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Instructions for Dancing
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Instructions for Dancing
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AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "A charming, wholehearted love story that's sure to make readers swoon."—Entertainment Weekly "Nicola Yoon writes from the heart in this beautiful love...
AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "A charming, wholehearted love story that's sure to make readers swoon."—Entertainment Weekly "Nicola Yoon writes from the heart in this beautiful love...
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    "A charming, wholehearted love story that's sure to make readers swoon."—Entertainment Weekly

    "Nicola Yoon writes from the heart in this beautiful love story."—Good Morning America

    “It’s like an emotional gut punch—so beautiful and also heart-wrenching."—US Weekly

    In this romantic page-turner from the author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, Evie has the power to see other people’s romantic fateswhat will happen when she finally sees her own?

    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?


  • From the book

    Chapter 1 

    A Better Version of Me 

    Books don’t work their magic on me anymore. It used to be that if I was in a funk or in the barren hinterland between sad and mad, I could just pluck any random one from my favorites shelf and settle into my fuzzy pink chair for a good read. By chapter three—chapter four at the very latest—I’d be feeling better.

    These days, though, the books are nothing but letters arranged into correctly spelled words, arranged into grammatically correct sentences and well-structured paragraphs and thematically cohesive chapters. They’re no longer magical and transporting. 

    In a past life I was a librarian, so my books are arranged by genre. Until I started giving them away, the Contemporary Romance section was the biggest. My favorite of all time is Cupcakes and Kisses. I pull it down from my shelf and flip through it, giving it one last shot to be magical. The best scene is when the no-nonsense head chef and the sexy, constantly brooding line cook with the mysterious past have a food fight in the kitchen. They both end up covered in flour and icing. There’s kissing and a lot of dessert-related wordplay: 

    Sugar lips. 

    Sweet buns. 

    Sticky situations. 

    Six months ago this scene would have made me gooey inside. (See what I did there?)

    Now, though? Nothing. 

    And since the words haven’t changed from the last time I read them, I have to admit the problem isn’t the book.

    The problem is me. 

    I close the book and stack it on top of the others I’m giving away. One last trip to the library tomorrow and all my romances will be gone. 

    Just as I start putting them into my backpack, Mom pokes her head into my room. Her eyes travel a circuit from my face, down to the tower of books, up to the four empty rows on my shelf, and then back to my face. 

    She frowns and looks like she wants to say something, but then she doesn’t. Instead, she stretches out her hand and pushes her phone toward me. “It’s your father,” she says. 

    I shake my head so hard my braids whip around my face.

     She jabs the phone my way again. “Take it. Take it,” she mouths. 

    “No, no, no,” I mouth back.

    I’ve never seen two mimes arguing, but I imagine it would look something like this. 

    She moves out of the doorway and all the way into my room. I have just enough space to dart around her, so I do. I sprint down our small hallway and lock myself in the bathroom. 

    Mom’s inevitable knock comes ten seconds later. 

    I open the door. 

    She looks at me and sighs. 

    I sigh back at her. 

    Most of our communication these days comes in the form of these small exhalations. Hers are Frustrated and Long Suffering and Exasperated and Impatient and Disappointed.

    Mine are Confused. 

    “Yvette Antoinette Thomas,” she says. “How long are you going to keep this up?” 

    The answer to her question—and I think it’s a fair one—is forever. 

    Forever is how long I’m going to be angry at Dad. 

    Really, the better question is: Why isn’t she? 

    She slips the phone back into her apron pocket. There’s a dusting of flour on her forehead and some in her short Afro, making it look like she suddenly went gray. 

    “You giving away more books?” she asks. 

    I nod. 

    “You used to love them,” she says. The way she says it, you’d think I was setting them...

About the Author-

  • Nicola Yoon is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers The Sun Is Also a Star and Everything, Everything, both of which have been turned into major motion pictures. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist David Yoon, and their daughter. She’s also a hopeless romantic who firmly believes that you can fall in love in an instant and that it can last forever.


  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2021
    A girl's views on love and heartbreak are full of confusion--and then a dance book leads her to romance. High school senior Evie Thomas thought she had the perfect family until she caught her dad with another woman. Formerly a genuine romantic, she is devastated. Even as her mother and sister appear to move on, she leaves her romance novels at a Little Free Library, where she meets a mysterious woman who insists she take the book Instructions for Dancing. It leads her to a dance studio run by an elegant older couple who have an attractive grandson, Xavier, who goes by X. Evie and X start practicing to represent the studio in a dance contest--as well as spending time together off the dance floor building a connection that will improve their performance. Meantime, Evie has been having visions that show her when and how people's relationships will end. Despite herself, she falls for X and allows herself to reconcile with her father. Evie is guarded and careful while X is passionate and intrepid; both are likable characters whom readers will instantly love. Main characters in this richly textured novel featuring clever dialogue and expert pacing are Black; it includes diverse secondary characters who are interesting and fully realized. The elements of fabulism deliver an unexpected twist, presenting the question of whether love is worth the pain of loss. A remarkable, irresistible love story that will linger long after readers turn the final page. (Romance. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 19, 2021
    After her parents’ divorce, romance enthusiast Evie Thomas, 17, swears off love. Donating the last of her romance book collection in the process, she comes across a neighborhood library box and a mysterious woman who encourages her to take a book for herself. Evie doesn’t think much of the volume, Instruc-tions for Dancing, but realizes that something strange is occurring when she sees her sister, Danica, kissing her boyfriend, and has a vision of both how they got together and how they’ll break up. After Evie sees the romantic fates of other kissing couples, her best friend urges her to visit the “please return to” address in the book—the La Brea Dance studio. There, Evie is sucked in by the magnetic owners, fiery instructor Fifi and the owners’ grandson, X, and is persuaded to join the LA Danceball competition to help the studio gain clients. With X as her partner, she learns the steps to leading with her heart. With deadpan humor, realistically wrought relationships among the Black principal cast, and a well-executed fantastical element, Yoon (Everything, Everything) delivers a story of love’s unpredictability and the importance of perspective that unfolds with ease and heart. Ages 12–up. Agents: Sara Shandler and Joelle Hobeika, Alloy Entertainment.

  • Booklist

    May 1, 2021
    Grades 9-12 *Starred Review* After catching her dad cheating, Evie stopped believing in Happily Ever Afters, but when a trip to donate her romance-novel collection leads to an eerie encounter with a witchy old woman, Evie finds that she's been bestowed with a supernatural power: whenever she witnesses a couple kissing, she receives a vision of their entire relationship, from hopeful beginning to inevitable end. Her search for an explanation leads her to La Brea Dance studio, where she meets gorgeous, spontaneous aspiring rocker Xavier (or X), and the two are paired in an amateur dance contest. As Evie and X practice, they develop their undeniable chemistry, but Evie's visions--and her father's impending remarriage--continue to shake her faith in love. Yoon returns with another irresistible romance, this time with a metafictional look at the genre and a dash of magic that makes the proceedings all the more engaging--and fun. There may be nothing easier than slipping into Yoon's smooth, flowing prose and into the hearts of her characters. The story layers in Evie's troubling superpower, her reluctant crush, the dance competition, the changing relationships in her friend group, and the fallout with her father without stumbling or overcomplicating matters. And the resonance only grows when Evie and X share a climactic kiss on the dance floor and Evie's ensuing vision changes everything. An endearing, affecting exploration of the journey of love.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Everything Yoon touches turns to gold--and gets a film adaptation--and this cinematic supernatural romance will be no exception. Stock up!


  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from June 1, 2021

    Gr 7 Up-This heartfelt, swoon-worthy love story cements Yoon's reputation as a must-read writer of teen romance. High school senior Evie used to believe in love, with romance novels her favorite genre. But ever since she caught her father with another woman, she's given up on love in real life as well as in books. When she goes to donate these novels to a Little Free Library, she winds up with a book called Instructions for Dancing. This book leads her to a ballroom dance studio, and to an intriguing boy named X. His open heart, adventurous spirit, and personal philosophy to say "yes" to everything is the opposite of Evie's cynicism. Soon the pair are preparing for a ballroom dance competition, with their rehearsals slowly breaking down Evie's emotional walls. This seemingly straightforward love story is complicated by Evie's new psychic ability to see the beginning, middle, and end of the love story of every couple she sees. Surrounded by constant reminders that all romances come to an end, can she open her heart to X, knowing that even the greatest romances are finite? Evie and X's thoughtful, respectful relationship is engaging and easy to root for. Their conversations are fun, energetic, and wholly believable. Alongside the love story, Evie's personal journey toward a broader understanding of interpersonal relationships is satisfying and relatable. Evie and X are both Black; secondary characters have a variety of ethnicities. VERDICT This tender love story is sure to appeal to fans of Yoon's previous novels, as well as to anyone who enjoys a heartfelt romance. A sweet, genuine love story sure to pull on the heartstrings.-Ann Foster, Saskatoon P.L., Sask.

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Random House Children's Books
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