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In July, our #ReadWithMC pick was On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi—a bighearted novel about a Ghanaian American medical student navigating life and love. Part coming-of-age story, part romance, On Rotation is told from the perspective of Angie Appiah, who has checked off all the boxes for "Perfect Immigrant Daughter" when all of a sudden, things start go off the rails.
"It's so much more than I could have ever imagined," raved @library.dreamer. "It's a romance, it's a novel about finding yourself, it's a novel about work-life balance, it's a novel about managing your non-romantic relationships."
Though some readers were divided over Ricky, Angie's love interest, almost everybody fell hard for Angie herself. "Such a realistic main character," wrote @chapterswithus_, "and so many people can relate to the pressures that she feels from her parents, work and friends. She is strong, witty, flawed." Angie's relationship with her best friend and roommate Nia was praised as particularly realistic: "I think many of us go through that at some point in [our] life," noted @jiyoungenjoys. "You sometimes hurt the people you love the most when you only mean the best."
Each month, we gather up the reviews of our virtual book club members so anyone else looking for their next great read has a collection of recommendations. Here's what #ReadWithMC readers had to say about On Rotation.
"MY PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED: A WOMEN IN STEM, ROMANCE featuring a BLACK, FEMALE DOCTOR?!
On Rotation follows medical student, Angela, whose life is falling apart. She bombs one of her exams (every med student’s worst nightmare), her boyfriend breaks up with her, and her friends seem to be drifting away from her. However, as one door closes, another one open and in enters Ricky, a compassionate but complicated man who appreciates Angela for who she is.
THANK YOU Shirlene Obuobi- you have made my dreams come true! It was magical to see a Black medical student in a romance book and teenage me definitely would’ve appreciated this before embarking on her med school journey. I enjoyed learning about Ghanaian culture and the footnote explanations were very useful. Obuobi captured many aspects of med school accurately; the sacrifices that family and friends have to make as well as yourself, the grilling from seniors, the endless hoop-jumping, the patients that stay with you. Everything in this novel was written so thoughtfully.
I fell in love with Angela. She is a hard-working, outspoken woman but she wouldn’t have made it as far as she did without her supporting friends and family. Supporting characters also contributed with their own storylines featuring LGBT+ and API representation. Most of all I loved that Angela existed outside of her romance. Most books mainly show the FMC when she interacts with her love interest but nope- Angela had a life outside of Ricky; she was studying and working exactly like she was doing before him!
A well needed romance book, I’m excited to see what Obuobi writes next ❤️
Read: if you enjoyed The Love Hypothesis and TV medical dramas 🩺"
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"Mild spoilers ahead! Read at your own expense.
And I know this isn’t my traditional kind of post but if you’re in need of a hodgepodge pattern to float your boat, there’s one with some golgi in my pocket square.
I *inhaled* On Rotation by @shirlywhirlmd. Cover to cover in a day. I’d describe it as more of a slice of life than a romance, maybe because it felt so relatable.
There’s so much that resonated with me: on the surface, I felt seen because the story has a medical student AND an artist/graphic designer! But what really got me were the little things: the quirks of being an immigrant daughter with a diverse friend group, the activities that bear an uncanny resemblance to things I’ve done with my friends, the footnotes that made me laugh out loud and itch to text the friend I planned to book club this with (I of course have no self control and was done before she got her copy, oops), the scene where the main character describes being comfortable in their body after seeing all kinds of bodies throughout rotations (this happened to me, but while I worked as an MA years ago).
It’s inspiring to read something written by a physician and artist who is doing a cardiology fellowship right now (hence me posing in front of my heart painting over EKG paper). I sometimes feel out of place having interests outside of medicine and she shows me that it’s possible without shying away from the hustle it requires."
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"Let me just say that I really enjoyed this book and related to it so much. On Rotation is about medical student Angelah Appieah and how she balances life and love. Even though I went to pharmacy school instead of medical school, I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed with school work, not having much time for family/friends, and of course getting tripped up on questions from not so friendly preceptors during rotations. (I even cried during a presentation once, how embarrassing). I have lived all of this! It is crazy how so many of us have shared experiences. Let’s get into Ricky though. I did not like him at first because I don’t like men who pretend not to be interested but are all in your face the next day, yeah another relatable experience chile lol Angie and Ricky eventually got it together after working out their issues with each other. There is a very sweet grand romantic gesture involved, spoiler alert. I loved Angie’s circle of friends and how they were always there to cheer her up. There’s also LGBQTIA representation in this novel! Overall, I enjoyed On Rotation and recommend that you all check it out when it hits shelves next month! As always, happy reading!"
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"First of all, I was touched by the dedication page. "For black nerdy girls..." It's an exciting world now to read novels about black women in romantic relationships with the typical struggles and happy endings just like every other race in the world. I sure did not have this experience growing up. I'm glad we have black female authors who are changing the narrative. On rotation adds an extra spice... nerdy girls and I totally relate😄
Angie is a Ghanaian-American medical student starting her clinical rotations with a mediocre pass in her Step 1 exam looming sadly behind her. She knows she has to work extra hard to redeem herself and improve her residency chances. Notwithstanding she also has to go through life like everyone, navigating parents who do not realise when to stop applying pressure to succeed, close friends who may not understand when medicine takes a toll on you and pulls you away, and romantic relationships where she's struggling to be really seen, accepted and loved. Ricky, her love interest, is another character as complex as she is. He is also perceptive and caring making him an easy guy to fall for. He knows what he wants in some sort of way which is obscured by his being overly cautious.
I enjoyed the plot including the respective conflicts between Angie and Ricky, her friend Nia and her parents. So much is to be said about the parental pressure to succeed. The character development was great and you'll really get to understand them and love them if you keep an open mind. I loved Angie and Ricky most especially for their growth despite their issues. No relationship is simple but rather a mash up of personalities.
Don't be afraid of being crushed by medical jargon because the book isn't laden with such. You would find relevant ones explained in footnotes. I loved the foot notes because it also explained non-medical stuff, was very funny and felt like ongoing commentary where we got to read Angie's mind during her narrative. Needless to say, it's simple to read, although I learnt quite a number of new words.
I enjoyed reading it and yes, you should as well😊😊"
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