Instructions for Dancing | By Nicola Yoon
Book Review | NetGalley E-Arc | YA Romance | TheWriteReads UltimateBlgotour
Narrative and Plot
Instructions for Dancing is a beautiful story about love and the strength to endure love. It is a heartwarming coming of age tale. We follow the main character Evie who is still processing her parents’ divorce and is trying to make sense of everything she ever believed. The narrative has all the innocence and angst of a teenager.
The plot isn’t the strongest suit of the story. The ebb and flow of the story is choreographed in a way that it has slow moments as well as fast ones. The element of surprise and heartbreak keeps you interested.
Characters and Conflicts
Evie seems like a relatable every day character. What she is going through is relatable to everyone. We all reach a point where we need to humanize our parents.
X is as much outlandish as Evie is real. He is your typical romance hero and the book calls it out. I loved that part. The chemistry between the main characters, the whole dance dynamic and the friend dynamics is amazing. It really gives out a dance movie vibe.
Now, here comes the tricky part. The conflict. To be honest, I saw it coming since the first act but didn’t think that it would take the obvious route. Guess what, it did!! There are two more things that kind of dimmed the otherwise bright book. First, using a character who loves classic references in YA books is becoming a pet peeve of mine. When I read a YA book as an adult, I want to read about their world and their references. What they grew up with. This is no comparison, but the perfect example is Katie in Waiting where she mentions how she grew up watching Disney’s Rapunzel. It is a reference that I get and a GenZ kid would get as well. Just because we want to use adult references doesn’t mean we have to impose that on the characters.
Secondly, the use of the same plot point to invoke a similar and even harsher emotional response from the reader doesn’t really work for me. You used it once and I fell for it as a reader. You try that a second time and now you have me pulled out of that magical world and back to thinking that is a repetition in the most pivotal moment of the story.
So yeah, if a book makes me feel so strongly then there is no doubt the writing impacted me deeply.
Instructions for Dancing is a one time choreography for me. There are many reasons for that. I am not a fan of tragedies and heartbreaks. You see, I read books to escape them. I no longer condone the idea of romanticizing the pain that comes with love. Here it is justified but I’m afraid it will give the wrong impression that the pain and heartbreak caused by a toxic relationship is worth it because of how romantic and poetic it is. Then again, these are the opinions of a particularly cynical adult. So take it in that sense, and never give up hope.
I received an e-Arc of the book from NetGalley in association with thewritereads ultimateblogtour