cover image Symptoms of a Heartbreak

Symptoms of a Heartbreak

Sona Charaipotra. Imprint, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-19910-2

The first solo YA novel by Charaipotra (coauthor of the Tiny Pretty Things novels) explores the trials and tribulations of an outspoken 16-year-old genius during her first year as a pediatric oncology intern at New Jersey’s Princeton Presbyterian Hospital. As the youngest intern, Saira faces many challenges: lacking a driver’s license, she has to rely on her less-than-punctual mother, head of pediatrics at the hospital, for rides. Then there are the limited shifts she can work and her ever-critical supervisor, Dr. Davis, who breathes down Saira’s neck and is quick to brush off her ideas. Unprepared for the emotional strain of working with dying children, Saira has trouble juggling matters of the heart with acting professionally, and falling in love with a teen-musician patient might just be her undoing. Saira’s extended Indian-American family adds lively warmth to the medical drama, as does Saira’s pretend boyfriend, who has told no one but Saira (and his boyfriend) that he’s gay. If the pace is somewhat uneven, the surplus of life-or-death tension will keep readers attentive as Saira overcomes obstacles to save lives and earn the respect of authority figures and peers. Ages 14–up. [em](July) [/em]