Book Review: The Careful Undressing of Love, Corey Ann Haydu

The Careful Undressing of LoveThe Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary: 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.

Review: If there was something I genuinely liked about this book, it was the portrayal of grief throughout.
Through the whole book, even I was feeling Lorna’s grief for her father and Jack. Her pain was practically palpable, and very well written. The prose through the book was beautiful and didn’t seem too over the top.

Unfortunately, that was one of the only things I enjoyed.

I couldn’t connect to any of the characters. Lorna, the protagonist, was truly self-absorbed. She didn’t spare a thought to how her friends might be feeling, or how her mother might be feeling, because the whole time, she was just focusing on herself. And, she somehow thought she could just cheat on her boyfriend with Cruz just because “she never loved him.”

Last time I checked, cheating on your boyfriend wasn’t okay even if you two weren’t in love.

Isla was barely there, except for at the end, where she was basically just a plot device. One thing I really disliked was how the fallout from her suicide and the other Devonairre Girls’ attempts was never shown- that was kind of important, so I would have liked to see it at least acknowledged.

Charlotte was present even less than Isla, and in the end, her romance with Nisha was just used to make Lorna feel okay about cheating with Cruz. After all, if both partners are cheating on each other with the person they really love, it’s not bad then, right?

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Delilah was the most interesting character, for me. It was interesting to see how she reacted to Jack’s death, since she truly loved him. Her becoming more and more like Angelika was definitely creepy and unnerving, and it really seemed like she was slowly losing her mind. The book could have been better if it was from Delilah’s perspective.

Cruz didn’t really have much of a personality, but I seriously hated how he could stand to just cheat on Charlotte like that.

(And, after that reveal at the end about Lorna’s mother, I was seriously left thinking this: is everyone in this book a terrible person?)

Angelika…she seemed like she was supposed to be at least a little sympathetic, and I did get her motivation, but she also felt like she was kind of evil just for the sake of being evil. There wasn’t really much to her.

The plot was definitely interesting, but I have so many questions. Why did the bombings happen? Who did them? Was the curse actually real? Why does everyone think the Devonairre Street Girls are so special and different? What’s with all the weird traditions of the street? What happened between the last chapter and the epilogue?

I just wish more was explained. The magical realism was great, but it just left me with so many questions.

All in all, this could have been a good book. It almost was, but the execution was a little off.

View all my reviews

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