Instructions for Dancing by David Yoon, #116 review

Publication date: 3 June 2021

Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.

When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.

For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.

But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love?

This book is all over the place but it kinda works?

Evie doesn’t believe in love since her father cheated on her mother and they divorced. Since their marriage was a failure, her father a cheater, her mother holding herself together and her daughters one baked good at a time, she has been cynical and bitter. Hollowed out of happy feels, to put it simply.

Until, one bike ride leads her to a book – “Instructions for dancing”, at the back cover was a dance studio address. However, since meeting the strange old lady at the neighbourhood pop-up library, she started to have witchy powers that allowed her to see the romantic moments of couples! More specifically, how they met, their most ardent memory and how their love will end. As one clue leads to another and a meet-cute with a stranger at the dance studio jumpstarted her monochromatic heart.

To quote Evie’s best friend – 

Cassidy: Rockstars are not boys. They’re not even human. They’re a separate species.

Rockstar = X = Xavier.

OKAY, I have some issues with this book.

Starting with Evie.
The word cynical was invented after her. She is very passive-aggressive. She can go from being relatively cheerful to a downer in a namosecond. Very much like me actually. HAHA. That’s not my issue. My issue is that she says: Given enough time, all love stories turn into heartbreak stories.
Heartbreak = love + time. Poof comes X. Poofs goes away heartbreak. SNAP. Instant witchy potion to forget her heartbreak. For someone that swears off love, she falls in love pretty fast.

Next, X.
Talented singer, an awesome guitarist, bad boy image, in a rock band, writes his own songs, mates with everyone thanks to his charm, in touch with his feelings. You get it, the all-rounded, five-star rockstar that has a perfect silver lining attitude of a bad enough boy and a burst of golden sunshine. He was prefectly designed by Nicola to swoon your heart and Evie’s. That’s his purpose.


Okay, *stretches*, DAD.
Dad cheats on Mom. Dad spoils love for this daughter. Dad is a homewrecker. Dad is marrying women he cheated with. Dad is also a romantic that gives somewhat deep old timey poetic advice about love. How is this okay????

“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. I think the pain in the proof of a life well lived and love.”

“to love is human. we can help ourselves. the philosopher-poets say love is the answer, but it’s more than that. love is the question and the answer and the reason to ask in the first place. It’s everything. All of it.”

Obviously, he was not lucky, smart, in love enough in his first marriage to cheat!! After engaged to his cheater in crime, he wised up and put on his big boy pants?? That’s my issue with Dad.

And let’s talk about the women he is marrying. During the bridal shower, her mother said:

“When Shirley first told me she met a man…let’s just say I was skeptical.”

Another round of mm-hmms and laughter.
I sit up straighter. It’s weird hearing someone else talk about Dad like he belongs to them.

“But I said to Shirley that I would keep my mind open when I met him. And when I did meet him, I told him I was going to be hard to please.” She smiles down at Shirley. “But, miracle of miracles, he pleased me. First of all, he’s a good man. A family man. I’m so glad to have two new grandchildren to fuss over.”


Cheating and indirectly appreciating cheating is something I do not care for in the book. The title suggests that there is a lot to do with dance, there is maybe 40% of it, the rest are friendships, family love, romance, cute fluff scenes, banter, some grief (especially for me). The build-up to the dance competition was slow and underwhelming. I was surprised that the coverage of the competition was little, I was hoping for some insider BTS perspective of a dance competition. This truly is a fluff read. Read it with a dry sponge of a mind to absorb the cuteness and bubbly feels. Then, it will be a feel-good contemporary romance. I have mixed thoughts about this book. There are some quotes that I really love and some issues that need to be addressed.

Two of my favourite quotes are:

“People who say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all have never really loved anyone and never really lost anyone either.”

“The problem with broken hearts isn’t that they kill you. It’s that they don’t.”

Thank you to Times Reads for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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