By Carol Lynch Williams
My Rating: 5 Stars
Waiting is one of those surprise finds that I stumbled upon one day while looking at books I was considering removing from the collection. I’m so glad I didn’t remove this title. This is one of those deeply haunting books that will linger in your mind for days after finishing. It will keep you thinking way beyond the last page and you’ll likely find yourself wanting to know more about these characters. You can’t help but feel deeply moved by the pain and suffering of these characters. Their loss is massive and all consuming. My best advice is to have some tissue nearby when you start reading it.
It’s been nine months since the tragic loss of London’s older brother Zach, who died suddenly at the age of 16. The circumstances of his death aren’t revealed immediately, but what becomes readily apparent is that his loss has completely destroyed his family. Told from London’s point of view, this is the story of a teenage girl struggling to find some explanation of what life is all about in the aftermath of such great loss. London finds herself questioning everything in her life, including her religion and belief in God. She’s alone in the world. The loss of her brother has left holes in her that seem may never be repaired. Her mother has lost all faith in the world and has withdrawn from everyone, especially London. Her father has buried himself in work so he doesn’t have to face what has happened to his family. Raised by missionaries who traveled the world, London and Zach lead lives other kids couldn’t really relate too. When their parents decide to move to Florida and settle down for London and Zach’s high school years, they never would have guessed the tragedy that would occur to their family. This is a story about tragedy, loss, faith, and ultimately redemption as these characters sort through their turmoil and attempt to come out on the other side, whole.
This is one of those books that completely surprises you. I picked up this book not really having any expectations. I stumbled upon it while sorting through books that hadn’t book checked out at my library in the last six months. It was being considered as a possible deletion but when I read the book jacket, I was intrigued. The story sounded interesting, though likely a tear-jerker. Then when I flipped through the book, I saw that much of the book was written in verse so I knew it would be a quick read and may even been similar to Ellen Hopkins books. I wanted to read this since I often have teens ask for recommendations and when I ask what they like to read they mention Hopkins. I wanted to see if this book could be considered for them. It didn’t disappoint. Verse can often be one of those things that are meant to move the story further but often fall flat. In this case, the verse helps to establish the madness in London’s head and ultimately what she is going through both emotionally and physically. She is lost in her mind as she relives what has happened in her life. I don’t think that prose could have adequately establish her madness.
One thing, I should warn readers about is the religious overtones of the book. The book jacket doesn’t establish how much of this book is about Christian faith and how London is questioning her faith. I didn’t have an issue with this but I can see how some readers may. It’s something to consider before picking up this book.
Lastly, I’d like to point out that this is a book that is best read and then left alone. Let yourself digest this book a bit before you write a review or talk about it. I think it will help with how you ultimately decide to interpret and review the story, it’s characters and the author. This is a story of emotion, loss, family, decisions and love. I loved it. I was gutted so many times while reading this book. I felt their loss, confusion, sadness and frustration. And in the end, I found myself moving forward like the characters in the book. There was redemption in their loss and tragedy. I whole-heartedly give this book a solid five stars. This is a surprise five stars for the year, and may be one of my top picks for the whole year. That’s saying a lot since I read a ton of books. Read it, digest it, and love it as much as I do. Thank you Carol Lynch Williams for this treasure.