Symptoms of a Hearbreak is a cute story about a girl trying to figure herself out. While she may be a girl genius, she’s still a teenager dealing with first crushes, family drama, and figuring out when to live in the moment.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Saira is one of those YA characters that feels so genuine and relatable. While not everyone can relate to being a girl genius (I’m so far from that), Symptoms of a Heartbreak tackles issues that we all face – when our family doesn’t understand us, having dreams and ambitions, feeling out of place. I loved how desi this book is from the mouth watering food scenes, to the ways her family comes alive in our mind.
While you may be drawn to the doctor and hospital setting, if you’re one to love doctor dramas, Symptoms of a Heartbreak ends up delivering a book that reveals Saira’s challenges in becoming a doctor. It’s one thing to have the degree, but to actually treat people, to have their lives in your hands, is a whole other experience that the doctors around her all struggle or cope with in different ways. Do we compartmentalize our patients? Bottle up our feelings?
Family & Dreams
Part of what I loved about Symptoms of a Heartbreak is Saira’s relationships with her family – especially her mother. Although, to be honest, I couldn’t pick a favorite family member – her lively and passionate sister, her powerful mother, her grandmother’s cooking, or her dad’s quiet wisdom. What I loved even more was how each of these characters have battled similar struggles as Saira in the dilemma between following our dreams, even if that just means to be happy, or to do what’s expected of us.
Symptoms of a Heartbreak is a book that delivers, and lands spectacularly, on many levels – family, self-discovery, romance, and fighting for what’s right. Saira feeling separated from those around her, while it’s a lot to do with her intellect, but I could relate to Saira’s feelings of isolation. Saira makes mistakes, but takes the steps to own them, to grow because of them. And throughout Symptoms of a Heartbreak we are reminded that nothing is ever guaranteed, not the next moment or the future. It’s okay to know what we want, to have no clue – it’s a part of growing up, of not being done or set (if we ever truly are).