2.5 stars rounded up to 3 because it’s only half bad.
Lola, by Melissa Love, reads like a television drama. If you’re a fan of shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy, you should like this book. That being said, the book is not without its problems.
If you’re a medical professional of any kind, this book is likely to have you rolling your eyes or fuming more than half a dozen times. The medical inaccuracies were ludicrous and easily fixable. Nothing consulting a nurse wouldn’t have fixed. The problems are as follows (slight spoilers ahead):
#1. Character has finger cut off and reattached and contracts sepsis all under 24 hours. I was a CNA for five years, and during that time I was trained and became a certified phlebotomist. I drew plenty of cultures in those five years. Cultures, the tests used to diagnose sepsis, take 24-48 hours to grow results.
#2. The symptoms of infection take hours to develop. Even if they tested this character the minute he hit the ER, there’s no way he could have been diagnosed and admitted for sepsis because they would have had no reason to even check for sepsis.
#3. I’m sure there are shitty hospital employees out there who do not give a shit about HIPPA rules and regs, but who gives out a patient’s diagnosis and personal info to someone who’s only asking for a fucking room number?
Person: “Hey, I’m looking for so-and-so.”
Hospital personnel: “Right. He’s in room what’s-its-fuck and by the way they were able to reattach his finger and he was admitted because he has sepsis.”
Person: “Great. I’m so-and-so by the way.”
Hospital personnel: “Oh, cool. He’s been asking about you.”
If you’ve never worked for a hospital, none of this is going to bother you. Needless to say, it bothered the fuck out of me because I was enjoying the realistic feel of the book. It took me over half the book to get back into the story because I was pissed that the author couldn’t be bothered with simple fact checking.
Another thing that took me out of the story was zero mention of smog. It’s always clear blue skies and gorgeous vistas in this book. I lived in California for 15 years, was born and raised there. The sky always looked like a smoky bar unless the Santa Anas had blown through. This might sound like me being nit-picky, but not mentioning smog in a story set in southern California is like writing about Egypt without mentioning sand.
Finally, as far as accuracy is concerned, I’ve been a member of three different gyms in my life. None of them allowed you to keep items in their lockers overnight, much less for several days. That being said, some might. So I might be wrong, but I doubt it. Lockers in gyms are prime real estate, and I don’t believe any company would risk tying up lockers by giving them permanently to customers. Besides, they would eventually run out.
All of that killed my rating for this one. The story itself is a five-star read, as is the quality of the writing. A little more research would’ve made this a runner for my book of the year. I loved the characters, especially Lola and Lucy. If the author decides to write a sequel, I’ll definitely pick it up.
In summation: Lola is a terrific story that is well-written yet horribly researched. All of the problems in this book are easily fixable, but it didn’t seem like anyone wanted to be bothered with checking the facts. If you can ignore the impossiblities and inaccuracies, you should dig it, but my life-experience ruined the book for me. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC, which I received for free in return for the honest review you’ve just read.
Final Judgment: Donald-Trump levels of fact checking.