Anyone who’s ever been unceremoniously dumped—i.e. most of us—will feel for Maya, the narrator of Meredith Goldstein’s wise and surprisingly moving young-adult novel, Chemistry Lessons ... To its great credit, Chemistry Lessons goes all in on the science and—refreshingly—with characters who aren’t stereotypically geeky. And while women scientists are underrepresented in real-life labs, not to mention in YA novels, Goldstein gives Maya an impressive cadre of female PhDs in her extended family. Even better, Goldstein embraces the lingua franca of the lab, and the reader learns a thing or three about epigenetics along the way. Like all good rom-coms, Chemistry Lessons sometimes teeters on the edge of plausibility ... And yet the beating heart of Chemistry Lessons has little to do with experiments, geography, or boys—really, it’s a beautiful book about grief ... Goldstein explores how a smart, funny narrator moves forward after unimaginable loss. The prose helps, too; Maya’s voice is both specific and stripped-down, well suited to her scientific sensibility ... For STEM-lovers or just the lovelorn, this charming novel is all the boost required.
I really wanted to connect with Chemistry Lessons. It's an exceptionally clever idea at heart, and it would probably make a great film premise. Film audiences tend to be a lot more forgiving when certain processes in the formula aren't explained, but as a scientifically-minded supernerd, I had difficulty. If you are not of the scientifically-minded supernerd persuasion, this might very well be the book for you. There are definitely jumping-off points for discussions on women in STEM, ethics in science, and proper scientific procedures. The formula looked good—but I wish the book hadn't felt so formulaic in its execution. It just wasn't the sort of Chemistry I was looking for.
Although the supporting cast is a little flat, Maya feels like a fully fleshed out character, confused and lost after her first breakup and floundering for a way out. She makes mistakes, owns up to them, and truly feels like a real person who would do anything to get their first love back ... Recommended purchase for a library with a romance fiction following, especially those who can't get enough of Sarah Dessen.
The resulting romantic chaos is predictable, but Maya’s emotional turmoil is realistic. Strong, winning friendships and budding mentorships outshine the summertime flings, where the 'chemistry' mandated by the plot fails to materialize for the reader. Although Maya is a clever, funny, and endearing heroine, neither her ex-boyfriend nor the other two candidates are convincingly worth falling for. Like a serum capable of inducing physical attraction but not meaningful emotion, a genuine connection cannot be forced.
In this novel of love and science, Goldstein plays with the possibility that romantic chemistry can be produced in a lab, and—once ingested—can foster an attraction that endures for decades ... Maya comes across as a rather distant narrator, but there is an intriguing premise at the heart of this romance, and Goldstein provides greater emotional weight as Maya comes to better understand her own grieving process and gain insight into the organic ebbs and flows of authentic love
Some fun, quirky details give the story and its characters a boost, but in general, there is little to distinguish this novel from the rest of the teenage breakup genre. The characters are entertaining yet predictable, the action is well-paced but predictable, the premise is mildly interesting yet....The book assumes a white default. Another teenager-with-a-dead-parent-gets-their-heart-broken tale