A darkly funny debut for fans of Becky Albertalli, Matthew Quick, and Ned Vizzini about a nineteen-year-old girl who’s consumed by love, grief, and the many-tentacled beast of self-destructive behavior.
Freshman year at Harvard was the most anticlimactic year of Danny’s life. She’s failing pre-med and drifting apart from her best friend. One by one, Danny is losing all the underpinnings of her identity. When she finds herself attracted to an older, edgy girl who she met in rehab for an eating disorder, she finally feels like she might be finding a new sense of self. But when tragedy strikes, her self-destructive tendencies come back to haunt her as she struggles to discover who that self really is. With a starkly memorable voice that’s at turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Love and Other Carnivorous Plants brilliantly captures the painful turning point between an adolescence that’s slipping away and the overwhelming uncertainty of the future.
Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Strong sexual themes, Underage drinking, Smoking, Marijuana, Eating disorders, Alcohol abuse
Booklist starred (February 15, 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 12))
Grades 9-12. Danny and Sara had a plan—best friends forever, stretching from kindergarten to old age, with a stint at college in between. But when Danny gets into Harvard, the plan derails, and so does the girls’ joined-at-the-hip status. However, this is only part of the reason Danny can’t tell Sara the truth about her freshman year: struggling with classes, developing an eating disorder, and going through a treatment program that introduced her to the girl she just can’t get out of her head—and who seems to pop up when she’s least expected. Gonsalves’ debut is a pitch-perfect take on what happens when the future you imagined doesn’t live up to expectations, and every misstep seems to unravel the person you thought you’d become. A heartbreaking twist raises the stakes of Danny’s transformative personal journey, but the struggle of holding on to an old friendship while discovering a new version of yourself should resonate with any reader. This genuinely funny novel about some harrowing topics manages to balance humor and pathos perfectly. Readers who connected with J. J. Johnson’s Believarexic (2015) or Sam J. Miller’s The Art of Starving (2017) will want this book, as will the many John Green fans who crave intelligent stories that occupy both shadow and light.
Kirkus Reviews (March 1, 2018)
When the life plan she’d laid out implodes, a college freshman finds herself having to regroup.On the surface, snarky protagonist/narrator Dandelion “Danny” Berkowitz seems destined to succeed: The attractive, upper-middle-class high school valedictorian has returned home from Harvard for the summer, ready to reconnect with her popular, equally overachieving, tennis-obsessed best friend, Sara. Unbeknownst to Sara or anyone else in their circle of friends, however, Danny spent second semester at a clinic undergoing in-patient treatment for an eating disorder and anxiety. Along with the internalized fear of failure both teens wrestle with privately, Sara has been saving face by keeping secrets of her own, spelling tragic consequences for their friendship. A turning point comes when Danny enters a romantic relationship with a mutual female friend without telling Sara, who then makes insensitive remarks about another girl who is a lesbian. Gonsalves juggles multiple serious adolescent challenges with operatic verve—eating disorders, substance abuse, sexual awakening and orientation, mental health, grief—and the resulting bildungsroman proves engaging and enlightening, particularly in her realistic depiction of compulsive behaviors related to food. All characters are assumed white. A feel-good debut sure to interest teens looking to feel better about not feeling so great. (author’s note, resource list) (Fiction. 14-18)
About the Author
Florence graduated from Dartmouth College in 2015 with a major in philosophy. Upon getting her diploma, she promptly abandoned Kant and after numerous jobs and internships pursued her lifelong dream of becoming a novelist.
Her website is www.florencegonsalves.com/
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