ARC Review: Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra

Title: Symptoms of a Heartbreak
Author: Sona Charaipotra
Publisher: Imprint
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hardcover, 304 Pages
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2019

Summary: Fresh from med school, sixteen-year-old medical prodigy Saira arrives for her first day at her new job: treating children with cancer. She’s always had to balance family and friendships with her celebrity as the Girl Genius―but she’s never had to prove herself to skeptical adult co-workers while adjusting to real life-and-death stakes. And working in the same hospital as her mother certainly isn’t making things any easier. But life gets complicated when Saira finds herself falling in love with a patient: a cute teen boy who’s been diagnosed with cancer. And when she risks her brand new career to try to improve his chances, it could cost her everything. It turns out “heartbreak” is the one thing she still doesn’t know how to treat.

I received an advanced copy of Symptoms of a Heartbreak during BookExpo this year, after a Fierce Reads blogger event which was so super cool. I hadn't heard of the book before it was handed to me, but as soon as I learned that Fierce Reads was publishing a YA contemporary about the youngest, most badass doctor in America, I knew it was something I wanted to read. So without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, Saira is only sixteen years old, but she finds herself in the position of being the youngest doctor in America. This, of course, comes with her own set of challenges -- she is completely missing out on the high school experience (which she isn't sure is such a bad thing), some of her patients don't think she's capable, the other doctors feel threatened by her or look down on her, and there's also the fact that she works in the same hospital as her mom. Then, to make things worse, Saira finds herself falling for a patient -- which is frowned upon regardless, but she's not sure if this is her first big love, and things get way more complicated than she ever expected, on more than the Girl Genius front.

I definitely enjoyed reading this book. All of the characters in the story were so well fleshed out, unique, and funny. And the descriptions of all of the food Dadi made ended up making my mouth water the entire time I was reading! But perhaps the biggest thing that I enjoyed about this book was watching Saira charge forward with her life and her career even though there were mountains of people that doubted her. She was super badass and really inspiring. Talk about chasing your dream and not letting anybody else doubt you!

However, as much as I loved Saira's character, I also had a hard time with some of the decisions she made. There were several times throughout the book where she acknowledged that she was making a bad decision, or doing something that could get her fired or in trouble, but she continued to do it anyway. Or she'd open her mouth and say some pretty mean or nasty things, not caring about the consequences, just because she could. I didn't mind those instances in particular, in fact a lot of the time they were really funny or gripping, but after the nine hundreth time of Saira making a decision that she knows will screw her over and then it does, in fact, screw her over, and she then can't seem to believe that things are falling apart, I was kind of like...seriously? But that may just have been my own reading style, and that may not bother others the way it seemed to distract me from the book a little bit!

[Spoilers in this paragraph; skip to the next paragraph to avoid them!] Another thing that I had a little bit of a hard time with was the way that the ending felt a little bit rushed. The book seems to drag on for 80% of the narrative, with things all seeming to miraculously come together and get tied up neatly right at the very end. Including the part where Davis suddenly goes from sabotaging Saira's career to going off on a whole monologue about how much she always admired her and how much she reminds her of her wife. I was just like...what? Where did this come from? It felt like it was a little bit too out of left field, in a way that jarred me from the narrative a little bit.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Symptoms of a Heartbreak, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quick read to breeze through -- being only 300 pages, the time flew for me! I also thought the story itself was something exciting, and seeing all of the antics that Saira managed to get up to as the youngest doctor in America was fascinating. I'm glad that Fierce Reads gave me the opportunity to attend their event and receive -- and then go on to read -- this book, and I'd love to read more of Sona Charaipotra's work in the future!


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