I received this book for free from NetGalley, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Chemistry Lessons by Meredith Goldstein
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on June 19th 2018
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Science & Technology, Social Themes, Dating & Sex
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon // The Book Depository
From advice columnist Meredith Goldstein, a dazzling, romantic, and emotionally resonant YA debut about a teen science whiz in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who tries to crack the chemical equation for lasting love and instead wreaks havoc on herself and the boys in her life.For seventeen-year-old Maya, the equation for happiness is simple: a dream internship at MIT + two new science nerd friends + a perfect boyfriend = one amazing summer. Then Whit dumps her out of the blue. Maya is miserable until she discovers that her scientist mother, before she died, was conducting research on manipulating pheromones to enhance human attraction. If Maya can finish her mother’s work, maybe she can get Whit back. But when her experiment creates chaos in her love life, she realizes that maybe love and loss can’t be understood using the scientific method. Can she learn to trust the unmeasurables of love and attraction instead?
i was so so so excited about this one because even though i’m not super into science anymore, it just sounded so nerdy and adorable that i knew i had to read it. i’ve never even considered manipulating pheromones to attract romantic interests, so i was psyched to read about something new. and summer contemporary + promise of romance + girl crushing it in stem? sign me tf up.
and while all of that was as awesome as i expected, i completely did not click with the characters. specifically, maya. ’cause first of all, he dUMPED YOU GIRL WYD!!!! for a really really crappy reason & to this moment i am still unclear why her first reaction was not to throw some dirt at his face but to conduct a semi-illegal experiment to win him back. maybe she’s brilliant in the field of science but i just wanted to scream at her for being so dense in most of the novel.
and also, she kind of just annoyed me in general i guess? there were many moments where maya would say something like “wow i’m not your average 17-year-old b/c i know so much about epigenetics, probably even more than the average mit admit” or whatever which just. ok. your mom was the head of a lab at mit, so of course you’ve had a lot more opportunity and access to information about epigenetics! get off your high horse. (side note: i can’t actually remember if epigenetics was the field of science her mom specialized in but i think so). it just came across as somewhat entitled and spoiled to me and ticked me off a bit.
as for the other characters, i just didn’t really feel a connection with any of them. i really liked yael but i kind of felt like a lot of the relationships were somewhat superficial just to serve the plot. ex. asher was the wattpad-esque celebrity guy to show how unknowingly attractive the m.c. is, ann was the big scary mentor who eventually warmed up, bryan was the cliched gay best friend who was always there to support with some sass and never really had an arc of his own besides being really good at theatre . . .
with all that being said, i still found the novel to be pretty entertaining overall. it was a really quick read and everything kinda wrapped up nicely and the way i expected it to, so i finished the novel with a wholesome & satisfied feeling. maybe it wasn’t my favorite book ever, but i could definitely see why someone else might love it. so maybe if you’re looking for something to add to your summer reading list, keep an eye out at your local bookshelves on june 19, 2018!