But she was Sarah Soon, ob/gyn, maker of lists, taker of names, kicker of asses, and she had gotten over terrible things before. She always got over them. And she did not give a fuck what Jake Li thought of her.
Ruby Lang's books get better and better. I liked her first, Acute Reactions, loved the second, Hard Knocks and I adored Clean Breaks. Each of these romances are fun, emotional and nuanced in their portrayal of families and friendships. They are full of flawed people, and families who persist in loving each other, despite mistakes and disappointments.
Sarah Soon has come a long way from high school, where she was almost removed as valedictorian because she was caught topless with a boy at a party. She left home soon after, worked her way through college and med school on her own. She has just survived a brush with cancer, and is working to regain her strength and confidence again. The last person she wants to run into is Jake Li, her brother's best-friend and one of the many who didn't have her back when she needed them most, even if he has gotten incredibly hot in the meantime.
In the last ten years, Jake Li has lost his faith and most recently ended his marriage after his wife admitted to falling in love with another man. Jake is starting over, to trying to figure out who he is and what makes him happy. Everyone from his friends to his Reverend father have ideas on how he should act and behave after the divorce, but he is not interested in sleeping around or dating for sake of getting out there again. He is interested in seeing Sarah again and getting to know her all over again. He is not about to let idiotic best-friends, disapproving family and ancient history get in the way.
I loved how this romance developed. Jake and Sarah have a common history, growing up close but they don't know each other anymore. They have to re-learn things they thought they knew about each other and about themselves. Their shared history is both a blessing and impediment. They needle each other, they recognize each other and in the end surrender to loving each other.
Lang balances the seriousness of their feelings with great moments of humor. I loved their tense stand-offs over who had the right to bring a date to their sushi bar and the disastrous dinner Sarah, Reverend Li and Jake share at white-run Taiwanese inspired restaurant. Anger, awkwardness and ridiculousness meld deliciously.
All the characters felt knowable, yet unpredictable. I can't wait to read whatever Lang writes next.