books and reading

Instructions for Dancing

Title: Instructions for Dancing

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: YA magical realism

PopSugar reading challenge prompt: a magical realism book

Thank you NetGalley for this book!

I have read one other Nicola Yoon book, The Sun is Also a┬áStar, which I absolutely loved. And I’ve been reading some heavy books as of late. So this little breath of fresh air was the perfect book. Much like Sun, this book is a great combo of light and heavy, love and heartbreak, fun and serious. I flew through this one in just a couple of days because I couldn’t stop reading. I absolutely loved it.

From Goodreads: 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?

Evie is such a fun character that I really related to. She has her one group of friends, doesn’t get out much, studies a lot, snarky, and smart. Her struggles are grounded in reality, and you really understand why she feels the way she does. X and Evie’s friends are a great support system, as well. Just kept giggling at this book in the best way. Young love is always so fun to read about when it is genuine and not full of stupid YA tropes. After reading two excellent books by Yoon, I’ll be reading anything else she writes.

books and reading

The Sun is Also a Star

Who doesn’t love a good Romeo and Juliet story? This one is a modern tale, taking place in NYC between a Jamaican teenage girl who is about to be deported and a Korean teen boy who is struggling with being put into a box by his parents. Natasha is literally being deported this very night, but she runs into Daniel first. They end up chatting and helping each other get out of some jams. Natasha is very skeptical of love at first sight, she’s a scientist at heart ruled by logic, but she can’t deny her connection to Daniel. He, however, is a poet at heart, totally believing he has been lovestruck and will do anything for Natasha, including helping her fight her deportation, even though she doesn’t reveal it to him until well into the book.

And, spoiler alert, this doesn’t end the same as Romeo and Juliet (no suicides, whew), but it doesn’t exactly end how you expect either. At least it was a bit of a surprise to me. Nicola Yoon has written a very sweet book with teens who aren’t the least bit annoying like many teens are portrayed in books these days. Natasha isn’t just a mushy girl who can’t think for herself. And even though Daniel is pretty starry-eyed for Natasha, he is brave and bold and can hold his own against her sometimes sharp tongue and skepticism.

This was a very quick read that left me giggling at how sweet these characters were toward each other. If the Romeo and Juliet story is one you enjoy, I recommend this book along with Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Both very sweet, delightful books.