Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Meredith Goldstein
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Maya’s summer is going incredibly well. She has the perfect boyfriend, Whit, a great internship at MIT, and amazing coworkers and friends, Kyle and Yael. But Maya wishes she could have shared this last summer before college with her mom, a scientist at MIT who died earlier that year. In her will, she left all her research notebooks to Maya, and until this point Maya hasn’t wanted to look through them. After Whit dumps her unexpectedly, she opens a few boxes of research and finds an experiment she never expected. Her mom was working on a love serum—a love serum that could help her win Whit back! Together with her mom’s research assistant, Maya takes the serum herself and documents the effects it has on Kyle (a friend), Asher (a stranger), and lastly, Whit (an ex). But seemingly simple experiments on paper tend to get a lot messier in real life, and Maya is left with more questions than answers. Sometimes matters of love can’t be solved using an experiment.
Chemistry Lessons is meant to be a fun, young adult romance and not a primer on how to create a good science experiment. It does achieve some cute moments between Maya and all the boys she experiments on and some heart-felt feelings of shared grief with her father. However, scientific and romantic minds alike will have moments of confusion throughout, especially regarding the setup and execution of the love serum. Though Maya has good intentions with the experiment, she does seem a bit careless when it comes to the feelings of others, which can be frustrating at times. Chemistry Lessons had an interesting premise, but fell a little short of its potential. It is meant for an older teen audience, as there is severe language and moderate sexual content throughout.
*Contains severe language, moderate sexual content, and mild alcohol/drug references.