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Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra
Young adult

Symptoms of a Heartbreak

by Sona Charaipotra

Quick take

Light, cute, and wonderfully fun. A 16-year-old prodigy manages her medical career and also a love life. No big deal.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LightRead

    Light read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LOL



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.

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Free sample

Check out a preview of Symptoms of a Heartbreak.

Why I love it

As someone with a low tolerance for danger and a highly developed sense of self preservation, I tend to avoid anything that might land me in the hospital. Rickety roller coasters? No thanks! Sky-diving? Hard pass! That is, until I started reading Symptoms of a Heartbreak, a book that catapults readers right into the terrifying territory of … a 16-year-old doctor’s office.

The book follows Saira Sehgal, aka “Dr. Girl Genius,” a teenage medical prodigy and oncologist-in-training. Saira spends her days reading charts, meeting with patients, and trying to steer clear of her less-than-laid-back mother—who also happens to be the head of her department. But when Saira starts falling for a very charming (but very off-limits) cancer patient, she finds herself risking everything to raise his chances of survival.

Reading this book is like hanging out with that super talented friend you want to envy, but who is just too darn lovable not to adore. I laughed at her “prognoses” for obnoxious coworkers. I rooted for her budding romance with skater-boy Link. I was enraged on her behalf at the disrespect she endured because of her age. And I felt sad alongside her as she learned about terminal patients. This is a moving story that will please ER and romance fans alike—and if you too fear donning that papery hospital smock, take it from me, this endearing contemporary love story is oh so worth it.

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Member ratings (297)

  • Savannah S.

    New Albany, IN

    Very cute. Her journey as a "baby" doctor to someone who can be respected in the field is a transition that's hard enough, let alone when you're still young & falling for a patient! You feel for her!

  • Laura H.

    Washington, DC

    With real-life scenarios -- an American teenager unable to afford chemo starts a GoFundMe -- this novel unexpectedly touched my heart. Loved the insights into Indian-American food & culture. Fun!

  • Jeni W.

    tivoli, NY

    I really enjoyed the characters in this story and the complexities of being a young Dr who is so advanced and yet, still totally a kid. I laughed and cried a lot.

  • Mary B.

    Steubenville, OH

    I really enjoyed this one! I had a few minor issues with it, but overall a great read.

  • Katherine K.

    Winterville, NC

    Loved this one! A fairly quick read, but fun take on the teenage genius archetype.