Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Careful Undressing of Love Hardcover – January 31, 2017
|New from||Used from|
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Lorna Ryder is a Devonairre Girl, identifiable by her long hair and the keys she wears around her neck. It's 2008, and she and her mother live in Brooklyn, on Devonairre Street, which has supposedly been cursed ever since World War II, when none of the street's men returned home. Women living on Devonairre are warned from childhood that loving a man or boy will doom him to an early death, and this seems to have come true for Lorna's mother as well as for the other Devonairre women who lost husbands in The Bombings, anonymous terrorist strikes on New York City much like those on 9/11. The accidental death of Jack, the boyfriend of one of the Devonairre Girls, seems only to prove the curse's validity. The young women are told that they must perform certain rituals and behave in certain ways (thus the long hair, the keys, and more) in order to mitigate the curse's effects. But as Lorna and her mother both fall in love, they begin to question whether the curse is real, and they dare to defy the expectations of how they should behave. This is an often lyrical reflection on love, sexuality, death, mourning, and how human beings attempt to rationalize and control tragic events. The elements of magical realism and the beautifully detailed descriptions of an alternate version of New York City make this a standout. VERDICT This complex novel would be a good choice for a book discussion group or for those looking for a substantive, poetic YA read.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
"The Careful Undressing of Love is a book you relax into. For the first few pages, you’re picky, trying to sort Haydu’s magical world from our real one, and then it just takes you over. It’s weird until it’s not, and then it’s an examination of love and legacy and family, and the things girls do when we back them into corners and blame them for being there in the first place."—#1 New York Times bestselling author E. K. Johnston
"Haydu explores such themes as differingexpressions of grief, destiny versus free will, the unexamined expectation thata girl will love a boy, and the interrelation (or lack thereof ) between sex and love.The slight magical realism and parallel-world setting add to this wrenching novel’s lyricism—and make the pain somewhat easier to bear."—The Horn Book Magazine
"A carefully layered exploration of the age-old question, "Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?"—Kirkus
"Both straightforward and lyrical, this is a compelling read, a decidedly ambiguous portrayal of love that will resonate with those tired of formulaic romances."—Booklist
"Heartbreakingly beautiful and haunting, Haydu holds your heart in her hands as you travel through the pages of this story."—Romantic Times, Top Pick.
"The Careful Undressing of Love is sad and strange and beautiful. I will be marveling over Corey Ann Haydu's writing for days to come."—Johanna Albrecht, bookseller at Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.
Praise for Corey Ann Haydu
★ "Haydu explores a sweet, unconventional romance alongside her characters’ well-known (but little-understood) disorder. Heartwarming, frequently funny, and wholly honest, this debut novel is, well, compulsively readable." — Horn Book, starred review of OCD Love Story
★ “Witty, affecting, and ferociously individual."
— BCCB, starred review of OCD Love Story
“Tender, wise, and heartbreakingly lovely, this story is as brilliant as a stolen star, and every bit as magical. Prepare to be enchanted.”
— Katherine Applegate, Newbery-award winning author on Rules for Stealing Stars
★ “Haydu masterfully portrays the stress of living with an alcoholic parent…. A well-crafted blend of realism and fantasy. Give to fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Counting By 7s and Sarah Weeks’s So B It.”
-School Library Journal, starred review of Rules for Stealing Stars
Top Customer Reviews
I want to start off talking about the plot. I don't do this to spoil anything for you or bore you ad nauseum. I think it's important to what I say later on in the review. None of this is a spoiler, as there is so much more depth and exploration left in the novel when you read it.
The girls of Devonairre street have lived under the confines of a supposed Curse for more than 75 years. For the protection of others, the elders on the street have mandated traditions and rituals that residents must abide by, often leading to what others might consider strange behavior and appearance. (i.e. Wool protects your heart, lemons help with grief, honeycake and tea on birthdays, always wear a key around your neck, don't cut your hair, turn the lights on outside at night always, and never ever let Angelika find love on you.)
Lorna, Delilah, Cruz, Isla, and Charlotte think the Curse isn't real—something that's they always been told exists but couldn't possibly be true. Every boy a Devonairre street girl falls for will die. Their beliefs are tested when Delilah's boyfriend dies, who is also someone they all care about. His death rocks them to their core and forces each of them to revaluate what they've always been told. Lorna's refusal to believe in the Curse doesn't change until she starts to fall in love for the first time. Is her own love a weapon and could this person die because of her?
The other interesting aspect of this book is the reimagined world Haydu has created. The novel is set in 2008, seven years after an event called the "Times Square Bombing". What happened and why isn't really explored—and isn't relevant—but the discussion of the After is what's at issue in this book. Usually amidst tragedy, we focus on who died, but here the nation places a lot of emphasis on who's left behind and who this tragedy affected. The family members of the victims are called the Affected, even going as far as teaching children the names of the Affected and their histories. There are thought-provoking questions posted on how we as a society handle grief and loss and also how we copy individually.
Like I mentioned earlier, Haydu's writing is hauntingly beautiful. There were several moments that I just had to pause and read passages again. Haydu effortlessly weaves relevant teen issues into this story was great.
What I really liked about this book—and what I hope teen readers will draw from this book—is the parallel this book draws to growing up. Our main characters have lived their whole life with this belief system imposed on them because of where they live and what they've been told. They haven't really questioned it until now. We have all been there in some capacity. When you reach a certain age, you naturally come into yourself and your own identity by questioning the constructs around you and developing your own belief systems.
I wish we would have gotten a little more background on the Curse, aside from what was given, as well as a little more resolution on that end. Like the characters, the readers are given a lot of information and just asked to believe it and I found myself wanting to know more, just to have a little more foundation.
* I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Dutton Books for Young Readers for this early copy.
"When there's nothing left to salvage, we have to save ourselves."
Everyone knows that Devonairre Street in Brooklyn is cursed. Being loved by a Devonairre Street girl ends in tragedy. Just look at the number of war widows on the street or the concentration of Affected families left without husbands and fathers after the Times Square Bombing in 2001.
Lorna Ryder and her mother have never put much stock in the curse even though they pretend to play along. Lorna celebrates a shared birthday along with Cruz, his sister Isla, Charlotte, and Delilah. She keeps her hair long and wears a key around her neck. She does everything she is supposed to just the way Angelika has advised since Lorna was a child.
But none of it seems to be enough when Delilah's boyfriend Jack is killed in the wake of the grief and confusion surrounding another terrorist attack across the country. Lorna and her friends are shocked by Jack's sudden death. Grieving and shaken, Lorna has to decide what this new loss means about the veracity of the curse and her own future as a part of Devonairre Street and away from it in The Careful Undressing of Love (2017) by Corey Ann Haydu.
The Careful Undressing of Love is Haydu's latest standalone YA novel. Lorna narrates this novel with a breezy nonchalance which soon turns to fear and doubt as everything she previously believed about love and the curse on Devonairre Street is thrown into question. The style and tone work well with Haydu's world building to create an alternate history that is simultaneously timeless and strikingly immediate.
Haydu's characters are realistically inclusive and diverse. An argument could be made that it's problematic that Delilah and Isla (the Devonairre Street girls who are not white) are the ones who suffer more over the course of this novel filled with loss and snap judgements by an insensitive public. But the same argument could be made that privilege makes this outcome sadly inevitable--a contradiction that Lorna notes herself when she begins to unpack her own privileges of being white contrasted with the burdens she has under the weight of the supposed curse and living as one of the Affected.
This story is complicated and filled with philosophical questions about grief and fear as well as love and feminism. While there is room for a bit more closure, the fate of Devonairre Street and its residents ultimately becomes irrelevant compated with Lorna's need to break away to protect herself and her own future.
A quiet, wrenching story about the bonds of love and friendship and the ways in which they can break; a commentary on the stresses and pressures of being a girl in the modern world; and a story about self-preservation first. The Careful Undressing of Love is smart and strange, frank and raw, and devastating. Highly recommended.
Possible Pairings: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee, Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, The Truth Commission by Susan Juby, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I fell in love with the cover and the sort of odd synopsis and I was certain it was going to be my sort...Read more