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Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra

Young adult

Symptoms of a Heartbreak

by Sona Charaipotra

Excellent choice

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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, Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Light_Read

    Light read

  • Illustrated icon, LOL

    LOL

Synopsis

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.

Free sample

Check out a preview of Symptoms of a Heartbreak.

Symptoms of a Heartbreak

Chapter 1

It's 7:30, and it's all going smoothly.

Paperwork: done.

Shower: complete.

First-Day Pants and Blouse selected: clean and classic.

White coat: ironed and safe in its dry-cleaning bag.

Loafers: stiff and polished.

Laptop and phone: charged.

Briefcase: prepped.

Everything just right. Or it was, anyway.

And then, there she is.

Mom. That familiar knock. Only about an hour too late.

I’ve just slicked down my hair again—this July heat triggers the frizz, inevitably—when she starts pounding on my bedroom door.

I look at my smartwatch. Yup, 7:43. If I actually relied on her to get me up on time, I’d be so very late.

“Saira, beta! Time to get up,” my mother singsongs just outside my door. “Dadima made paranthe!”

“Mom, I don’t have time.”

“Of course you have time. Your dadima made you a special first-day breakfast, and you absolutely will eat it.”

I sigh. I better get dressed. I’ve already been up for hours—three to be precise—but I didn’t get dressed yet because I don’t want to wrinkle my clothes. I mean, it’s my first day. I’ve had a lot of first days on my path to becoming a doctor, but this is a pretty damn important one. I want to be ready. I need to be ready.

I walk over to the bed where I’ve laid out my perfect First Day as a Real Doctor Outfit: a mauve button-down shirt and gray slacks—a picture of Harper tucked into the left back pocket as a reminder—along with black loafers and the same plain, small gold hoop earrings I always wear.

But my outfit’s not there. I mean, like, it was there twenty minutes ago when I got into the shower. And now it is GONE.

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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.

Member ratings (309)

  • 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!

  • Isabella M.

    colonia, NJ

    Was left with a bit of a cliffhanger but overall amazing book that captivated so much of myself and my dreams. Would definitely recommend to those who want a good heartfelt book to read.

  • Jeni W.

    Germantown, 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.

  • Laurel M.

    Ledyard, CT

    I thought this was such an interesting book. I loved being able to see the characters progress and deal with things that kids normally don’t have to deal with.

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Young adult
View all
Ruthless Vows
What the River Knows
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow
Dragonfruit
The Reappearance of Rachel Price
Gwen & Art Are Not in Love
Check & Mate
Divine Rivals
Foul Lady Fortune
Anna K Away
I Must Betray You
A Wilderness of Stars
Warrior Girl Unearthed
Bloodmarked
Instructions for Dancing
These Violent Delights
The Boy in the Red Dress
Color Me In
Not So Pure and Simple
Throw Like a Girl
Frankly in Love
The Queen of Nothing
Wayward Son
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
Anna K
Patron Saints of Nothing
The Kingdom of Back
Yes No Maybe So
Looking for Alaska
Permanent Record
Full Disclosure
Oasis
Where the World Ends
I Have No Secrets
Song of the Crimson Flower
When the Stars Lead to You
All the Bright Places
Saving Zoë
Hello Girls
Symptoms of a Heartbreak
All of Us with Wings
The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World
Past Perfect Life
There's Something About Sweetie
Again, But Better
Sky Without Stars
How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom
Night Music
Shout
The Deceivers
The Astonishing Color of After
Top Ten
Turtles All the Way Down
Little & Lion
A Million Junes
And We're Off
The Sun Is Also a Star
Salt to the Sea