Review of Instructions for Dancing

Instructions for Dancing
by Nicola Yoon
High School    Delacorte    304 pp.    g
6/21    978-1-5247-1896-1    $19.99
Library ed.  978-1-5247-1897-8    $22.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1898-5    $10.99

When her parents get a divorce due to her dad’s infidelity, Evie is thoroughly disillusioned with the notion of love. A chance encounter while disposing of her romance novels results in her obtaining a book titled Instructions for Dancing that gives her the ability to foresee the fate of any couple she happens to see kissing. With the book’s help, she finds herself at a dance studio, where she is swept up in learning ballroom dance. As her new dance partner becomes her love interest, Evie, burdened with upsetting information, begins to explore whether love is ultimately worth the pain it can potentially cause. While the romantic and fantastical elements of the premise seem light, Yoon’s (Everything, Everything, rev. 11/15; The Sun Is Also a Star, rev. 11/16) novel includes thoughtful messages about loss, grief, and the power of love. At times joyous and heartwarming, this emotional roller coaster of a story also has moments of melancholy and sorrow, and it ends with a bittersweet conclusion, much as readers may root for happily-ever-after. But as Evie sees stories of love and eventual heartbreak and weighs the cost of falling in love, she eventually learns just to enjoy the dance.

From the September/October 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Monique Harris

Monique Harris is a public educator, reading specialist and independent educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Simmons University, and is enrolled in a PhD program at Florida State University.

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