Review 1.0 - Instructions for Dancing - a novel by Nicola Yoon
A review by Tabitha Clark
Yoon’s newest book, and 3rd novel, is a swinging showstopper and is dancing above the clouds in praise! The new young adult books display the ups, downs and turnarounds of the wonderous world of romance of which to be found or never be found. It’s your choice to delve into the depths of wonder or stay as far away as humanly possible.
If I learnt anything from reading this book it’s that you can love many times over but it’s never a pretty ending.
Evie Thomas knows that love doesn’t last. She knows it. She’s seen it when couples kiss. She sees the whole process. The beginning of their relationship, the wonders of it and finally the heartbreak or a pitiful ending. But when Evie meets X at La Brea Dance Studio she finds herself wondering if love is worth the risk. And if she is willing to take it.
Rating books has never been something I’ve been a fan of. If you like a book, you like it. However this book took me on a whirlwind adventure over the course of the summer and had me captivated. I loved almost everything which for me makes it a solid 4.5/5 stars.
My thoughts and feelings -
Personally I loved it. Every second of it had me wanting more - the best sort of book in my opinion. I didn’t just manage to consume it in just over a day for nothing.
The characters really knew and had their place. Evie was a great main character and didn’t fall into the whole ‘I’m not like other girls’ category. She had a certain sort of charisma behind her that made us love her from start to finish and feel for her in every way. Our side characters were all wonderfully fleshed out, especially Fifi. She was the backbone of humour and she played off she knew nothing so well. Finally, Xavier or as he prefers - X, is a rockstar, a bad boy and our very, in my personal opinion, boring love interest. Is he boring? Yes. Does the romance trope we see happen in other books? Yes! But twists and turns are a good friend to any new book!
As someone who has already read Yoon’s other two books it is clear to see magic, even if only a little bit, is not a common occurrence. I did enjoy the element of magic however it did seem a bit out of the blue. However after reading past it you can see it was necessary for the story to continue and was a good addition to the plot. The addition of a ‘magic’ library definately had other avid readers quaking.
Dance was quite a large part of the book which is to be expected, hence the name, ‘Instructions for Dancing.’ I enjoyed learning about all the different types of ballroom dancing such as Bachata, Salsa, West Coast Swing and the Argentine Tango! It was quite a change reading about Ballet - a more common dance style in books - or even learning fantasy realms. It provided a certain delight and eventful tone which Yoon’s writing even more perfected.
This book definitely made me laugh in places, especially Fifi. The touch of warm light-hearted comedy made it almost seem as if you were home and knew these people personally. Due to this actions do certainly have consequences in this book. Word of warning to new readers: if reading out or near people don’t laugh out loud - you will be stared at.
Yoon’s writing style is something I will never get over after having had the opportunity to read her other 2 books. I can clearly see that she has a set style. The jumps between texting, description, song lyrics and general dialogue is in perfect balance and when all brought together tells us a beautiful story set in the modern day.
I also feel that one thing Yoon does well is representation in books. Yoon herself is Jamaican - American and one thing you see in her books is People of Colour representation - especially of her own ethnicity due to the severe lack of diversity in modern literature. As well as this she includes many aspects of today’s society by incorparating Queer relationships via Evie’s best friends as well as developing on the hopeless romantic feat that many people (especially common readers) have known to grow and love.
If I took anything away from this book it would probably be that everything ends but it’s okay to take risks. Living life to the fullest is the best way to do it!
Should you read it?
This is a perfect fictional contemporary for ages 11 - 17. It’s a perfect short novel to get your teeth into that’s not overly complicated on any level. It’s too late for a summer read but it can make for a good read all year round!
There are many things to take away from books and many people tell you to read classics to do so but all books have meaning and strong valuable lessons can be learnt because of this.
If you like young romance, dance or just want to try something new; it’s a great place to start. And it may be romance but I give you fair warning.
Anyone can fall in love with Yoon’s work. I certainly know I did! Give it a go!