The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

The Careful Undressing of Love

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 thou...

Title:The Careful Undressing of Love
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0399186735
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:288 pages

The Careful Undressing of Love Reviews

  • Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
    Mar 01, 2017

    Oh my heart. I've just finished The Careful Undressing of Love and yet again I'm in awe of Corey and her beautiful writing. Wow! Delightfully strange & magical.

  • Korrina  (OwlCrate)
    May 28, 2017

    3.5 stars. The writing was good, and it kept my interest all the way through. But I felt the ending was a little weak and rushed, and made me wonder what the point of it all was.

  • Emily May
    Dec 20, 2016

    This is why magical realism is one of my favourite genres. As with books like

    , this too captures a unique modern-day fairy tale feeling, set in a recognizable Brooklyn neighbourhood, yet full of

    .

    paints a p

    This is why magical realism is one of my favourite genres. As with books like

    , this too captures a unique modern-day fairy tale feeling, set in a recognizable Brooklyn neighbourhood, yet full of

    .

    paints a picture of a world that is almost - but not quite - our own. After a bombing in New York City claims the lives of the men of Devonairre Street, it is said that the Devonairre Street girls are cursed. They are encouraged to grow their hair, wear keys around their necks, and most importantly NEVER fall in love with a boy - because any boy they fall in love with will die, whether they love them back or not.

    Haydu crafts a beautiful, tight-knit little world of hysteria, suspicion and grief. Lorna's coming-of-age and examination of love and relationships is, quite literally, a careful undressing of what love is and just exactly what it is worth. With

    , the author captures the intensity of first loves and the kind of friendship groups where it is impossible to separate one from the others. As Lorna explains, she is not just Lorna, she's a part of LornaCruzCharlotteDelilahIsla.

    Identity issues surface throughout the novel as Lorna tries to redefine herself beyond the limits and expectations that others have set for her. It's a strange book, that's for sure, but it is driven by a strong cast of characters and just the right hint of magic in the air.

    As the story unfolds, Lorna is made to question herself and her feelings over and over. Her grief for her father is a constant undercurrent, as is the "Otherness" that surrounds the Devonairre Street girls. It's a gorgeous tale about youth, friendship and defining yourself, as well as a look at the ways we make symbols of others - as victims, as heroes, or martyrs - and our obsession with fate and destiny.

    Despite the use of "boys" in the book's premise,

    is not as heteronormative as it first appears. Its

    includes a lesbian romance, as well as African-American Delilah, and the Puerto Rican Cruz and Isla (Lorna and Charlotte seem to be white).

    A truly beautiful book; both in its rich descriptions and in the subtle messages it imparts.

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  • Alexa
    Dec 07, 2016

    Dreamy and eloquent, Corey Ann Haydu's latest novel is as gorgeously written as all her other work. Tackling themes of love and grief, of community and change, it was lovely and it was odd and it was all too compelling to stop turning pages once I had started. While I'm still not certain how I feel about the way it ends, I still very much think this is another book from Haydu that is worth the read (as all of her books are).

  • Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss (book blog)
    Sep 28, 2016

    THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE is a haunting, atmospheric, and romantic coming-of-age novel with an interesting twist. Haydu's writing is particularly noteworthy, along with the unique backstory and reimagined version of Brooklyn. If

    ,

    , and

    had a book love child, The Careful Undressing of Love would be it.

    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

    THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE is a haunting, atmospheric, and romantic coming-of-age novel with an interesting twist. Haydu's writing is particularly noteworthy, along with the unique backstory and reimagined version of Brooklyn. If

    ,

    , and

    had a book love child, The Careful Undressing of Love would be it.

    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

    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

    left behind and who this tragedy affected. The family members of the victims are called

    , 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.

    ****************

    ★★

    ****************

  • Stacee
    Dec 03, 2016

    I think 2 stars might be too many. I struggled with this book.

    I fell in love with the cover and the sort of odd synopsis and I was certain it was going to be my sort of book.

    Right off the bat, I was confused. It felt like I had been dropped in the middle of a story. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be magical realism or a mild dystopia or just old world superstition. And I think that's what lost me...

    I didn't really care for any of the characters, so I couldn't connect to them. I thought abo

    I think 2 stars might be too many. I struggled with this book.

    I fell in love with the cover and the sort of odd synopsis and I was certain it was going to be my sort of book.

    Right off the bat, I was confused. It felt like I had been dropped in the middle of a story. I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be magical realism or a mild dystopia or just old world superstition. And I think that's what lost me...

    I didn't really care for any of the characters, so I couldn't connect to them. I thought about DNFing, but then I would read a section of lovely prose and I would get hooked back in. Yet I'm not sure what I was waiting for.

    Obviously by the high reviews, I'm in the minority. I can see how people will love it, but it wasn't for me.

    **Huge thanks to Dutton Books and Edelweiss for providing the arc free of charge**

  • Natalie
    Dec 23, 2016

    This was such a quick read, almost impossible to put down. I wasn't sure at first if I would read this, but then without noticing I was twenty pages in and feeling invested, so then I had to keep going. And now here we are.

    follows the Devonairre Street Girls and their eccentric little community in Brooklyn that has experienced an unusual n

    This was such a quick read, almost impossible to put down. I wasn't sure at first if I would read this, but then without noticing I was twenty pages in and feeling invested, so then I had to keep going. And now here we are.

    follows the Devonairre Street Girls and their eccentric little community in Brooklyn that has experienced an unusual number of tragedies, which everyone refers to as the Curse. And 75-year-old Angelika Koza is always there to remind them of it.

    It kind of reminds me of Blue’s curse in

    , where she has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. But the Devonairre Street Girls don't believe in their curse, or at least that's what they tell themselves...

    I loved the magical realism in here. Their curse also brought up in my mind the question of “is it better to have loved and lost or never loved at all?” I still don't know what my answer is or will be.

    Honestly, this book had me so enthralled that upon looking out of my window, I felt surprised that Angelika Koza wasn’t lurking and judging me from across the street. She knows something extra about the world. And I can still hear her voice shoving in

    .

    Also, to keep track of the characters, here's a list of the their quirks that I initially loved:

    • Delilah James with her made-up sayings. I’ll try to remember each and every one.

    • Lorna Ryder with her ability to hear her mother’s heart. Oh, and who loves thinking only about herself...more on that later.

    • Isla Rodriguez is an unstoppable force. She's also the youngest of them all but growing up the fastest.

    • Charlotte, who's together with Cruz Rodriguez, doesn't seem to have any kind of life in her until something happens that I'll talk about later on.

    Oh, and this book addresses white-privilege, which yes, please:

    I kept thinking of this:

    From here on I want to discuss some

    stuff

    The book also tackles Lorna's grief after she lost her father in the Times Square Bombing almost seven years ago. The portrayal of her grief felt so real and personal and specific, and I’m still reeling.

    But then... then this book took a turn down the wrong lane for me. A truly wrong turn when Lorna decides to cheat multiple times on her boyfriend with Cruz, who's still with Charlotte. However, the book comes up with a convenient way for our hetero heroine to get rid of all her hetero guilt.

    I love how Lorna remembers this fact when it's convenient for her, because the minute her lips are on Cruz’s she all, “Charlotte who?”

    Also, I'm kind of livid at how this was all played out to make the herione feel OK for cheating. I was so excited about the possibility of a f/f relationship featuring in here, but making it seem like plot-twist is just not how you do it. I had to take a breather after that to calm down over how angry I was.

    There are so few f/f romances out there in YA books, and I was so, so excited when I heard it was going to play a part in here. But it didn't. It only appeared over 220 pages in (out of 288), and then it was only presented as a twist so that the main white, hetero character wouldn't feel guilty for kissing her friend's boyfriend. UGH. This is just such harmful representation when your whole novel is straight as fuck. Can't we have even one good thing this year???

    After that I quickly came to realize just how self-centred Lorna acts all the damn time. She lives in this bubble of “I’m so special and everyone loves or wants to be me.” And I’m like, “....people literally do not give two fucks about whether you speak or not.” Similar to what Nisha said,

    I just hate, hate, hate that Lorna was the center of this novel, when there were so many more deserving souls... like Delilah.

    should have been told through Delilah's eyes, not Lorna's pretentious ones. Especially once you consider the fact that

    . We mainly see how Lorna is hurting, and I'm like.... okay....

    This novel started out fantastic, but it petered out after Jack’s sudden death. And after that straight nonsense, I was out. I can't even hide how disappointed I am. I was truly excited when I started and read the first 150 pages, but I can't get over how the whole aforementioned situation was played. You don't use f/f romances like that. You just don't.

    ,

  • Kristina Horner
    Jul 22, 2017

    This was a bizarre book. I really enjoyed it, especially the small hints we got about a somewhat dystopian version of future America, while that was merely an undercurrent of the book.

    I love books that play with the space between fantasy and not.

    Was the curse real? Was it not?

    The only reason I docked the book a star was because I was hoping for a little bit more out of the ending, or possibly a different one entirely. But I think Lorna had to grapple with never having what she wanted, so leavin

    This was a bizarre book. I really enjoyed it, especially the small hints we got about a somewhat dystopian version of future America, while that was merely an undercurrent of the book.

    I love books that play with the space between fantasy and not.

    Was the curse real? Was it not?

    The only reason I docked the book a star was because I was hoping for a little bit more out of the ending, or possibly a different one entirely. But I think Lorna had to grapple with never having what she wanted, so leaving me as the reader feeling that way too was actually pretty effective.

    I need a bit more time to ponder this one. But I will say I've never read a book quite like it.


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