Let me first start off by saying, I love Nicola Yoon’s works. I read The Sun is also a Star a couple of years ago, I fell in love with the complete environment and I wanted more!
I received Everything is Everything for my birthday shortly after and I also enjoyed that heartaching story. I’ve been waiting for her next book to be published, so I was tickled when I saw this come though my IG feed and even more so to see it available via NetGalley. I couldn’t wait until June!
This story was a welcomed escape and the best part is that it combined my love of reading and dancing! It’s a sweet teen romance, that’s smart, witty, and vulnerable. There’s a sprinkling of mysticism to make the story just a little magical. A former avid romance fan, Evie (Yvette) is no longer keen on the genre after discovering her father’s affair. She’s navigating new territory as her parents divorce and the fact that she’s about to graduate high school. There’s no way that she can take the heartache of love. As she purges her romance collection into a little free library (cute reference!), she comes across a mysterious woman and after this encounter, Evie discovers that she has the gift to see couple’s love stories. On this journey, Evie is led to the La Brea Dance school where she’s paired up with X (Xavier) to compete in a dance competition. In many fun and spirited scenes, Evie acknowledges that she may be living through one of her romance novels. But the big question is, can she allow herself to fall in love?
Nicola Yoon has a way with incorporating the culture and the atmosphere of the story’s location. While New York City played a big role in The Sun is also a Star, Los Angeles was a big part of Instructions for Dancing. During the current COVID conditions, where travel isn’t possible, seeing LA and the nearby beach scene through the characters’ eyes was a delightful adventure. I also appreciated her incorporation of cuisine into the storyline, although I was disappointed to learn that there is no big Taco Tuesday night in real life. (Not yet, anyways!) Yoon does an amazing job of humanizing parents and normalizing family dynamics from a teen’s perspective in her stories. Everyone’s family is different, but many have similar struggles. Yoon pulled at my heartstrings and evoked that gut wrenching feeling that is teen love and life. Especially the melancholy, excited, and restless feelings seniors experience as you approach a big inflection point, like High School Graduation. On a technical note, I’m not a ballroom dancer, but I feel like the story captured the essence and the feeling I get from watching Dancing with the Stars or other dance competitions. Both of Yoon’s previous books have been turned into movies, I would love to see this translated onto the big screen.
I highly recommend this novel. I was given access to an electronic copy via NetGalley for this honest review.