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On Rotation


On Rotation

When we meet Angie Appiah, she’s kind of a mess. She’s just been dumped by her boyfriend (who it turns out no one really liked anyway); she’s feeling like she’s fallen behind her younger sister, Tabatha, who’s about to get engaged; and she’s earned a barely passing score on her first Step exam. This means that no matter how well she does on other exams or research, she’ll be limited in her choice of a medical specialty once she finishes med school.

It's no wonder, then, that when she encounters handsome artist and graphic designer Ricky Gutiérrez, she’s enjoying a private cry in a secluded public garden in Chicago. Ricky listens to her, draws her portrait and accompanies her to an art fair. She feels a real connection to him and more than a little physical attraction. But just when she’s getting the nerve to suggest they meet up again, Ricky admits that he’s seeing someone else. Was that attraction all in her head?

"This is a perfect novel for anyone who has enjoyed 'Grey’s Anatomy' or similar television shows, or for those eager to discover an exciting new novelist with a distinctive voice."

Fortunately, the start of Angie’s medical rotations --- the final set of hurdles before she’s matched with her residency --- offers plenty of distractions. But in the coming weeks, their paths continue to cross, almost as if the universe is trying to put them together. Angie knows that Ricky might not be good for her, but she can’t get him out of her head. And even if they could get together, what would be the point, with residency looming just over the horizon?

Debut novelist Shirlene Obuobi is herself a physician, and she skillfully weaves details of a medical student’s experience into Angie’s story. Many of these are incorporated via the numerous footnotes, which also provide her with the opportunity to include humorous asides and insights into Ghanaian-American customs relevant to Angie’s familial background. Angie’s identity as the child of Ghanaian immigrants offers an additional layer to her rich story, as she navigates her family’s expectations regarding both professional and romantic prospects.

ON ROTATION has some of the elements of a romance novel, but primarily it’s about Angie’s coming of age as a young medical professional, having the courage of her convictions when it comes to pursuing her research interests, and figuring out where to find support and mentorship as one of the few Black women heading down this career path. It’s also about the challenges of maintaining precious, longtime friendships under new post-college pressures, including serious romantic relationships, new careers and changing priorities.

This is a perfect novel for anyone who has enjoyed “Grey’s Anatomy” or similar television shows, or for those eager to discover an exciting new novelist with a distinctive voice.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on July 1, 2022

On Rotation
by Shirlene Obuobi

  • Publication Date: June 21, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Avon
  • ISBN-10: 0063209144
  • ISBN-13: 9780063209145