ON ROTATION

Guaranteed to make your heart beat faster.

A Chicago medical student is disillusioned by love until she meets a passionate artist in this debut novel.  

As a third-year medical student, Ghanaian American narrator Angela Appiah practically wrote the textbook on firstborn-daughter expectations. At 25, Angie still has little room for failure under the watchful eyes of her parents, who expect nothing less than perfection. Unfortunately, perfection is sorely lacking in Angie’s personal life; for starters, she just got dumped by her boyfriend of six months. Her sister, Tabatha, insists that Angie’s constant heartbreak is due to her choosing to date the “low-hanging fruit” who label her an “ethnic, erudite fling.” That said, Angie can’t help but dream of white coats more than white weddings when there are future-defining tests to study for. Enter Ricky Gutiérrez, a handsome young graphic designer she meets in a public garden. She’s immediately smitten: He’s flirtatious, kind, and way too good to be true—which Angie finds out is not a metaphor when he reveals he has a girlfriend. While Angie would like nothing more than to forget her chance meeting with Ricky, fate keeps bringing them together. He volunteers at the pediatric ward in the hospital where she performs her rotations; his best friend, Shae, is in love with her best friend, Nia; and he even has tickets to the same Beyoncé concert. The more time Angie spends with Ricky, the less she can fight her overwhelming attraction toward him, but is she willing to let herself get hurt by him again? Author Obuobi, a physician and cartoonist, is in her wheelhouse chronicling the hectic, and sometimes solitary, life of a medical student. The often witty footnotes, frequently describing medical jargon or Ghanaian traditions, add an amusing flair to Angie’s personality, but the novel’s true strength shines in its more serious moments. Encounters with Ricky’s father, who’s overdosing on heroin, and a 15-year-old gunshot victim powerfully depict the heartbreaking realities that are commonplace in Angie's line of work and how her passion for helping people is where her true success lies.

Guaranteed to make your heart beat faster.

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-320914-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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