cover image The Careful Undressing of Love

The Careful Undressing of Love

Corey Ann Haydu. Dutton, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-18673-8

Lorna’s Brooklyn street is great—everyone looks out for each other, especially in hard times. But it’s also cursed: when a woman on Devonairre Street loves a man, he dies young. Lorna and her friends only half believe in this curse, even though all of their mothers are widows, but when Lorna’s best friend Delilah’s boyfriend is killed, they can’t make light of it any longer. Haydu (Making Pretty) sets this story in a slightly counterfactual version of New York City, with Times Square as Ground Zero and a lingering focus on memorializing the victims and their families, rather than a retaliatory war. Lorna’s father died in “the Bombing,” as did the father of her friend and neighbor Cruz. She was 11, he was 12, and now—nearly seven years later—their friendship is starting to feel like love. There is a lot of dramatic potential, but it never fully pays off. Is the curse real? Can it be averted? By what sacrifices? Haydu offers no answers or resolution, and after a long buildup, the ending is both sudden and unsatisfying. Ages 14–up. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (Jan.)