Monday, 7 April 2014

Review: Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams

Publisher: Paula Wiseman Books
Format: Hardcover / paperback / eBook
Released: May 1st, 2012
Rating: 9/10

Amazon summary:

Growing up, London and Zach were as close as could be. And then Zach dies, and the family is gutted. London’s father is distant. Her mother won’t speak. The days are filled with what-ifs and whispers: Was it London’s fault? Alone and adrift, London finds herself torn between her brother’s best friend and the handsome new boy in town as she struggles to find herself—and ultimately redemption—in this authentic and affecting novel from award-winning novelist Carol Lynch Williams. 


Waiting is another Carol Lynch Williams masterpiece, written in verse and guaranteed to break your heart in two. It's a realistic, gut-wrenching exploration of grief and everything that comes with it, beautifully written and realised by one of my favourite ever authors.

The children of missionaries, London and Zach were used to moving around and being each other's only company, making them the very best of friends. When Zach suddenly dies, London is left reeling, living in a house with a mother who can no longer look at her and a father who is distant and often absent. Her life will never be the same again, but she knows it goes on and that she must find a way to go on with it.

London is never alone thanks to her ex-boyfriend and brother's best friend Taylor, and the new kids at school, siblings Lili and Jesse. Without these three very different people, London would have almost certainly given up and withdrawn from everything and everyone. Although she finds herself torn between Taylor and Jesse, this book is never about the romance or the relationships. While they are an integral part of London and her recovery, they're not the sole focus and her grief is never once forgotten. Not for anything.

Every single character in this book is as real as can be, even the less than desirable ones. London's mother is a shocking display of a parent dealing with the loss of a child, and the way she behaves towards London is truly abhorrent. Taylor and Jesse are both fantastic in their own ways, each bringing something different to London and what she needs. Lili is the perfect friend, kind and thoughtful and available for London whenever she needs her.

I feel like this book tore me apart and sewed me back together again, all in the space of a few hundred pages of fast-moving verse. I was gripped for the duration of the book, reading it in one sitting and never once thinking of putting it aside. I was consumed by London and her grief, her guilt and her overwhelming loss. I almost cried a few times myself, which seems to be a trend when it comes to reading anything by Carol Lynch Williams. She's one of the best YA writers around at the moment and continues to publish important books that really make you think.

Waiting is a heartbreaking book, one that effortlessly displays what it's like to lose someone you love. Everyone responds differently in this situation, and that's shown here through an array of characters and their individual grieving processes. This book is now up there with an elite group of contemporary favourites and I'm sure I'll be revisiting it in the future. I have no more words to adequately describe how good it is!


So Many Books, So Little Time said...

This sounds absolutely gorgeous, but I'm a bit funny about verse novels sometimes. I really do need to read something by Carol Lynch Williams though...

prophecygirl said...

Sophie - it's not like typical verse, it's more prose based. Not like Ellen Hopkins, for example.