cover image The DNA of You and Me

The DNA of You and Me

Andrea Rothman. Morrow, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-285781-1

This sharp debut from Rothman, a former research associate at the Rockefeller University in New York, sets a bittersweet love story within the cut-throat world of academic research, a great pairing she explores with heart, smarts, and a lot of furtive sex. The novel’s narrator, Emily, a bioinformatician—“a sort of Watson-and-Crick of the new millennium”—details her 12-year effort to discover a groundbreaking “pathfinder” gene at a New York City research lab. But her promising work means that university lab colleague Aeden will get sidelined as he’s grudgingly reassigned from his own project to help with Emily’s project. The pair’s initial animosity—fueled by Emily’s admission that she borrowed Aeden’s research findings—turns to passion, but also forces an emotional and career choice after Emily’s awkward visit to meet Aeden’s family. “People like Emily don’t need other people,” Aeden’s mother bluntly tells him, a conversation that Emily overhears. When she then discovers Aeden’s own duplicitous move to discredit her work, both are forced to take a hard look at their futures. This insider look at the rigors and risks of the competitive world of scientific research is fascinating, but it’s Rothman’s aching study of loneliness, heartbreak and forgiveness that resonate. (Mar.)