[BLOG TOUR] BOOK REVIEW: INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING BY NICOLA YOON

*Thank you to Nicola Yoon, Netgalley & Penguin for my copy of this book*

*Thank you to Dave (thewritereads) for allowing me a place on the blog tour*

Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.

When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.

For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.

But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love?

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

With any Nicola Yoon book, I have been sat on writing this review for days, because every time I come to write it, I end up sitting in front of a blank screen, all of my emotions consuming me. I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know how I’m possibly going to encapsulate the utter joy and heartbreak that Evie and X caused me, because truly, all I want to say is, “I just want to sit and hug this book forever” and “This book will make you scream and cry, go get it now!!“, but this masterpiece and Nicola deserve so much more than that, so here we go, let’s attempt putting this stunning novel in to words. 

Going in to ‘Instructions for Dancing‘, I believed this to be a cutesy romance between two teenagers, after meeting at a dance studio – WRONG. This is in fact, not a love story as such, because Evie does not believe in love. Evie’s parents are no longer together and have destroyed every bit of faith she had towards romance. Goodbye to all of Evie’s beloved romance books, goodbye to taking a chance on love. At a time where Evie needed to believe in love more than ever, she was granted the powers to foresee the future of all couples she caught kissing. Whilst the visions of their past and present were delightful and promising, their futures told a story that would devastate both involved, making Evie realise that no one was ever capable of having a happy ending. All happy relationships were eventually set to end. So, when a mysterious woman passes her on a dance manual, with a studio address, Evie is thrown in to a whirlwind of either taking a chance on love once more or allowing this new curse to affect her life forever. Or at least until she learns her lesson, that’s usually how these things go, right?

As mentioned prior, this book is not the lovey-dovey storyline the book cover gives off and strongly explores grief, not necessarily for death as such, but more for love. Throughout the story, Evie is grieving the father she had once admired and loved, before he left the family and moved on to another. Her anger exudes from witnessing her father’s betrayal first-hand and having to keep the secret from her youngest sister, which no one at Evie’s age should have to carry by themselves. We also see the impact and grief one can feel from the loss of friendships. Nicola really does an incredible job within exploring the many aspects of grief that people can experience throughout their lives, and also the many aspects of love. Nicola is sure to portray how wonderful love can be, whilst also showing the messy side that many of us try to avoid or are afraid of. 

I absolutely adored following the blossoming friendship between Evie and X, along with the many beautiful characters woven within their lives – they bonded in many ways that had me smiling from cheek to cheek and knowing how devastated Evie currently is, X appeared at the most perfect time. He showed her what joys can come out of life and that love is worth risking, no matter the heartache that may come out of it in the end. X experiences some tragedy of his own within the book and not only does he teach Evie, but he also teaches the readers, that life is too short to hold grudges against those you love, because in certain circumstances, you may never get a second chance to make amends – forgiveness is extremely important. 

There was a moment nearing the end of the book, in which I had an idea of where Evie and X’s story was heading, however, it punched me in the gut harder than I ever thought it possibly could. In fact, when I had finally clicked on to what was going to happen in the near future, I had to slowly put my kindle down, take a breather and wipe a few tears that had managed to escape. When I got to the final page of this book, I pretty much just wanted to stare at a wall and cry for the entire evening and even still, my mind hasn’t comprehended those final chapters. For readers who are familiar with Nicola’s work, you will know not to expect rainbows and sunshine’s, so for the new readers, this is just a heads up to prepare for what is about to come your way and I pre-warn you to also try to protect your heart as much as possible, because it will break!

Instruction for Dancing is an enchanting and captivating read, that will end up consuming your entire mind for days after you have finished it. In fact, I bought a paperback copy and will honestly admit, sometimes I just pick the book up and hug it because I just can’t get over it. This is truly a masterpiece, that deserves all the love and attention it can possibly get, including a movie… give me a movie version now!! Not that physically watching Evie and X go through all that they go through is going to be any less painful, I will absolutely sob my little heart out seeing it all come to life, but this is what we deserve!! 

Shelby x

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