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The DNA of You and Me

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“Sharp...sets a bittersweet love story within the cut-throat world of academic research, a great pairing [Rothman] explores with heart [and] smarts.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Emily Apell arrives in Justin McKinnon’s renowned research lab with the single-minded goal of making a breakthrough discovery. But a colleague in the lab, Aeden Doherty, has been working on a similar topic, and his findings threaten to compete with her research.

To Emily’s surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden, and when they end up working together their animosity turns to physical passion, followed by love. Emily eventually allows herself to envision a future with Aeden, but when he decides to leave the lab it becomes clear to her that she must make a choice. It is only years later, when she is about to receive a prestigious award for the work they did together, that Emily is able to unravel everything that happened between them.

“Refreshing...Asks urgent questions about female ambition. Fans of Lab Girl have found a worthy successor.” -- Real Simple

242 pages, Hardcover

First published March 12, 2019

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About the author

Andrea Rothman

1 book76 followers
Andrea Rothman was born in New York and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Her debut novel THE DNA OF YOU AND ME was published by HarperCollins in March of 2019. The novel has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal, and was shortlisted for the 21st International Latino Book Awards in the category of most popular fiction in English.
Prior to becoming a fiction writer, Rothman was a research scientist at the Rockefeller University in New York. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and was a fiction editor for the VCFA journal of the arts-Hunger Mountain. To learn more about Andrea Rothman visit her at www.andrearothman.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 254 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
March 26, 2019
The first time Aeden saw me handling a pipette he walked away and for the rest of the day did not speak to me again.

This might be the most sterile and lifeless romance I have ever read.

I thought it sounded great. What happens when a woman in STEM gets caught up in a romantic relationship with a colleague? When her research and her love life come into conflict with one another, which does she choose? I expected it would be bittersweet. The author is a scientist herself, and this is 2019, so I figured that this wouldn't be another scenario with a woman giving up everything she's worked for in exchange for love. Good - nerdy and feminist are kinda my thing.

But I don't even know what to make of this. There are two main aspects to the plot: the olfactory research and the romance. The former is detailed, but not exactly exciting. I could have forgiven that, though, if the romance had balanced it out. Instead, the romance - if it can even be called that - is more dull than the descriptions of lab work and research.

There's no chemistry, no spark, no puns intended. Aeden starts by being rude to Emily, and this eventually leads into some very cold and detached sexual encounters. There's no emotion or desire in it at all. In fact, it's odd but the first time they have sex, I didn't actually realize what was happening at first. Most disturbingly of all, one of their sexual encounters doesn't seem to be consensual. Emily clearly tells him "no" and Aeden continues anyway.

I really disliked everything about Aeden. I think I'm supposed to want them to be together, but I honestly just wanted Emily to run in the opposite direction.

There's this constant questioning if "people like her" are destined to be alone and live isolated lives, focused only on their work. It's heavily implied that Emily is on the autism spectrum, though the A-word itself is treated like something taboo.

Autistic or not, I think the question about whether some people are just better suited to solitary lives is an interesting one and worth exploring. However, instead of exploring this with any nuance, the author quickly tags on an ending that implies an answer to the question and it feels pulled out of thin air and unsatisfying. It annoyed me instead of giving me the closure I longed for.

Can anyone please suggest some adult romance that is sexy but where the guy isn't a douche?

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Profile Image for Julie .
4,031 reviews58.9k followers
March 30, 2019
The DNA of You and Me by Andrea Rothman is a 2019 William Morrow publication.

Usually, I have some time to ruminate before writing a review, but due to a last- minute invite to participate in a blog promo, I didn’t have that luxury with this book, unfortunately, because I have some mixed feelings about this one, I’d like to work out first. As such, I’ve done nothing but work on this review for a day and half! I have struggled mightily with this one.

The setup is interesting and original-

Emily was raised by her father, a man much like herself, who was very single minded. However, he often encouraged her to get out and make friends and be more sociable. However, an allergy related to the smell of cut grass, kept her indoors during the summer months, putting a damper on her ability to hang out with other people. Still, Emily preferred to keep to herself, and her few attempts to fit in with her peers, were an epic fail.

Yet, it was her own personal experience that encouraged her drive to study olfactory receptors located in the nasal cavity- otherwise known as the sense of smell. Her research, she hopes, will lead to treatment for, or a cure for Anosmia.

Fresh out of school, Justin, the lab manager, gives Emily the opportunity to work in his lab. However, he fails to mention that the lab already has two scientists working on a project very similar to Emily’s. One of those academics, is Aeden, a man who does not mince words. He immediately informs Emily she will have to find another project. Emily refuses, of course, so- Game on! Let the competition begin!

Eventually, Aeden and Emily wind up working in tandem, which takes their relationship to another level. From here, life gets a little messy for the socially awkward Emily, who, much to her surprise, faces a common conundrum when she falls hard for Aeden. Which of her great passions will dominate her life? Her career or a life with Aeden?

Can someone as driven as Emily, fully commit herself to marriage and children? Could she balance that life with her demanding and single- minded devotion to her career? Are some people better off alone, or should love take precedence over success?

The one thing I worried about before starting this book, the heavy use of scientific jargon, turned out to be the very least of my concerns. While I didn’t fully understand all of it, I was able to grasp the general idea and it never once took me out of the story. In fact, the book is an easy read, so easy, in fact, I nearly read it in one sitting.

However, there are two issues weighing on me.

While love is the emotion this novel is centered around, this is not a romance novel, nor is it a love story, per se, (unless you are including warped ones, like Wuthering Heights), although it has been categorized as such. I would advise against approaching this novel in such a way, to be honest. Perhaps, contemporary fiction would be the most appropriate category, with the possibility of adding ‘women’s fiction’ as a runner up.

The second thing I feel compelled to mention is a disturbing scene, in which Emily and Aeden steal away for a sexual rendezvous, only Aeden wants to do something Emily is uncomfortable with. He’s not tender, he’s rough. She says, ‘No’, he doesn’t stop. She zones out during the encounter in order to cope, then feels humiliated, and hurt, avoiding Aeden, until he eventually apologizes. Then suddenly all is forgiven.

I am very uncomfortable with that passage. It is not the type of sexual activity they are engaging in that bothers me. They are two adults after all. However, the question is, are they two CONSENTING adults. There was a question mark there in my opinion, and I still feel weird about it.

As for the story as a whole, in my humble opinion, this story is a character study, an examination of what happens to our normal, rational, clear- headed thinking process when we fall in love. The complicated and cutthroat world of academia, where ambition and competition rule the day, makes these changes even more striking, and for Emily, they are confusing. Women are often the ones, more than men, who must make the tough decisions about their career when marriage and children present themselves. Men it seems, seldom feel pressured in this same way.

Yet, for Emily, the problem is even more compounded by her social awkwardness, and the hint that she presents on the autism spectrum. She questions if she is better suited to living alone, could she make her partner happy, could she do or be what is expected or required of her from an intimate long-term relationship?

Aeden, a character for whom I could not summon up one ounce of compassion, appears to have his priorities in order, as far as that goes. He, unlike Emily, dislikes the lab, and Justin, and is fine with leaving to pursue other things.

He wants Emily to choose love over success. However, his methods are manipulative, immature, and not something one does, if they really love someone. One could argue, he made choices he thought were in Emily’s best interest, but I’m afraid I disagree. You can’t force someone to be something they aren’t, or you will both wind up being miserable.

Ultimately, I found the story to be interesting, fascinating, and utterly absorbing. It gave me a lot of food for thought. Even though I am a hard-wired romantic, I was proud of Emily in the end. She did the right thing, even in her eventual forgiveness, which gives her permission to finally move ahead, emotionally. And because of my die hard romanticism, I’m convinced that lightning will strike twice for our Emily, and that maybe she is not destined to be alone, after all.

3.5 stars
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,295 reviews2,964 followers
April 22, 2019
2.5 stars

Unfortunately there were more negative than positive things with the story. When I finished reading, I was left feeling confused about what exactly the author was aiming for when she wrote the book. And I'm not trying to say that in a mean way, more I just don't think I ever fully understood the main character and therefore it was difficult for me to know what to take away from the book.

Graduate student Emily has been hired to work in a lab in New York. And let's just say things can get competitive when your coworkers are extremely focused and driven. Everyone hopes their research will produce groundbreaking findings. But when you eat, sleep, and breathe science practically 24/7 is there time for any type of a social life? And for someone like Emily who much prefers keeping to herself, is interacting with others something she even wants?

I love how this book featured a female character working in the scientific community. The science was heavily featured in the story and I'm not going to pretend I understood it all, but I'm glad it was included, although maybe to a lesser extent as it can get very dry, as it's not something you typically get to see in women's fiction. And speaking of the genre of women's fiction, I think your best bet is to approach the book interested in the character rather than thinking this is going to be some light and fluffy romance.

The author has not only a scientific background but also holds as MFA in creative writing. Unfortunately, even though I liked certain elements of the story, as a whole I thought the execution was off. The transitions at times felt disjointed and sometimes it felt like I was reading a straight up science book rather than a fictional story. I just wish the book would have worked better for me because I do like to support these types of stories featuring smart and independent women.

I won a free copy of this book from LibraryThing but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Twins.reading.books.
333 reviews1,085 followers
March 11, 2019
The DNA of You and Me is such a powerful romance novel with amazing topics that Rothman has written within this masterpiece! The way that the Author has merged science with love is astounding beautiful and the details are so interesting, intriguing and humorous! I really enjoyed every page and every act from this book!
The beginning of the book kept me so keen on this book and I wanted to go at the end so much and in the same time I didn't want the story to end! It really gives you so much mixed emotions, it is a page-turner book there we meet Emily a fierce and very smart girl who puts all her heart in the laboratory, she works with passion and the question is will she risk everything she loves for a new romance and how things will go are so dramatically in a perfect order!
The narrative of the book is so engaging and the characters are so lovable and reasonable in some actions, as a debut book I really give it a solid five star and I'm so excited to read more from the Author because she has huge potential to melt science in fiction where we don't see it everywhere!
The tensions between the characters are so intriguing and the way that Rothman has written about a young woman to work in a hard STEM field is very fascinating, there's lots of amazing turns which will explore an interesting and beautiful prose! The choices of Emily are so interesting and I'm sure everyone who reads this epic book will love it because it's an educational and quick novel!
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
419 reviews14.4k followers
April 9, 2020
Somber, intense, and deeply thought-provoking, Andrea Rothman’s The DNA of You and Me is the sort of book that left me with a quiet pensive feeling about women, love, ambition, and sacrifice.

I finished The DNA of You and Me more than a day ago and the emotions I felt reading it and through the end have stayed with me. Sometimes a book is so well-written that it brings a stark moment of clarity to my own life that is both uncomfortable and important. (I think this is what the J.D. Salinger may have described as the sound of one hand clapping)

This is not a romance, though it is a story about love. And this is an important distinction to make, I think. A romance implies a certain amount of fun, infatuation, and wooing. A story about love is different from a love story. To me, The DNA of You and Me is truly a story about love, but it is the type of love that feels authentic and without the dramatic flair a novel normally brings.

When Emily meets Aeden in the lab, they don’t immediately click. Aeden is worried about Emily starting rival research within their own lab, and Emily has never really learned how to connect with others. Watching their love develop slowly, as they pushed through genetic research to understand the genes that relate to our olfactory sense, I found the humanization of the dry research lab to be one of the shining points to this book.

Emily herself is compelling, tragic, and root-able. She wears her loneliness like a suit of armor. She I confused over whether she should choose ambition or love. Or more specifically, whether she should choose her legacy or her happiness.

“The gene will be here 100 years from now. But you and I won’t.”

As I’ve spent the past 24 hours reflecting on the story, I think that the story isn’t even really about choosing career or love. More nuanced, the story to me was about how hard it is to truly understand what we want when we are living it. But also that perhaps it is truly never too late.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for my copy. Opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,485 reviews905 followers
March 28, 2019
I wish I had liked this more. The science part was interesting and it's true that scientific research is so unpredictable: you can spend hours and years and money on a scientific idea that goes nowhere, or you can randomly hit it right and change everything.

I was okay with the fact that the characters were cerebral (some perhaps even on the spectrum) rather than emotionally expressive. But the relationship between the main character and her love interest and all the plot points that revolved around that didn't work for me at all. That was the core of the story and it felt completely flat and empty of emotion.

The main character says she's not cut out for love blah blah - which I kind of liked by the way. Women in books (and life!) usually aren't allowed to feel that way and I think there's an argument to be made that ambitious women can achieve more on if they don't expend emotional energy on relationships - at least bad ones.

But then this character does exactly the opposite - she follows this weird guy around like a sad puppy. She acts as if he were the greatest guy in the history of guys, when to me their relationship just felt like a series of sad random hook-ups where he has all the power.

Then What is this???

Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,290 reviews529 followers
February 13, 2019
3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“I don’t think it’s just you, Emily. I think we all feel like mutants in our own way.”

In a very strong debut, Rothman gives us a contemporary fiction slice of life story featuring Emily, a daughter of a single father, starting off in the science research community. As a child, Emily had an allergy to cut grass and had to stay indoors in the summer, essentially isolating her from playing around with kids her own age. Raised only by her father as her mother dropped her off as a baby and never looked back, he immersed her a lot in his science work. Trying to isolate the genes that allow us to smell, with hopes of possibly one day fixing anosmia, Emily ends up in a lab rife with personal and job political pitfalls.

The story started off with giving us a peak at the ending and then rewinding to show how Emily got where she was. Told completely from Emily's point of view, the story is broken up into parts that worked really well to help conceptually understand where and how Emily is mentally and emotionally at each part. The background on her childhood, reason for not being able to be outdoors, relationship with father, and how this molded her, gave a good emotional impact building block for why her work was important to her and even her feelings toward Aeden, her co-worker and love interest.

As this is, what I call, a slice of life story, it is a glimpse into one character's life, they and the other characters don't always act in ways that the reader wants them to. I thought it was interesting how the parallels were there to be drawn between Aeden and Emily's father. Emily mentions similarities between the two and then how she can't quite connect with Aeden the way she wants to, possibly why she very quickly became fixated on Aeden. Aeden was a bit hard to read as we don't get his point of view, did he feel guilt tripped or did his feelings just naturally grow from being around Emily? However, this uncertainty did put the reader in the same boat with Emily and as she seems to struggle overall with human connection; you'll feel it.

The science in the story was interesting and if you go in with the desire to soak in this world for awhile, you won't feel overwhelmed or lost. I'm definitely a layman with this field and thought everything was explained and relayed in a clear interesting manner, very few times did I feel maybe some in depth moments could be edited out. I do wish I could have gotten a better feel for Emily and some of the emotional moments could have reached deeper; her relationship with her father seemed like a rich well. I also thought her relationship with her boss Justin could have been explored more.

I did think, for a debut, the author had an amazing ease of writing style that flowed well and kept me engaged to keep reading; the pages flew by. However, I ended up feeling like I didn't quite have a solid handle on Emily, her growth emotionally and career wise, was left somewhat open. Competitiveness and relationships in the workplace, why we do the things we do, and destiny versus our own decision making were all leading themes in this story about Emily as she searched for scientific and emotional answers. A slice of life story, where mice hold a lot of the answers.

“[...]because at the end of the day science has nothing to do with luck, but with truth, and the truth does not always make one happy.”
3 reviews
November 4, 2018
Rothman's debut novel is a fierce and eloquent exploration of what it is to be a woman working in #STEM - a scientist in the cut-throat world of cutting edge research and academia. It invites us into the heart and mind of Emily, a character we grow to respect and admire, who is faced with the messy business of a budding romance with a colleague, in the laboratory where she works. Should she allow herself to put all she holds dear at risk, or should she smell a (lab) rat? This one's a powerful literary page-turner.
Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
959 reviews1,247 followers
April 1, 2019

Title: The DNA of You and Me
Series: Standalone
Author: Andrea Rothman
Release date: March 12, 2019
Cliffhanger: no
Genre: women's literary fiction

William Morrow was kind enough to send me a hardcover review copy of The DNA of You and Me, and initially I was really looking forward to checking this book out. There were a lot of things that grabbed my interest. The cover is gorgeous and eye catching. The protagonist Emily is a brilliant scientist who struggles to choose between her passion for her career and a budding romantic relationship. Another thing I liked was the fact that the author is a research scientist herself, and that always lends so much authenticity and insight to a story. It pains me to say that with all of these things going for it, it didn't end up working out too well for me. Let me preface this by saying there is an audience for this particular story, and I'm sure many will appreciate the topics that it addresses. In fact, things started out pretty well, but unfortunately when the romance plotline was introduced everything went downhill very quickly for me.

Emily is a bioinformatician graduate student just starting at AUSR (American University of Science Research.) Her passion for science and olfactory genetics comes through very naturally, and I was very interested to learn more about the subject. Especially as it relates to women in this specific field of STEM. What challenges in the workplace do they face? How does their ambition to succeed in such a highly competitive environment affect their personal lives? Emily has gravitated to her area of study mainly for a couple of reasons. Her father was a single parent whom she was very close to, and as a scientist himself, had a big influence on her. There was a time in her childhood that she considered to be a major turning point. When she developed an allergy to grass, she was forced to spend her summers indoors, isolated from her classmates and it impeded her ability to make friends. Her social skills were stunted, and she became detached from the desire to form relationships.

Emily is a highly intellectual woman, but her personality is analytical and rational with not much room for emotion. I typically love characters that are very intelligent and a little bit different, but there was a coldness to her that I couldn't engage with at all. It didn't mesh well with her sudden interest in Aeden, her lab colleague. One thing that I didn't care for in particular was her repeated observations of his smell. Aeden is a smoker, and as a former smoker myself I can admit that it's not an attractive scent that permeates you. I'm not really sure why the author needed to show so many times how Aeden "reeked" from her very first interaction with him.

•I could feel him standing over me, watching me, until at last he stepped away from the table, leaving a faint smell of cigarette behind.

•His breath smelled of cigarettes and coffee, and of something faintly acidic that made me wonder if he'd had anything to eat all morning.

•He held my cheek in his hand, sandpaper dry and faintly smelling of cigarette, and with his other hand proceeded to unbutton my lab coat.

•His sweater reeked of cigarette...

That really turned me off and I didn't want to keep hearing about it.

The development of Aeden and Emily's attraction was almost non-existent. They were pitted against each other at work and had almost no relationship to speak of, least of all a friendship. In fact, they barely spoke to each other and there was a huge undercurrent of resentment on his part. Then suddenly out of nowhere they begin a purely sexual relationship initiated by him, that like Emily was seemingly just for physical gratification. In fact, he was so emotionally unavailable from her that for quite a while after they were together, he turned his head away from her kiss during their secret meet ups around the lab. Which I may have been okay with had there been some sort of explanation for that, but it never came up. He just said, "I can't be with you in that way, Emily, in the way that you would like. I thought I could, but I can't." In a way it felt like he was punishing her with his treatment which I didn't care for to say the least.

I was emotionally disengaged as a result of their "romance." Eventually he did grow feelings for her as she'd strangely grown for him early on. Their interactions were unhealthy, and to be honest I never felt that they ever had what it took to stay together. There was one inciting incident where Aeden takes her to his parent's house. It was a complete and utter disaster when she blurts out something offensive and silences the dinner table. Followed by her overhearing Aeden saying something extremely hurtful to his mother about her.

There wasn't believability that they were a good match for each other at any point. We are led to believe that Emily is torn between her ambition and a hidden desire to take a chance on a marriage and children with him. Which is something she discredits throughout the whole story with her inner narrative that she could never even consider altering her career path to make a different life with him. When it comes down to it, I felt that Emily was pretty unlikeable. At times I sort of saw a dim desire from her to possibly step outside of her comfort zone and take a huge risk on love. He makes a mistake trying to hold onto her (and yes it's a massive one) but the way she reacts, so unbending and cold for so long that I couldn't relate.

I found the ending to be a downer as she looked back at her life, and her professional success was paved down a long and lonely path of regrets. She came off the pages as a defeatist. There was no consideration about self-improvement. She was a loner and the gap between her and other people was permanent, a decision that cemented in her childhood. Even though it was a sad and lonely place to exist, she must go on with life and accept it. I don't agree with that and she could have enjoyed a better quality of life if she had the courage to face it.

The DNA of You and Me is undoubtedly intelligently written, but it failed to evoke anything from me emotionally. I didn't understand certain actions from the protagonists, nor did I like the them very much. So I couldn't say that this book was good, only just okay. I think this may resonate with other people, but for me personally it didn't hit the mark.



Profile Image for Larry Khazzam.
35 reviews1 follower
November 1, 2018
I read an advanced copy of this novel, which will be released in 2019. It's a real page turner. It's about Emily, a scientist, and her determination and angst, and the humiliations she puts up with to achieve love in her personal life as she tries to fulfill her professional ambitions. I felt I was in her head all along and I couldn't put the book down. The story just keeps getting better and better.
Profile Image for ☮Karen.
1,495 reviews9 followers
May 19, 2019
3.5 stars.

Scientists, the science of genes, dedication to endless hours of lab work and lab mice, and the loneliness that results from such anti-social behavior -- having just watched the finale of The Big Bang Theory I was reminded of Sheldon and how he avoided personal interactions like the plague. Emily, daughter of a chemist, was destined to become a scientist, and getting paired up on her gene project with elusive but handsome Aeden she was destined to fall for him, even if she did feel she was meant to be alone in life, that she was immune to the normalcy of having friends and family.

It was my thinking of Sheldon that enabled me to survive all the science in this book, and to not give up on poor lonely Emily's personal life. I wasn't a die hard fan of the show, so maybe I'm way off in my comparison, but it helped me here. The outcome of Emily's project and her Aeden relationship, both highly unpredictable, kept me turning the pages. A very unusual but likeable character, and book.

A win from LibraryThing.com.
Profile Image for K.A. Doore.
Author 5 books161 followers
November 19, 2018
As the wife of a postdoc, so much of this rang true. And not just the Southern blots. The egos, the backstabbing, the constant vying for funding and the cut-throat world of research - really makes you wonder why anyone would go into this field. But Rothman also got the drive, too, the urge to know and understand and Be the First to Publish even if it means countless hours and days and nights and weekends and holidays in the lab, eschewing social niceties and, occasionally, hygiene if it means getting that vital piece of information and making that Breakthrough (the essence of which she also 100% Got).

On its surface, the DNA of You and Me is a belligerent romance between two scientists whose careers won't allow them time or space for anything more than a fling, and who fight for it nevertheless. But scratch that surface and all the questions women in science are constantly asking themselves today bubble out: is there time for love when funding is on the line? Is there time for family, is there time for friends, is there time for more? What does it mean to have "both," and what kind of person can succeed in a system built for and maintained by a patriarchy uninterested in life outside of Publish or Perish?

Rothman doesn't answer these questions, nor should she, but she doesn't shy from taking a long hard look at them. This novel was refreshingly honest, a quick read, and a deep character study. Science-types and friends of science-types would enjoy it for sure, but I'm pretty certain anybody would.

(Bonus: the science is both spot on and not at all confusing - you don't actually need to know how a Western blot works to understand what the characters are trying to achieve, but it's also just really cool to see real techniques used)
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,711 reviews705 followers
April 3, 2019
DNF on page 99

I was pitched this book as a comparison to The Kiss Quotient and coupled with the gorgeous cover, I couldn’t resist.

I didn’t like any of these characters. Emily is bland and boring. Aeden seems like a real prick and Justin wasn’t around enough to actually make an impression. There are a few other lab workers, but they’re just mentioned in passing.

Plot wise, it was boring. I was familiar with portions of the science and it was still so so so dry. The thread of “romance” was basically Emily just pining away after Aeden. She even makes a fairly large discovery, but only thinks about how it would make a bridge to Aeden. And yes, I’m still rolling my eyes.

I read some of the other reviews and several people say there’s a scene where Aeden initiates sex and she says no, but he doesn’t stop and she zones out to ignore it. I didn’t make it to that scene, but would have stopped there regardless.

Overall, I loved the idea of a woman in science and I love that the author has a science background. Sadly, this story lacks warmth and friendship and any semblance of a spark. There’s absolutely no way this title should even be in the same sentence as TKQ.

**Huge thanks to William Morrow for sending me a finished copy**
Profile Image for Milena.
735 reviews79 followers
March 15, 2019
I am going to be in a minority on this one but I must say I didn't love The DNA of You and Me. I thought it was an underwhelming love story. I appreciated the fact that this book is about a woman scientist, who works on her own research in the genetics field. I am all for stories about smart women in STEM and academics but I still expect a book that is marketed as a love story, especially a bitter-sweet love story, to be emotional and even a little angsty. I want sparks and chemistry (not the science, the other kind) when I read romantic books. The DNA of You and Me didn't have that.

It read more like an academic paper than a romantic fiction. There were a lot of very technical descriptions of experiments, genes and DNA that went over my head. There was no chemistry between Emily and Aeden, there was hardly any relationship development, not to mention that Aeden was not a good love interest. I picked up this book because I wanted to read a love story, not a text book about DNA and olfactory neurons. And unfortunately this book did not give me what I was looking for. I am giving it 3 stars only because I did like both the premise and the smart heroine.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for AbbyReadsAll.
78 reviews33 followers
September 27, 2019
Wow that was lackluster! I’m not really sure where the author was trying to go with this story. Even though the science angle could have been really interesting and fresh the romance angle really fell flat, really, really flat, I’m still not sure there was anything that could have been considered romance. If you’re picking this up for the romance (or lack of) or the funky fresh setting you might be better off just putting it back down and moving along.
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,598 followers
May 24, 2020

Many thanks to William Morrow for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review


I really, really wished I had believed the reviews for one time in my life... But I didn't. I decided "well, it can't be that bad" but guys... it was. I generally try to find the best in a book (and there was some good stuff in this one) but this was pretty irredeemable.

This was supposed to be a romance but it was so cold, sterile and boring. There was absolutely no spark at all.

I think this author has the potential to write a really good novel but she just didn't strike gold with this one. Better luck next time, I suppose.


Review to come

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Profile Image for Christie Grotheim.
Author 1 book49 followers
November 15, 2018
The DNA of You and Me is a well-crafted novel and a beautiful love story: about romantic love, love of self, and love of work and purpose. The slow build of tension makes the ending all the more powerful—while I enjoyed it all, for the last third of the book I couldn’t put it down. The main character, Emily, is a strong, rational scientist yet the foreshadowing from the beginning hints that she has regrets, or that not all of her experiences are clear cut. From the second paragraph: “If it is true that things are what you make of them, it can be argued that it was I who got in the way of Aeden’s research, his life, and not the other way around.” Emily is independent and introverted, prepared to get through life alone—rather feels she was born to be alone—so her transformation toward the end of the book is welcome and rewarding. I appreciated the thoughtful prose and the exploration of smell in her scientific research, and the way the author utilized this sensory theme throughout the book in this well-written narrative.
14 reviews
November 20, 2018
I read an advance readers copy of this captivating novel. A powerful love story about a young woman scientist. Can you have both love and a career? And what if one gets in the way of the other? What would you choose? These are some of the questions faced by Emily, the protagonist of this beautifully written novel. I couldn’t put it down.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews290 followers
April 1, 2019
I wanted to LOVE this book, the cover is adorable by the way. My bestie called me late at night told me to “stop whatever I was currently reading and pick up this book immediately” which I did. And I HATE to say this but unfortunately this book was “just okay” in my opinion. The ending was bittersweet yet very endearing.

*(This could have been fantastic if it had toned down the “science” talk.)
Profile Image for Dan.
Author 15 books100 followers
December 16, 2018
This is a beautiful book filled with insight and honesty on everything from love and self-awareness to the cycles of life and the realities of being a woman working in a STEM field.

The structure of the narrative is masterful, emerging over the course of the story to reveal itself as entwined strands, mirroring each other's steps in a dance of what is and what could be, of who we are and how we see ourselves.

An extraordinary debut, Andrea Rothman's THE DNA OF YOU AND ME is a must-read for 2019.

Profile Image for Kailey (kmc_reads).
555 reviews126 followers
March 15, 2019
Thanks to the publisher for my free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to love this book so badly but it wasn't for me.

I didn't feel particularly attached to either character, nor did I feel like they really cared about each other? I think that might've been the point and perhaps I just missed it... I couldn't connect to them or their relationship. However, I've seen lots of people rave about this one, so if you like women in STEAM and/or light romance, maybe give this one a shot.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,064 reviews20 followers
March 15, 2019
Stuff I didn’t like:

Emily isn’t interesting and quirky like Eleanor Oliphant. She’s just weird and awkward.

I think this was supposed to be a romance, but I must have missed that completely. There was nothing romantic about the “relationship.” It was semi-emotionally abusive and again, awkward.

There was lots of really boring discussion about olfactory genes. Too much.

I found the writing to be very stilted and unnatural.

On the plus side, it was about a woman passionate about her career.

Not one I’d recommend.
Profile Image for Leonor Coyle.
12 reviews
November 4, 2018
Intelligent and tender love story from the perspective of a modern career woman. Relevant, engaging, a real page turner!
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,731 reviews465 followers
April 4, 2019
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I did like this book even if I didn't love it. This was a book that was very different than I thought it would be. I thought that this was a romance. It was labeled romance, the book's description sounds romantic, and even the title sounds like a romance novel. But it didn't feel like a romance. Yes, there is a relationship in the book but not one that I could get excited about. I still found this book to be very readable and did enjoy the experience.

This book was really heavy on the science which I liked. It might have been a little too detailed at times but I like that kind of thing so it worked for me. I found the research that Emily and Aeden were doing really interesting and was eager to see how their experiments would turn out.

I had some trouble with Emily and Aeden's relationship. They had no chemistry. None at all. I felt no passion between them. I also don't think that this relationship was really healthy. Things started between them with some rather odd sexual encounters. I felt like Emily was being taken advantage of more than anything, especially since one of the encounters were less than consensual. When I read a romance, I need a couple that I can cheer towards their happily ever after but with this pair, I felt that they really shouldn't be with each other.

This book is told from Emily's point of view and I did find her to be a really interesting character. She was raised by her father in a lab so it was really no surprise that she felt at home in a lab. She is awkward in social situations and would really rather focus on work. While it is not confirmed, the story hints that Emily might be on the spectrum. I really did want to see good things come for Emily.

I did enjoy this book even if I had some issues with it. I found this to be a very quick read and I am glad that I picked it up. I wouldn't hesitate to read more from this author in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from William Morrow.

Initial Thoughts
Maybe 3.5 stars? I am a little torn by this one. I went into this book thinking that it was a romance but it didn't feel like a romance. There is a relationship at the center of the story but it wasn't always a healthy one and I never really felt any of their spark. It was really more the story of an awkward girl trying to find a gene. There was a lot of science in the book. I liked the science parts of the book but I think that they might have been a little too detailed for what was necessary for the story at times. It was a shorter book that I found to be a quick read.
Profile Image for Karen Dukess.
Author 2 books293 followers
November 26, 2018
Fascinating deep dive into the competitive, insular world of scientific research and one young, brilliant female scientist's attempt to break out of her protective intellectualism and through her fears to connect with a fellow scientist. Wonderfully written, immersive and moving examination of how much is worth giving up to have both the career and relationship of one's dreams. A quick and compelling read.
Profile Image for Nathan Makaryk.
Author 3 books109 followers
December 18, 2018
I received an advance copy of this book and loved it. Great to see science in the forefront of a love story, with realistic portrayals of the long and often unfulfilling work that goes into scientific research. A nuanced exploration of a relationship between two people who don't meet the standard mold of dating, at odds with wanting something "normal." A quick and easy read, but in the end it packs a solid punch that will stay with you.
Profile Image for Elizabeth J..
Author 5 books
November 9, 2018
So pleased to have received an advance copy of this engaging and gripping story. It's hard to get my work done when all I want to do is keep reading it! Great character development, great narrative. And i especially love all that I'm learning about science.

Profile Image for Tavia Gilbert.
Author 605 books186 followers
February 27, 2019
This is a beautiful debut! Heartfelt, wonderfully written, masterful with the scientific content, confident, and evocative. Don’t miss this novel and this writer!
Profile Image for Carlene Inspired.
931 reviews246 followers
April 5, 2019
Find this review and others at Carlene Inspired.

The DNA of You and Me follows young, gifted Emily as she pursues a career in STEM and seeks the DNA code for the olfactory senses. Emily is fascinated by smell and what makes a scent smell a certain way, she's also fascinated by the different way each human takes in a smell or feels an emotion. Her childhood experiences, spent locked away inside or at her father's lab, is the biggest driving force between her desire to find the right strand of DNA and find a way to separate it. When she joins an elite team of scientists she discovers it isn't all about finding the right DNA, but about publishing it first. The honor, the awards, the promise of an easier career, those things mean more to others. As Emily navigates the competition she finds that her mind drifts to a man rather than to her science.

I find it very hard to believe that this novel is Andrea Rothman's debut, it is written so well and captures the difficulties and emotions behind STEM, particularly females in STEM, quite accurately. The DNA of You and Me is an honest look at the choices a scientist must make; whether their life work and friendships, and even the possibility of family, can be achieved at the same time or if one is meant to be alone for life while they fight for recognition. The novel is split, almost 50/50, between Emily exploring personal relationships and Emily's fight to find and separate the correct olfactory code that drives scent for humans. If that sounds like something you won't understand or connect with, you'd be wrong. Andrea Rothman gives just enough information and explanation into the process that, beyond looking up a few words, I could follow the process of breaking down DNA code and the process of developing new genetics for mice fairly easily. It's a fascinating read, one that really delves into the art of balancing ones' work and ones' personal life.

While I wouldn't classify The DNA of You and Me as a romance, it does indeed feature a relationship that reads like a coming-of-age life lesson for Emily. I think readers looking for romance will feel this one misses the mark. It isn't as emotional as one expects from a typical romance, however I liked the highlight on Emily's difficulty with relationships. She is a bit socially inept, part of that is her lack of desire to make friends and part of that is her inexperience with others. She is a smart scientist, one who has put her life into learning and her work, and while she feels something she can't quite explain for Aeden, she also doesn't understand human connection at the time of their coupling. Their relationship is more of a fling, their connections taking place in darkened rooms with locked doors and quite often in a way that could be interpreted as forceful. As the book moves forward and Emily ages we see the most character growth in her social connection. Her emotions, her desires, her regrets, become those of a matured women rather than that of a young scientist who has given up the rest of her life for the white walls of a laboratory. While I think this could be off putting for some, for me it read very accurate to some of those I've met while working in a STEM supporting role.

The DNA of You and Me was very different than my usual reads and for me, it's a winner. It's a quick read, I was quite surprised by how small the hardback is, but it features a meaningful story. If you're looking to break out of your typical genre or you're a fan of science reads, especially if you're fascinated by STEM and the women who are leaving their mark in the field, I highly recommend you pick this one up.

ARC provided.
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