Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Rating: 5 stars
My hand holding a hardcover copy of Instructions for Dancing in front of a green forest.
"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?" - https://www.nicolayoon.com/ifd-book-details
I'm writing this after having finished reading this book in tears. I don't cry while reading books or watching films very often but this one hit me hard. I wasn't expecting to revisit the pain of my own loss and my fractured relationship with my dad. It seems as if this book and Legendborn came to me at a time when I needed to release my grief.
Evie is a sweet girl who is learning that sometimes loving people is worth it despite how painful ending those relationships can be. She must learn to live in the moment. X makes one of the best romantic interests I've read in a while. He's open, creative, silly, smart, quick, and passionate. I love that X can talk to Evie about his own pain and loss just like she can be honest about her feelings about her dad. X and Evie's chemistry throughout the book is undeniable. They're easy together.
Martin is a wonderful friend. I was relieved when the typical love triangle situation didn't play out in the book. There's no jealous boyfriend or manufactured drama. This feels real and so does Evie's emotional growth. Her mother's strength surprised me until I recognized my own mother in her. She wants to protect her children from her own pain but, in doing so, she somehow makes them feel as though she is unaffected. This isn't helpful because these moments are exactly when it's best to be open about it. That's much easier said than done, of course.
There's something about the first child's experience with their parents that makes divorce more heartbreaking. They've witnessed the love and the end, along with their sibling(s), but they feel like they have to be the strong child for their parents and more. They can't break or let their siblings know the depth of these situations because, like their parents, they feel responsible for holding the family together. I feel for Evie.
On a happier note, I feel like this book should be adapted into a show. I'd love to see Danica's fashions and makeup, Evie and X's dance classes and this That's So Raven type program on a streaming platform.
Side note: When was homegirl getting her homework done? How did she graduate? Lmao I don't remember any homework scenes in the entire book. It's okay, I loved it anyway.
Great for pre-teens and up!!! YOU NEED THISSSSSSS!!!
Also, this is the best book I've read by Nicola Yoon. I recommend y'all read the author's note, too.