2014’s Love is the Drug is my first exposure to the works of Alaya Dawn Johnson.
If her mother has anything to say about the matter, seventeen-year-old Emily Bird is destined for an Ivy League university, to be followed by a suitable career and marriage. Anything that might threaten the grand design — looking too black for white people’s comfort, insufficiently exalted grades, any hint that Emily takes after her un-ambitious uncle, any hint of an interest in the Wrong Sort of Boy — earns firm parental disapproval. Nothing is going to come in the way of the right sort of life for Emily: not the terrorist-spread flu sweeping the world, not alluring bad boys like Emily’s fellow student Coffee, and certainly not Emily’s own preferences.
So far the grand plan has worked: Emily’s grades are good, she is demure and well-behaved, and her boyfriend Paul is just the sort of ambitious, well-connected boy Emily deserves.
The plan holds together until the night of the party.
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