The Careful Undressing of Love

The Careful Undressing of Love

by Corey Ann Haydu

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Overview

The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

The girls of Devonairre Street have always been told they’re cursed. Any boy they love is certain to die too soon. But this is Brooklyn in 2008, and the curse is less a terror and more a lifestyle accessory—something funky and quaint that makes the girls from the shortest street in Brooklyn special. They wear their hair long and keys around their necks. People give them a second look and whisper “Devonairre” to their friends. But it’s not real. It won’t affect their futures.
 
Then Jack—their Jack, the one boy everyone loved—dies suddenly and violently. And now the curse seems not only real, but like the only thing that matters. All their bright futures have suddenly gone dark.
 
The Careful Undressing of Love is a disturbing and sensual story of the power of youth and the boundless mysteries of love set against the backdrop of Haydu’s brilliantly reimagined New York City.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399186745
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,051,356
File size: 849 KB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Corey Ann Haydu is the critically acclaimed author of several novels for young readers novels, including OCD Love Story, which earned her a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Her books have been Junior Library Guild, Indie Next, and BCCB Blue Ribbon selections. Corey lives in Brooklyn with her dog, her fiancé, and a wide selection of cheese.
www.coreyannhaydu.com


From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1.

Angelika grabs my face, stares into my eyes, and looks for signs of love.

Her hands are cool and stronger than I remember. It’s not the first time she has pressed them against my cheeks. She leans in so close I can smell leathery Aramis cologne on her neck. She wears it every day—says it reminds her of her late husband. It is a Devonairre Street smell. Like freshly watered mint and basil that I planted in the garden or just-smoked cigarettes on Charlotte’s stoop or my mother’s chemical hairspray.

I keep my eyes open and on Angelika, but I’m aching to slide my sunglasses over my face and disappear.

I don’t like the oversoft, worn texture of her hands or the way I can feel her wedding ring folded beneath her wrinkles.

She turns my face this way and that, like love might be hiding under my chin or behind my ear. She brings her fingers close to my eyes, pulling at them from below so they open a little wider. I shift my gaze skyward. Someone tied balloons to the rusting garden gate for the Shared Birthday, which comes every year at the beginning of April, and a few of them have freed themselves and are floating up, up, and away.

I think I wouldn’t mind being a red balloon against a blue Brooklyn sky, looking down over Devonairre Street.

Angelika moves a hand to my forehead. Beside me, Delilah sighs. She’s next. Angelika’s eyes close and her lips purse and she tilts her ear to the ground like she’s listening for an earthquake.

When her eyes open, she’s beaming. From a certain angle she looks almost young, but most of the time she looks even older than her seventy-five years. That’s what a lifetime on Devonairre Street does to a person, I guess.

I love it here in spite of Angelika and her minions and the crazy things they believe. Or maybe because of them.

She pats my cheek. It’s almost a whack. There’s power behind it. “Good girl,” she says before looking over at my mother. “Lorna’s not in love.” Her Polish accent lilts on the word love so it sounds like luhf. The accent itself is a mystery—she was born on the street to a Polish mother and an American father, but her voice carries her mother’s history instead of her father’s or her own.

When we ask her about it, Angelika only shrugs.

“I am my mother’s daughter,” she says. “We are all our mothers’ daughters, are we not?”

With Angelika, the only answer we are allowed is yes.

And it’s true. Or it is for me. I look at my mother. She raises her eyebrows and lets her eyes laugh while the rest of her stays serious. I echo the look. I’m always a little bit scared and a little bit delighted during the Shared Birthday.

“There is not even the littlest bit of love on your daughter,” Angelika says to my mother, who is across the garden, past the bench and the waterless fountain, by the opposite gate. My mother nods like it matters; Angelika nods back and pats the top of my head, telling me to step away so that the next girl can step forward.

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The Careful Undressing of Love 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
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**
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
"I've been waiting for one thing, but love can be anything." --- "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