Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Review: The Careful Undressing of Love

The Careful Undressing of Love
Published By: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Page Count: 288
Source: ARC Received from Publisher at YA Day at Little Shop of Stories
Audience: Young Adult - Magical Realism

Lorna lives in Brooklyn in 2008, but its not the same 2008 we all know. 9/11 never happened in this revised history, but rather a bombing in Time Square ripped the world apart. To honor the victims, one of which was Lorna's Dad, the people have a moment of silence every Tuesday morning at 10:11 am. The preservation of this tradition is both a comfort and a curse for Lorna. It seems she can never outrun her tragedy. To make matters worse, Lorna's name and face is known throughout the US as school children and adults learn the names and stories of those who have lost love ones in tragedy. I have always thought learning about the victims and families is more valuable than knowing about the killer, but Lorna makes it clear that obscurity isn't always a bad thing. Lorna wants to be a normal teenager who hangs out with her friends, falls in love, and pursues her dreams, but her life is far more complicated that she would like.

The society Lorna lives in shares many characteristics with modern society, but there are subtle nuances aside from the revised history that make this a fascinating setting. It's almost as if something is hovering just on the edge of your sight line dancing out of the way every time you get too close. Perhaps it's part of the curse of Devonairre Street. The curse is what truly keeps Lorna and her friends rooted to their home. They have strange traditions and they go to lengths to avoid love, but none of them truly believe in the curse. The curse states that any girl who lives on Devonairre Street for longer than a year will forever be cursed - any boy she loves will die within 1-5 years. Everything changes the night a friend dies and the girls begin to consider the possibility that all the strange traditions and rituals are put in place to protect people.

Lorna can't quite decide if the curse is real or not, so as a result, you have to decide for yourself if the curse is based in fact or fiction. Love is rarely an easy path, but I can't imagine how much more difficult it would be if your love could cause someone's death. That's a lot of to have hanging over your head. The older widows on the street constantly preach about the need for sacrifice. Hubris is to blame for all the heartache on Devonairre Street. Lorna refuses to blindly accept  the street's legends. She wants to truly understand what's going on around her. She isn't drinking the Kool-Aid and joining the Stepford Club without a fight.

The Careful Undressing of Love is beautifully written, haunting, and thought provoking. Life and love are topics that have been explored in length throughout literature, but it amazes me that we still have so many questions about it. Perhaps we shall never solve such mysteries. I will just have to keep using my lemons for lemonade. 


One Last Gripe: It took some time to warm up to Lorna.

Favorite Thing About This Book: The street lore

First Sentence: When the Minute of Silence hits, I have a glass vase in my hands and I almost drop it.

Favorite Character: Cruz

Least Favorite Character: Angelika



Everyone who really knows Brooklyn knows Devonairre Street girls are different. They’re the ones you shouldn’t fall in love with. The ones with the curse. The ones who can get you killed.

Lorna Ryder is a Devonairre Street girl, and for years, paying lip service to the curse has been the small price of living in a neighborhood full of memories of her father, one of the thousands killed five years earlier in the 2001 Times Square Bombing. Then her best friend’s boyfriend is killed, and suddenly a city paralyzed by dread of another terrorist attack is obsessed with Devonairre Street and the price of falling in love.

Set in an America where recent history has followed a different path.

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