Instructions for Dancing, by Nicola Yoon | arc review

Hello! I can’t believe that it’s already the last day of May, but I’m so excited for June. I’m going to finish 8th grade in a couple weeks (which means I’ll start high school in the fall, which I’m not at all ready for), and I’m really excited for summer. There are a ton of amazing books coming out in June, and I am incredibly lucky to have been able to read an advance copy of one, Instructions for Dancing, by Nicola Yoon. I read Nicola Yoon’s other two books years ago, and was thrilled to find out that there was another coming out! Instructions for Dancing is an really wonderful book, and I’m very excited to share my thoughts on it!

Instructions for Dancing

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: June 1st, 2021

Genre: Young adult, contemporary romance

Storygraph | Goodreads


#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with her eagerly anticipated third novel. With all the heart and hope of her last two books, this is an utterly unique romance.

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?

I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion and my review.

I was planning on having Instructions for Dancing be my last book of May, and a happy, upbeat, contemporary romance. I read and loved Nicola Yoon’s other two books, but I think I forgot how sad they really are. Or maybe they just aren’t as devastating as this one.

I loved every second of Instructions for Dancing. It’s a beautifully written book, with amazing characters, wonderful representation and diversity, and an engaging plot.

I read the synopsis of this book months ago, when I first requested it, but I never went back to it, so when I started reading, I went into the book completely blind, with no idea of what the plot really was. That ended up being the best way for me to read it, as I wasn’t anticipating anything, just going along the journey of the characters.

Evie, the main character is a brutally realistic and raw person. A teenage girl going through her own struggles, falling out of love with books, and is struggling to find joy in her life, especially with her parents’ divorce, which happened prior to the events of the book.

“I grab my bike and head out and tell myself I’m not in a romance novel.”

Dancing, specifically ballroom dancing becomes really important to Evie, and as a teenager who loves to dance, I really felt how it could be an escape for her, and how it gave her something to focus on with her life.

I think one of the most painful parts of the book for me was how through her parents’ divorce, Evie was falling out of love with her books, most specifically her contemporary romances (a genre I live for). With her parents splitting up, Evie has trouble believing in any love. She even at one point says she no longer believes in OTPs (one true pairing) something I was deeply offended by. Percabeth, Kanej, Wesper, Solangelo, Helnik, and Zoyalai are mine, and those couples are true soulmates. Argue with me if you want, but they are all meant for each other. Especially Percabeth.

“Books don’t work their magic on me anymore.”

Evie’s relationship with her sister, Danica, made me so happy!! It’s not perfect, but nothing is, and how they worked through their differences, and really came together made me so happy, no matter how minor a part of the book it was.

Evie’s relationship with her best friends, Sophie, Cassidy, and Martin also made me so happy to read. The four first became friends in middle school, and I loved learning about their history. They don’t always get along perfectly, but that’s what makes reading about their friendship so fun, and so realistic.

Nicola Yoon’s writing in this book is so beautiful. Poetic at times, and at others, straight up making fun of teen texting.

“Cassidy: Lemme get this straight. The v hot rocker invited u 2 c him play his guitar & sing his songs with his band @ his v first gig in LA?
Martin: Jesus, Cassidy, would it kill you to write the words out? I just had to read that five times
Cassidy: F U”

I mean it’s not wrong so I can’t really complain. But the writing is truly incredible. A more eloquent example would be this passage.

“It’s hard to completely hate someone who loves someone you love. She loves Dad. I can’t deny that. Just like I can’t deny that I still love him.”


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.

Website | Goodreads

Overall, I loved this book, and recommend it to every single person out there. From the writing to the plot, to the characters, Nicola Yoon nails every aspect of the novel.

Instructions for Dancing broke me in all the right ways, and any review I might write could never do the book justice. I did my best though, and hopefully it will be enough to convince you to pick up a copy of the book, when it comes out tomorrow, June 1st!

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read any books by Nicola Yoon? Do you want to read Instructions for Dancing? Chat with me in the comments below!

5 thoughts on “Instructions for Dancing, by Nicola Yoon | arc review

  1. ahh I’m so glad you enjoyed this, aria!! 💕 I read Everything Everything long back but I didn’t really like the plot twist or the book as much as I wanted to, so I was a bit hesitant to add this one to my tbr. But I’ve seen people write so many good things about this so I’m gonna give it a try 🙂
    Lovely review 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that Nicola Yoon has really improved in writing over her books, and I liked Instructions for Dancing even more than the other two. I also didn’t love the Everything Everything plot twist, but Instructions for Dancing is much better!!
      Thank you so much 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

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