The Professionals by Grace Cha

The Professionals

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Cha’s debut is a romantic dramedy of errors focused on two adults as they navigate the complicated waters of modern life and love—and their own overlapping destinies.

After overcoming a complicated past, Helena Park can finally be proud of her professional accomplishments. A senior supervising consultant at Advent Solutions in Los Angeles, Helena is enjoying the perks of upper management and is a valued decision-maker. When a search for a junior consultant brings her to Chicago, Helena has no idea that her life is about to change. She feels an instant attraction to a younger applicant named Tom Overton and feels certain that he is “the one.” Tom, too, has a fraught past and secretly entertains dreams of working as a writer. Helena uses her company influence to get him hired only to realize that they won’t be interacting often; he’ll be based in Chicago. Desperate to bring him into her life permanently, she and a friend concoct a scheme to get him an LA–based writing job. Helena’s maneuvering leaves her unprepared for ensuing complications. Cha’s writing is skilled and detailed, but she struggles to balance back story, action, and exposition as she slowly reveals Helena and Tom’s respective histories, particularly Helena’s past mental health issues and drug abuse. At times, the book reads more like a lengthy character study than a well-plotted novel, and the exposition threatens to topple the plot. Also, readers may struggle with understanding Helena’s actions. Is Helena a disturbed, even threatening, stalker? Or is her scheming—which can be mean-spirited—simply a necessary part of reaching her destiny, revealed in an unexpected twist in the book’s final pages?

A well-written, character-driven story swamped by exposition.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0692252581
Page count: 276pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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