Instructions for Dancing

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Instructions for Dancing
Author(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
June 01, 2021
ISBN
978-1524718961
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THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The critically acclaimed author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star 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?

Editor review

1 review
beautiful read about romance, family, and personal growth
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING is an engaging YA contemporary about romance, family, and coming of age. Evie stopped believing in love when her parents' marriage ended with an affair. Now, she wants nothing to do with her father, and she has no interest in love for herself, her friends, or her family. This includes the romance books that used to be her favorites, and she is taking some of them to a little free library to pass along. A mysterious woman comes up and chats with her about them, insisting she must also take a book, as those are the rules of LFLs. The only book that is not hers to take is "Instructions for Dancing."

Not long after, she sees her sister kissing her current boyfriend, and suddenly, she is watching a movie of their romance from the start to present to the future when they breakup. When what she saw later comes to pass, Evie knows she has a new, witchy skill around romance, something she has no interest in. When she discusses with her BFF, Martin, he suggests that she needs to go with the flow and check out the studio in the book she was told to take by the mysterious woman.

As she does, she enters the world of ballroom dancing and continues to see snapshots of everyone's romances when they kiss. What Evie notices most is the way they all end, and she is not ready to take a chance on her handsome and talented dance partner.

What I loved: This book was completely riveting - the storyline really kept me hooked, between the magic, ballroom dancing, and romances. The touch of magic was really interesting, and I loved watching the relationship snapshots that Evie sees. It's passive (she cannot change anything), but they show so many different types of beginnings and endings that I really loved it. Add that to the tidbits about Evie's favorite romance novels, and this was a really great showcase of love. Also, as a romance reader, I found a lot of the lists and discussions around romance novels to be particularly entertaining.

The characters were really compelling as well. Evie has a lot to work through with the way her parents' marriage ended and her views on relationships. She is grieving the life she lost and the disillusionment of those changes. During the book, Evie really starts to realize more about the people who are important to her and forgiveness. There is a lot of character growth, particularly towards the end of the book that was really beautiful. The other characters, particularly those at the studio, were also really fantastic. I fell in love with all of them.

The romance was really lovely. Evie and X (Xavier) were both dealing with their own grief and reactions to it, and together, they are able to support each other and grow so much apart and together. I was definitely cheering for them all the way through, and I cried at one particular scene that I won't share to avoid spoilers. This was all the feels.

Final verdict: So much more than a love story, INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING is a beautiful YA contemporary about romance, family, and character growth with a touch of magic. Highly recommend for fans of INSTANT KARMA, THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END, and DON'T DATE ROSA SANTOS.
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