Title: Necessary Medicine
Author: M.K. York
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 251 Pages
At a Glance: The content and pace were great, and the love story was beautiful. And, the ending was sooo good!
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: In the high-intensity world of hospital residency programs, there’s no room for romance. So it’s a good thing for first-year surgical resident Neil Carmona that his crush on the gorgeous cardiologist Eli Newcombe is sheer fantasy. Not only is the sexy doctor Neil’s superior, he’s also recently divorced.
As Neil’s skill as a surgeon grows, so does his friendship with Eli, and his silent, hopeless longing for more. It isn’t until Neil’s final year that Eli at last admits his own deepest desires. But Neil’s joy is short-lived: Eli has no intention of pursuing a relationship. Their positions in the hospital would make it unethical, even if he was emotionally ready for someone new.
Wounded and furious, Neil is determined to forget about Eli once and for all. But when a near-tragedy strikes, a new question arises: Is a life without love—without Neil—a greater risk than laying his heart on the line?
Review: In M.K. York’s Necessary Medicine we meet Neil Carmona, initially, albeit briefly, as a second-year med student, jump to him passing his boards, and then follow him all the way through his internship and residency. And, I have to tell you guys, I was completely sucked in to Neil’s journey from the first page, and was entranced until the very end. I LOVED this book. Loved. I totally devoured it. And, then happily started rereading it a week or so later! It was one of those books for me.
The story will inevitably be compared to Grey’s Anatomy—or other medical dramas—and with good reason, I think. As we go along with Neil on his journey, we also get to know his friends, colleagues, exes, heroes, and love interests. We learn the ins and outs of the program, and some of the inner workings of the hospital. We celebrate Neil’s triumphs, and stress over his pitfalls, just as so many of us have been doing with Meredith Grey for thirteen seasons now. Neil will draw you in and make you fall in love with him…but, along the way you will also fall in love with Eli—So. Much.—and Pete, and Mark and Kristi. York got me to care about all of them with her realism, her wit and her snappy dialogue.
Neil first sees Eli, though he has no idea who he is, during his second year of med school, while waiting in line at a coffee stand. He feels an immediate attraction to the handsome stranger, but doesn’t have time to try to talk to him, as he has to race off to a lecture. And, who should walk up to the podium at the front of the lecture hall? Turns out coffee stand silver fox is Dr. Eli Newcombe, the transplantation specialist giving the talk. Neil also notices that Dr. Newcombe is wearing a wedding ring, but who is he kidding, anyway? He doesn’t have time to even think about pursuing dating of any kind. So obviously, he decides to try to put him out of his mind.
Fast forward two years…Neil spots Eli again during his interview at Kingsland Medical Center, one of the hospitals he is considering for his residency. He again tries to not spend too much time thinking about Dr. Newcombe, but can’t help wondering how he ended up in the Bay Area, and minus a wedding ring. Neil does end up at Kingsland, of course, and thus begins the dance between him and Eli.
I can’t tell you how much I loved Eli. I have so much love and respect for him as a character. His good qualities are many, and his flaws honestly are few. He’s brilliant, obviously, and devastatingly handsome—but, those things are just the icing on the cake. Even more importantly, he’s an excellent doctor, is exceedingly kind and considerate, and is a great friend. And, I loved the way Neil notices everything about Eli, like his kindness and how unfailingly good he is to everyone, from patients and their families to the hospital staff.
Neil is also fantastic, and also the complete package. Brains, looks, an amazing work ethic, at times he seemed invincible. But, there were other times when I felt so bad for him that I just wanted to hug him pretty much constantly. The unimaginable sleep deprivation, the feeling that you will never have a life again, despite what counselors or mentors might tell you; most of us can’t realistically contemplate what life as a med student or resident is like. His crush on Eli was pretty epic also, spanning over many years. When something finally happened between them, I wanted to jump out of my chair and cheer out loud. Their love story was incredible. I loved how they built their connection over years; the slow burn worked perfectly here.
There were so many things that worked for me in this book. First and foremost, the characters are wonderful. Neil’s mentor, Pete, is so much fun. Pete and Eli are good friends, too, so that gives lots of opportunities for Neil and Eli to be thrown together. Neil’s buddies, Mark and Kristi, also kick ass. The three of them were so great together, and their banter was hilarious. There was some drama with Mark, which was a significant part of the storyline at one point, that I felt sort of dropped off, and then reappeared and was tidily resolved a bit quickly, but that was a minor beef. Another major part of the storyline that I thought was so cool was a Diversity Initiative the hospital was trying to get off the ground, on which Neil and Eli worked closely together. A very interesting and deserving subject, that I’m glad the author spent so much time on.
I know I already mentioned it, but I love how realistic the book comes across. Obviously, the author knows what she’s talking about, as her bio says she’s a med student herself, but it definitely feels authentic. And, I enjoyed the medical stuff a lot. I didn’t find it tedious or boring whatsoever. I saw some early reviews wherein people were unhappy with the heavy load of medical information in the book, and the amount of time given to Neil’s experiences as a med student; the issue seeming to be that the romance suffered because of it, that it wasn’t a romance at all because they don’t truly get together until late in the book. I wholeheartedly disagree. To me, the content and pace were great, and the love story was beautiful. And, the ending was sooo good! I had a huge lump in my throat when I finished.
I absolutely, one-hundred-percent recommend this book. It’s true it might not be for everyone, but I hope you end up loving it like I did. Give it a shot for yourselves; I think most of you will be glad you did. But, don’t go thinking you can steal my book boyfriend!!! Eli is mine!
You can buy Necessary Medicine here: