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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

This light fiction young adult novel offers (reluctant) romance, best friendships, dance lessons, glimpses into the future, a reimagined family structure, and lots of heart.

In the newest young adult book by Nicola Yoon, Evie Thomas is reeling from her parents' divorce--and from her haunting secret knowledge that her father was seeing his girlfriend before he split with Evie's mom.

So she doesn't believe in love or happy endings anymore. Her sister dates boy after boy, two of her best friends are making eyes at each other, and she's sick of all of it. She's written off love.

Then something really strange happens. As Evie's putting her former favorite romance books into a Little Free Library, a wizened old woman approaches her with some advice, and soon afterward, unexpected visions start overwhelming her. She's able to see the past and futures of the couples around her.

But that's not all: Evie gets roped into taking dance lessons and inconveniently meets an incredible guy. Meanwhile, her best friend is the only one who knows about her ability to peek into the past and future, and he isn't any clearer than she is about what's going on. Her mother starts dating again. And to top things off, her father announces his engagement. It's all too much.

I was proud of Evie's forgiveness, yet felt a little bit dissatisfied about her eventual willingness to overlook her father's cheating. It's a complicated situation, but that didn't sit right to me without more of a reckoning. I was also a little bit thrown by the final non-resolution regarding her peek into the future and a tragedy she glimpses.

But Instructions for Dancing was romantic, sweet, fun to read (well, to listen to as an audiobook, which I did), and it focused on quirky friends, family loyalty, and looooove, all in a light fiction wrapping.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Nicola Yoon is also the author of the wonderful young adult books Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star.

If you're in the mood for more light fiction, you might try the titles on the Greedy Reading List Six Lighter Fiction Stories for Great Escapism.


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