Customer Reviews: Waiting
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 22, 2012
From the opening lines to the very last sentence, this book is extraordinary. The format in which it is written is incredibly unique. The characters are extremely well drawn, vivid, and convincing. It's intensely emotional, heart-breaking, and absolutely captivating. To me this book is a masterpiece. Honest, powerful and dark, it's a tale of love and loss, heartache, desperation, losing oneself in grief and healing with the power of love. It's a story of one girl's journey to find everything she lost along the way - her parents, love, meaning in life, and herself.

Zach and London were inseparable. They loved and supported each other. They were not only siblings, but best friends. Until Zach died and London's world crumbled to pieces. Nothing is the same as it used to be. Her mother hates her. She hasn't spoken a word to her daughter since Zach's death. It's almost like London died, too. Or never even existed. Her father is distant and disconnected. He's never around anymore. London is lonely, abandoned and heartbroken. And there is no one to help her through this insanely difficult time. Eventually, she finds herself drifting towards other people, boys in particular, and before she knows it, she finds herself torn between her brother's best friend and a new student, searching for affection and redemption.

Wow. Waiting was phenomenal. Carol Lynch Williams' prose evokes so many feelings. She brings both the powerful sibling love and the piercing pain of losing a family member alive within the pages of her book. She writes with remarkable tenderness and sensitivity, and her beautiful, almost lyrical prose makes your heart flutter. This is the kind of novel that invites the reader to lose themselves completely in its pages, tune out the rest of the world and just... read, taste, feel, and, ultimately, fell in love. While it's fantastically readable, and I'm sure that the burning need to learn more about what exactly happened to Zach will make you want to frantically turn the pages, you should refrain from rushing through it. Slow down, re-read some of the gorgeously written passages, savour. This book is worth every second you'll spend reading it.

While the theme of sibling bond is quite common in the literature, especially in Young Adult books, rarely do I see it being tackled with such skill and authenticity. As I read this novel, my heart was bleeding along with London's. I could see how much she was hurting, how huge a hole Zach's death has ripped in her heart, a hole that could never be filled. The once complete and happy family unit is now totally dysfunctional. London's mom has permanently withdrawn from the family life, ostracising her daughter whom she blames for the death of her beloved son. London's dad is never there, either. He's torn between his devastated, mentally unstable wife and the job that keeps him busy most of the time. London is all on her own, she desperately needs someone to hug her, to pay attention to her, to care about her. She needs someone to save her. And she goes looking for that person, getting tangled up in two different relationships, distracting herself with kisses and touches.

I loved that Carol Lynch Williams kept the mystery going almost all the way to the end. When it comes to Zach and his death, we're kept in the dark for the most part of the book. We get little glimpses of London's memories and a whole downpour of emotions, thoughts, regrets, and what-ifs. Clues and pieces of information are scattered throughout the novel, and it isn't until the end that we finally get the whole picture. I absolutely loved the brilliant, well-thought-out structure of this book. It definitely kept me captivated.

It's not a story of happy endings and joyful family reconciliation. It's a story of picking up the pieces of broken hearts and trying to glue them together. Some pieces are crushed beyond dust, others are missing. The family is forever broken and incomplete, and nothing, no amount of time, tears, or begging can ever heal these wounds. The characters in this story are not flat and paper-like, these are real people, with real problems, who find themselves in devastatingly real situation. But, while its obviously a dark and harrowing read, it's also one that ends with a spark of hope. The ending is a bittersweet one, there's a bit of light and a whole lot of darkness, but, thanks to London's strength and determination, I find the conclusion of the story to be realistically positive and perfectly satisfying.

I cried at the end.
I've put the book down, took a deep breath, broke down and cried.

Read it. It's a MUST!
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on April 27, 2016
Grade: C-

One Word: Emotional

London breathes grief and sadness since the death of her brother nine months ago. She barely speaks, her brat friend dropped her, her mother won't talk to her and her missionary father remains distant. Slowly, she meets new friends and before long she's kissing two boys. But the heaviness of missing her brother is never far away.

London is a sympathetic character, though I had trouble understand the two boy thing amid her depression and grief. I felt her pain throughout the story. The other characters were far less developed and seemed more like props for her story than people. Her awful mother was completely one dimensional. Carol Lynch Williams missed a great opportunity to add depth to the parents, but instead chose to write them as cardboard cutouts. I also didn't understand Lillie's assert action that London was "the best friend I've ever had." Really? London gave so little to the relationship, I had a hard time buying into that.

William's writing, the strongest part of WAITING, was emotional and gorgeous. I was almost 20% into the story before realizing the story was lyrical prose. I thought the short chapters helped add emotion to the story and took London's pain from my kindle screen to my heart.

There is a strong christian religious component not advertised in the blurb. I wish books would mention this so readers can decide whether they want that slant in their novels.

THEMES: suicide, death, grief, friendship, dating, parents, siblings

WAITING is a story of sibling grief with a strong christian component.
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on January 10, 2014
What a great novel in verse about a teen, London is suffering the aftermath of her brother's suicide. Her family has disintegrated, her pastor father is remote and her mother has not spoken to her since her brother's passing. Without saying too much because this book unfolds in such a wrenching way as London tries and struggles with being ignored, feeling she has lost all her friends and her dismissal of her boyfriend, Taylor because he was her brother's best friend and it hurts too much to be with him. I love all of this author's books and I highly recommend this great read!
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on November 29, 2014
Another great novel by Carol Lynch Williams. A nice love story that also deals with a sibling's death for teens and adults. Williams takes you deep into the emotions felt by the protagonist as her mother rejects her in the wake of her brother's death.
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on July 30, 2012
My Thoughts: I really went into this with high hopes. It had such promising reviews, and it is in verse, which I usually really enjoy. I liked Waiting enough but I didn't love it. I only thought it was ok.

We are introduced to London who is mourning the death of her brother Zach. The tragedy has torn her family apart. Her mother barely speaks to her and her father is always working. London is on her own a lot of the time. She also has a friend or ex boyfriend named Taylor. He was also her brothers best friend. I liked Taylor but I never connected with him very much. Same with her new friends Lili and Jesse. They are new to the school and befriend London pretty quick. Well mostly Lili does but Jesse is usually around too. Lili and Jesse have very different personalities than what London is used too. They are carefree and nice to be around.

Waiting basically tells the story of London and how she is coping with her brother's death. It isn't pretty. She has so many problems just with getting up in the morning.

This novel wasn't really what I was expecting. And the stuff we find out about Zach towards the end really surprised me, I just wasn't expecting it.

I liked Waiting but there was way too much of a religious tone for me. I have nothing against religion in novels, I usually even like it, but this just wasn't the right novel for me. I just had higher hopes for it than what I guess I should have.

Overall: If you've enjoyed other books by this author, maybe you'll like it more than me. I liked The Chosen One and Miles From Ordinary but this just wasn't my kind of novel. I enjoyed it enough to keep reading but it didn't hold my attention or draw me in like I was expecting it too. I did like that it was in verse, so it was a quick read.

Cover: Like it, it's very romantic. Love how they are hugging and how we can see a part of her face and the back of his head. Love it!

What I'd Give It: 3/5 Cupcakes
Taken From Princess Bookie
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on March 25, 2016
Lovely book written in free verse. She brings us through the process of mourning with the main character and the growth that takes place to be okay again after losing someone close. I read it in a couple of hours, so it's a quick, honest, emotional, read.
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on September 30, 2012
I started reading WAITING knowing that I was going to be a heart-broken mess by the time it was through. I had already read GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams and I knew that she has a way of taking her verse novels and packing so much emotion, power, and heart-wrenching story into them that it leaves you gasping for breath through your tears.

In WAITING London is spiraling down a hole of depression. Her mother has not said a word to her since the death of her brother, her brother who was her very best friend in the world. Her father has thrown himself into his work. Her friends don't know what to say to her. She is sad, and heart-broken, and utterly alone. When she makes a friend in a new girl who doesn't know the story of her brothers death, a little life starts to spark back into her. There's also the new girl's extremely hot brother.

Let me just say that this book is not an epic romance. It's about a girl who is struggling to cope. Watching London lash out to get the attention of her mother, and just trying to feel alive, you can't help but root for the girl. Even if that does mean she strings a couple hearts along as she goes.

I know that everyone deals with grief differently, but I could not stand this mother's selfish behavior towards her daughter!! I really just wanted to reach through the pages and smack her mother to be honest with you. I was bouncing in my seat and cheering when she finally stood up to her.

Once again, Carol Lynch Williams has blown me away with another power-house verse novel of emotional depth. I plan to go find everything else she has written and read it as soon as I possibly can! If you don't mind a little heart-break in your books I suggest you grab a copy of this one for yourself!
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on July 24, 2012
London and her older brother, Zach, were about as close as two siblings could be. Homeschooled by their parents while their dad served as a missionary around the world, the two became each other's closest friends and confidantes. "We were like those twins, Zach and me," London reflects. "As close. He was my hero, my best friend. Always believing, always talking, always there." Even after the family returned to the United States and Zach and London started high school in Florida, and even after Zach met the love of his life, the two remained close. London even started dating Taylor, Zach's best friend and fellow member of the football team.

But when Zach, the golden boy not only of the high school but also of their family, takes his own life, London feels utterly unmoored and alone. Her father retreats into the assurance of his Christian faith, but London feels no such Biblical certainty. Her mother seems to blame London for Zach's death and hasn't spoken to her since he died. London even broke up with Taylor in the wake of Zach's suicide. Now she feels alone, unsure of where to turn for comfort or even human contact.

As the novel opens, it's nine months after Zach's death, and Taylor seems to want to get back together with London. She knows she loved him once, but she's hesitant to return to him, especially once she meets Jesse, the new boy at school. Jesse doesn't know anything about Zach's death or London's possible involvement (or lack thereof); he just sees her as a girl.

The conflict Carol Lynch Williams sets up --- between desire for a boy who knew London's brother and deeply understands her grief, and desire for a boy who represents future possibilities --- is complex and intriguing. London herself, however, is possibly most affected by her mother's rejection of her, a silence and animosity that is difficult to imagine but nevertheless is a plausible response to traumatic grief.

Williams relates London's story in spare, even austere prose, which is laid out on the page to resemble free verse. The language, however, is only rarely lyrical and is instead realistic and authentic, as London struggles to come to terms not only with her ongoing grief but also with a vision of what the future might look like --- and with whom. The scenes in which London finally relates the circumstances of Zach's death are particularly harrowing in their description, and they give the reader a glimpse --- however transitory --- of London's own horror and despair.

Despite all this, WAITING ends on a surprising --- and surprisingly hopeful --- note, as London discovers that Zach's legacy might live on in ways other than just in her imagination.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl
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VINE VOICEon July 2, 2012
London has lost her brother, her best friend, Zach died. Her mother refuses to acknowledge her and her father has immersed himself in his work. London feels alone. She has a hard time talking to people who know, because she doesn't want to hear them say they are sorry for her loss. She misses Zach so much and it's hard for her to cope without him. She tries to find comfort in two other pairs of arms though. She holds on to her old boyfriend Taylor and new guy Jesse. Though London will soon realize that a few stolen kisses can't even begin to make her whole again, she may realize that she isn't as alone as she thought and can take the first step towards moving on.

This book was pretty devastating. At first it seemed like a typical novel about grief and a family flung apart by it. As you dig deeper into the novel and find all the events that transpired, it just gets hard to read. London has suffered a terrible loss, but it was so much worse than that too. She lost her mother when she lost her brother, because her mother blames her completely. I understand why London sought comfort with other boys. Taylor helped her remember all the great things about her brother, while Jesse let her forget any of it ever happened.

I'm a bit torn about the religious aspects of this novel. I felt like they didn't run deep enough; there wasn't enough of London and Zach's background. On the other hand though, faith is a funny thing and sometimes no amount of background goes to explaining how deep it can run in a person. I thought the faith we did see gave a glimmer of hope to London and it was nice to see her with that hope.

Again, this is a novel written in verse, and it fit the novel nicely. Novels about very tough subjects just really work well in verse, especially the feeling of being alone. A mostly blank page with the words "She has four brothers. Count them. One, two, three, four. And my one is none." really hits hard. When there are less words, you can focus on the meat of the story.

If you like stories that will make you sad, but hopeful check this one out. It was a great read and I can't wait for what Carol Lynch Williams has next in store for us.

First Line:
"After it happened, no one in school would talk to me."

Favorite Lines:
"Somehow, I open the van door and stumble out onto the green, green grass of our lawn. I am the stupidest girl at Smyrna High. I am."
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on August 30, 2012
Waiting is a beautifully written novel about love, loss, and moving on. It is a touching story that sticks with you long after the last page has been turned.

London is lost, confused, and alone. She is not a happy character. She not only lost her brother but she also lost the rest of her family. She doesn't know how to make things better at home and school is even worse. Things only begin to get better when two new kids, Lili and Jesse, start at her school and become her friends. Lili and Jesse are the opposite of London. They are fun and happy and carefree. They bring out a different side of her and they help her begin to move on with her life. Her brother's best friend, Taylor, is also there to help her. He is sweet, patient, and so wonderful. Every character definitely had some flaws but they only made each one better.

The story is written in verse and it is a very quick read. It is also rather suspenseful at times which makes it an even quicker read because it is impossible to put down. I couldn't help but wonder why Zach died, why London blamed herself, and why London's family was really so broken apart. Everything is revealed throughout the book, both through flashbacks to past events and present day events. Everything leads up to a satisfying conclusion that will leave readers with tears in their eyes but smiles on their faces.

Overall, Waiting ended up being a lot more than I expected and more than I could have hoped for. Fans of verse and contemporary novels will love this book!
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