review and book cover for waiting by carol lynch williams

Magan: Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

review and book cover for waiting by carol lynch williamsWaiting by Carol Lynch Williams
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format read: ARC received from ALA (Thank you!)

Summary: London’s best friend is her brother Zach; it has always been the two of them as their family has moved across the world as missionaries. When Zach dies, London’s faith is questioned and she finds herself very alone.

Carol Lynch Williams immediately caught my attention in Waiting, the story of London trying to heal after the loss of her brother, Zach. Written in verse, the story is immediately entrancing – Lynch submerges her readers into the deep emotional, aching pit of London’s life. The pacing is fast and Lynch’s words are deliberate, meticulous… calculated. I breezed through this sorrowful story of loneliness and loss.

London has grown up with missionary parents – living in the farthest reaches of the world. They had moved back to the United States, where Zach and London were enrolled in public school. After Zach dies, her father immerses himself further into the church, but leads a mostly silent life at home. London’s mom hasn’t so much as glanced in her direction, much less spoken a single word to her. It was understandable that London would examine her faith and make problematic decisions. As a reader we don’t know what happened to Zach. There is secrecy surrounding his death and London isn’t eager to voice the details.

As you can probably imagine, events in London’s life seemed to be defined by a series of “befores” and “afters.” She struggled with how to move on. Before Zach died, London had an awesome boyfriend, Taylor, who also happened to be Zach’s best friend. After, it takes all of her might to be around Taylor because so many of her memories with him are tied to her deceased brother.

Enter Jesse.

Jesse is the new boy at school. He doesn’t have any idea what happened to London and her family. He doesn’t look at her with the same sad, pathetic look everyone else throws her way. Thus begins the downward spiral as London begins to “date” two boys. She draws closer to Taylor again because he understands and can help her remember. BUT, she enjoys the thrill and sneakiness of being with Jesse. Her struggle to choose one boy was really, really difficult for me to read about. I anticipated everything falling [further] to pieces at the climax of the story. I’m not going to let you know what happened and who (or if anyone at all) she chooses.

The most bewildering part of this story was absolutely London’s relationship with her family. She was acting out, begging for attention from her parents who were so blinded by their grief. Bit by bit, the truth behind Zach’s death is revealed, making the pain and anger the reader experiences along with Taylor even more pronounced. As someone who could connect with the faith her family professed, I did not understand her parent’s actions. I could never imagine abandoning my child in such a way. Her mother was absolutely terrible: I hated her.

For a few reasons (written in verse, deeply emotional story, and cheating aspects) I can see this story being a turn-off to some readers. However, if you enjoy books that make you feel and think (and maybe cry), then you should most definitely read this book. My recommendation for fans of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson is that you pick this up soon; I read Nelson’s book last year and while wonderful and similar in plot, felt emotionally attached to Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams in a whole new way.

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8 thoughts on “Magan: Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

  1. Eva, The Book Stoner says:

    The free verse thing didn’t work for me. It was also too dramatic for my taste, but I’m glad you like it. I don’t know why but I just really like reading good reviews of those books I didn’t like or finish. Weird. 🙂

  2. Aneeqah says:

    I’ve been kind of back and forth about whether I should read this book. I think I’ll at least add it to my TBR, so I can get around it sometime. Sometimes, a deep emotional read is perfect on occasion. I’m not usually a huge fan of these types of books though, but I think that I’ll like this one, even though it seems like there’s a love triangle in this book [which I am definitely NOT a fan of]. Fabulous review, Magan! =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  3. VeganYANerds says:

    Fantastic review, Mags! Being written in verse about something emotional definitely doesn’t put me off this book, in fact I want to read it even more! It went on my to-read list when you recommended it to me on twitter but now I can really understand why you suggested it.

  4. elena says:

    I’m not really the biggest fan of verse novels but you’ve convinced me with the comparison to The Sky Is Everywhere! LOVE that book and if this book is anything like it, it will be amazing. 😀

  5. Lori says:

    I’ve read two books by Carol Lynch Williams and really enjoyed them. Now I’m even more anxious to read this one. I love emotional stories and verse novels so this sounds perfect for me! Fantastic review.

    • Magan says:

      Thanks, Katie! I plan to sit here and read as much as I can today. I NEED this whole day to just dive into these author’s worlds. I hope I finish my current read (Timepiece) so I can dive into one of the three you listed. I don’t know how I’ll decide which to read next. 🙂

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