Saturday, February 17, 2018

Chemistry Lessons, by Meredith Goldstein ARC

Hey all!
I recently finished reading Chemistry Lessons, by Meredith Goldstein!
Oh look, I finished this book right on time for Valentine's day
Note: I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley! This does not affect my opinion on the storyline, plot, writing, or any other point of interest. Thank you for sending it to me!
This will be published on June 19th, 2018 

"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?"

This book was not what I expected, in any way! You have Maya, a student working on her internship before joining MIT to study epigenetics. Her mother died and dedicated her laboratory research to her - using a love interest's genes to alter your own genes to increase attraction via pheromones. Maya continues on this work on her own, testing the formula on three test subject - her friend, a stranger, and her ex. This secret project makes her realize the value of personal relationships of all kinds, and tests her in many situations that may happen to anyone.

This book was easily readable - it was smooth, there were no empty chapters, and the scientific ideas were easy understandable and well explained. Easy-reading contemporaries make for really nice summer reads!

I did have a little problem when it comes to the plot of the book, at first. It struck me as odd that the main character saw nothing strange in altering her own chemical signature in order to see if unknowing test subjects would feel any unusual romantic attraction to her. As someone who even finds online dating to be an uncomfortable idea, her lack of realization in the ethics of the experiment surprised me. Not only that, but as a scientist, it was obvious to me that the experiment had many flaws, namely the lack of regularity in the experiments. Her friend Bryan often had the same mindset as I did throughout the book, regarding Maya' s actions and decisions. However, Maya realizes all of this by the end of the book, and makes it up to everyone in various ways. This redeemed the book for me, however did not get rid of the fact that the first 90% of the book seemed odd both ethically and scientifically.

The book was overall a very light read. Where some contemporaries are heavy on mental illness or other topics, this was simply a college girl science-ing the hell out of trying to get back with her ex, and growing on the way. It was a cute, light read, good for anyone who wants to read something that is technically a science fiction but is disguised in a contemporary form. The mix of sub-genres including science, family, theater, love and growing up was a lovely blend that showed that anyone can find themselves in this story.

Finally, I appreciated the realism of the side characters in this book - they were a good representation of the people you may meet in college. Diverse characters, the best friend, the flamboyant guy who doesn't mind who he spends time with at a party, the unrealized crush, the one having a hard time getting over their ex, the ambitious one... it made it easy to find a place in the book as a reader!

I'm giving this book a 3.5/5 Feathers! 

Stay bookish! 


  1. Huh, the synopsis sounds like it's a very cute read! Though I will admit, using yourself as the first test subject to see if chemistry can alter your emotions is a bit strange... What if it goes horribly wrong? What if it affects not only your own life, but the lives of others in ways you can't fix? Haha, sorry, it seems I'm always asking the hard questions in ethics "^^

    1. This book is definitely an ethical question all in itself, but it is all resolved by the end :) I think you would enjoy it, actually!


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