I’m a little weary of hoodie-sporting, tattooed alpha males. There’s a whole sub-genre of New Adult (NA) literature that has been taken over by them. I’ve started referring to them as, “Channing Tatum, Please F*ck Me” books. Now, I’m not about to argue with the success of REAL and BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. These men are just not my kink.
Earlier this week, my beloved Jessica Park mentioned author Mila Ferrrera’s post, NICE AND HOT, about, well, nice boys who love nice girls. I happen to love nice boys, especially ones who finish first. So, I dove in and bought Ferrera’s debut novel, SPIRAL.
Nessa Cavanaugh, psychology student, knows how to stay on an even keel. Despite the urging of her mother and her academic advisor to get a life and have some fun, “all work and no play” sums up her plan to survive her grueling internship year at a children’s hospital. She doesn’t want to end up like her father, whose constant ups and downs broke her family, and avoiding unnecessary emotional entanglements is a must.
Then she (literally) runs into Dr. Aron Lindstrom in the middle of her disastrous first day on the job. The attraction is instant—and terrifying. Nessa knows she should stay away—especially when she finds out he has a reputation for being a player—but Aron is brilliant, intense, and as sexy as they come. When he challenges her to take a chance on him, her plans to stay focused on work start to crumble.
But what begins as passion takes on a dangerous edge, becoming an emotional roller coaster that’s frighteningly familiar. As things spiral out of control, Nessa must decide whether she should hold on for the ride or run … even if it means leaving her heart behind.
Let me tell you, after spending the past 5 years in and out of children’s hospitals with my younger chicklet, it is EASY to crush on doctors. Anyone who can cut into your child’s brain and fix them can cause serious crushing. These aren’t even necessarily good looking people, either. You just love what they do for your family and that they made your child’s pain go away. And, the ones worth their salt love to love your kids, and you by proxy. So, I completely understand WHY Aron would be such a catch. Handsome. Swedish. WANTS TO CURE CANCER. For real…that’s serious good girl catnip.
Nessa is a smart girl who’s used to the grind of academia. She just needs to finish her internship so she can finally get those credentials she’s put her 20’s on hold for. She’s delightfully bright and caring as a PhD candidate in psychology, not mousy or shy like so many NA heroines are. During her internship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), which is arguably one of the top 5 children’s hospitals in the world, she draws an oncology rotation. Enter Dr. Aron Lindstrom and his goal of creating a fairer world for kids with cancer. He’s beautiful and caring and foreign and, well, a lot of things. You’ll love falling in love with him.
Without giving away the major plotlines, mental illness is a huge element in SPIRAL, and I must give credit where it is due to the author. Ferrera has managed to treat a subject mired in bad behavior and sadness its respectful due. She doesn’t apologize the behavior away, nor does she celebrate it. Human behavior is a product of humanity, after all.
Pick up SPIRAL and read it to fall in love with lovely people doing hard work in the face of great odds. It’s a love story more than a romance. I loved Nessa and Aaron and their circle of friends (and a few enemies). Chances are, you’ll love them too (even if you want to do naughty things with Channing Tatum).
Find Mila Ferrera on the interwebz: