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All booksYoung adultInstructions for Dancing
Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Young adult

Instructions for Dancing

Repeat author
Nicola Yoon is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include The Sun Is Also a Star.

by Nicola Yoon

Quick take

Thanks to a life-changing book, a girl finds love and renewed purpose on the dance floor after her parents' divorce.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Teen


Why I love it

Syed Masood
Author, The Bad Muslim Discount

What do you look for in a book? There are readers who want an escape. Others want a page-turner. Some read in the hopes of experiencing raw and real emotions. I don’t look for any of those things. At least, I don’t look for them first. But we’ll get to that.

What’s remarkable about Instructions for Dancing is that no matter what kind of reader you are, you’ll find something for yourself in it. It’s about a teenager named Evie Thomas, who has lost her faith in love. Her doubts become certain when she begins to magically see the history and future of every couple who kisses in front of her. Through these visions Evie realizes that there are no fairy tale endings.

Perhaps reasonably she considers giving up on relationships until she meets the confident and seemingly carefree musician X at a dance studio and attempts not to fall for him. After all, he’s got heartbreaker written all over him, and if love isn’t forever, then what’s the point?

The answer to that question is the heart of this book, but that isn’t why I read it in one afternoon. That happened because of the writing. You see, I look for books which make me feel like there is a possibility that within their pages is a sentence so beautiful and true that I’ll wish I’d written it. Nicola Yoon’s writing promises that and delivers. Once, I even took a picture of the text, because I didn’t want to forget a sentence I’d found. That’s why I loved Instructions for Dancing. That’s why you should read it.

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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?

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Get an early look from the first pages of Instructions for Dancing.

Member thoughts

All (5897)
All (5897)
Love (3259)
Like (2387)
Dislike (251)
5961 ratings
  • 55% Love
  • 40% Like
  • 4% Dislike
  • Albuquerque, NM

    This book ::heart eyes emoji:: I read the whole thing in 2 sittings. Do yourself a favor and read it!!!! Ugh I wish I could read it all over again like it was the first time. ❤️❤️❤️ HIGHLY recommend.

  • Waterbury, CT

    Fast read about how love is all parts of a relationship: the beginning, the end & everything in between. Evie learns to live in the moment&that just because things end, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen

  • New Braunfels, TX

    “Instructions for Dancing” is also instructions on how to live your life - live in the moment. Evie is given the power to see the future - she focuses on heartbreak not love after her parents divorce.

  • Crozet, VA

    “If you get very, very lucky in this life, then you get to love another person so hard and so completely that when you lose them, it rips you apart.” Fast and fun read, pulled a heart string or two.

  • New Orleans, LA

    I don’t know what I expected, but I loved this book. It was pretty basic YA—maybe 4/5 stars. I loved the flow of the relationship I loved the incorporation of dance. Unrealistic? Sure. But powerful.

  • Manalapan, NJ

    This book should be titled “Instructions For Love”… It’s a story about falling in love and the choice whether or not to embrace it or to let it pass you by. This was a wonderfully emotional read.

  • Fort Collins, CO

    This book may inspire you to get up and dance, but will definitely have you reading just one more chapter. I couldn’t put it down and still hold onto the lessons for life and love found on every page.

  • Lexington , SC

    I love everything Nicola Yoon writes, but this is my favorite so far. X’s character is perfection and the entire premise of this book is so unique. The ending left me both heartbroken and full of love

  • Watertown, NY

    Another hit for Nicola Yoon! I love that the romance isn’t the only story line. Quick & easy read. Perfect choice after something heavy. I love that you get a what’s next vibe throughout the book.

  • Orlando, FL

    That was quite the unexpected tear jerker, but it was quite lovely. I actually picked it because the title reminded me of the (I thought) Peter Gabriel song, and it turned out to be an intentional nod

  • Loves Park, IL

    Everything about this one was lovely (aside from the cheating parent aspect) and I loved the MC & her superpower. Adored the friend group & Fifi was the most adorable character! Such a quick fun read!

  • Hope Mills , NC

    This one was a little different on what I usually read but it was very good. I’m glad they ended up together but sad that he will die in less than a year. Not enough time with someone. Great read.

  • Harlan, KY

    Great grumpy-sunshine romance with magic, and actual life lessons even jaded grown-ups need reminding of. Needed tissues. This isn't just tooth-rotting fluff. It's real, and raw and vulnerable, too.

  • Hoover, AL

    I read this book in 2 days because I couldn't put it down. It's a wonderful story about one girl's discovery of the complicated characteristics of love. The ending made me cry with a mix of hope.

  • Chesterfield , MI

    This book will have you feeling all the feels, some you didn't even know were possible to feel. This is the best rollercoaster of emotions! I didn't want it to end! Another A+ book for Nicola Yoon!

  • Tampa , FL

    I put this book off because it’s Young Adult, but came back to it when it was nominated for BOTY and I am so glad I did! Compelling, emotional, a great story, and a quick read. Loved this so much!

  • Indianapolis, IN

    This was a sweet and deep novel all at the same time, and I’m here for that! I love that Evie’s story started with a Little Free Library, and I loved watching her grow through pain and dancing.

  • Newport News, VA

    I have never fallen so in love with the main characters in a story before. I have never laughed out loud or cried as hard as I did while going on this journey. I have never loved a story so deeply.

  • Fletcher, NC

    Sweet, thoughtful, funny, and sad in a bittersweet and poignant way. Evie asks the question: Is it worth it to love? Even when you know and see love collapse all around you? The answer is powerful.

  • Kennewick, WA

    Yoon does it again! This is a sweet novel that plays with your feelings. It asks us to think about the value of love and friendship, about whether the middle parts are worth heartbreak at the end.

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