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?
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, a talented MIT-bound scientist, follows in the footsteps of her mother, also an MIT scientist, who recently died of cancer. When Whit, Maya's long-term boyfriend, breaks up with her for another girl, Maya is desperate to find a way to rekindle their romance. She turns to her late mother's secret research a serum that acts like a love potion, making the person who takes it suddenly attracted to the person who gives it to him or her. Maya convinces Ann, her mother's former lab assistant, to help her with the experiment, and Ann agrees on the condition that Maya broadens the research by trying the serum on three subjects, not just Whit. 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. Ages 12 up.