoon’s books, what you read is what you get – you never end up kicking yourself because the plot twist that you have just read was hinted at 100 pages ago, and you should have seen it coming. Although there was an element of this towards the end of Instructions for Dancing, I knew that I never would have seen the plot twist coming! This allows me to just relax into her books, and see where the story takes me.
Overall, I recommend Instructions for Dancing to any romance or dance fans, and to anyone who loves Nicola Yoon’s other two books.
Have you read, or are you planning to read, Instructions for Dancing? Has this review made you want to read Instructions for Dancing? Let me know in the comments?
Thank you for reading this post.