Not As Good As I Was Hoping

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gracie lou Avatar


Gene Hull wants to follow in his father's footsteps of becoming a doctor. As a premed student, he is given the opportunity to observe and lend a hand in the Heart Room, an elite area of the hospital where life and death hangs in the balance on a daily basis. Complicating his life is his difficult relationship with his mother, as well as the back and forth with the girl he loves. Will Gene's unresolved feelings about his father's death lead him to make mistakes and push people away?

I am a big fan of both medical and historical fiction, so I had high hopes for Open Heart. It took me a long time to finish this novel, which is not a ringing endorsement. Gene is an immature young adult, placed in situations for which he is ill-equipped to handle. He bumbles through life after relationship issues, both familial and personal, throw Gene for a loop. The plot is sluggish and the author takes too long to get to the main part of the story. Gene, in wanting to follow in his father's footsteps, learns things about the man at the hospital that would have been better undiscovered. As Gene comes to terms with his relationships and with his chosen career path, the lack of emotions besides anger seems a little unrealistic. Open Heart is supposed to be a literal journey through the heart to matters of the heart, but I was disappointed in the novel as a whole. For these reasons, I would be hesitant to recommend Open Heart to other readers.

Disclaimer: I won a copy of Open Heart through a Bookish First Giveaway. The decision to read and review this novel was entirely my own.