Love & Other Carnivorous Plants
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Freshman year at college 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.
Praise For Love & Other Carnivorous Plants…
A 2019 Rainbow Book List Selection
*"A pitch-perfect take on what happens when the future you imagined doesn't live up to expectations.... This genuinely funny novel about some harrowing topics manages to balance humor and pathos perfectly. Readers who connected with J.J. Johnson's Believarexic or Sam J. Miller's The Art of Starving will want this book, as well as the many John Green fans who crave intelligent stories that occupy both shadow and light."
—Booklist, starred review
"Fans of Sarah Dessen will appreciate Danny's relatable and realistic journey. A must-have sharp, powerful, and witty immersion into the complexities of sexual identity and mental health."—School Library Journal
"Gonsalves juggles multiple serious adolescent challenges with operatic verve--eating disorders, substance abuse, sexual awakening and orientation, mental health, grief... A feel-good debut sure to interest teens looking to feel better about not feeling so great."
"Gonsalves realistically conveys Danny's wide range of emotions... Her most profound realization comes through accepting that she can live her life on her own terms and that she need not have it all figured out quite yet."—Publishers Weekly
"Self-deprecating, witty.... As funny as it is painful."
"A hilarious, thoughtful novel of trying to figure out loving other people when it hurts, and loving yourself when it's impossible."—Teenreads.com
"Will appeal to students who deal with anxiety and the pressures of life that many teens face."—School Library Connection
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316436724, 352pp.
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. The novel opens with a Leonard Cohen lyric, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Why do you think the author chose this quotation?
2. Danny claims, “I’m fantastic at putting things in a brain drawer and losing track of them entirely” (page 2). What does she mean? How can this skill backfire?
3. Although Danny considers Sara her best friend, their relationship has experienced some turmoil. How do their coping mechanisms and communication skills differ?
4. When Danny was at St. John’s, Bugg passed her notes containing the Mary Oliver poem “Wild Geese,” which you can fi nd on page 104. What do you think of the poem? How does it relate to Danny’s mental state?
5. How did you react when Danny found out Sara had died? Did it change the way you view the first half of the novel and Sara as a character? Why or why not?
6. When Bugg catches Danny binge eating and drinking, she says, “There’s a distinct line between carefree and dangerous” (page 227). Do you agree? Why is this line sometimes difficult to identify or why not?
7. How does Danny eventually make peace with Sara?
8. Why is Danny afraid to tell her parents about her relationship with Bugg even though she knows they are progressive people?
9. Despite her excitement to travel the world with Bugg, why does Danny eventually decide she needs to return home? What is the Undiagnosable Place where she says she must go?
10. The novel ends with Danny’s credo, “Dandelion Theory.” Which of the guidelines stand out to you in particular?
11. Even though Danny has started college, the novel is still considered a young adult book. Why do you think that is? What are some themes that might differentiate a YA novel from an adult novel about a young person? Do you think the distinction is important?