Review: A Standing Ovation for “Kate In Waiting”

Recently released “Kate in Waiting” is an exploration into the lives and relationships formed between teenagers


Ashley McFadden, Editor

  Reader’s like to say they couldn’t put down a book, but I honestly couldn’t. I read “Kate in Waiting” by Becky Albertalli cover to cover in nearly one sitting. I was so enveloped in Kate’s story I didn’t realize two hours had passed.

  Albertalli’s newest release, “Kate in Waiting,” is a homage to theater kids and their very essence. It’s a story of acceptance and friendship, and the special bonds that form between families, friends, and even between the classmates you only talk to because you’re in the same class. It’s a story of the trials and tribulations that teenagers experience in their everyday lives as we learn to navigate relationships, whether they be platonic, romantic, or familial. And of course, it’s a story detailing the outcome of what happens when one crushes on the oh-so annoying f-boys.

  Best friends Kate and Anderson have been inseparable for as long as they can remember. They’ve been connected at the hip for so long their crushes are determined on whether or not the other thought the person was worth it. From this came the phrase a communal crush. Neither ever expected their crushes would evolve past a shallow hope. Enter stage left Coke-ad Matt, the boy they had shared a crush on during a summer away at theater camp. When Kate and Anderson return to their hometown of Roswell, Georgia, neither expect Matt to walk through the auditorium doors on their first day of junior year. Together the two learn to navigate their friendship as a communal crush turns into something more for both of them. On top of dealing with a crush gone wrong, the fall musical, Once Upon a Mattress, requires the thespians attention as well.

  Kate and Anderson’s story is told in bite-size chunks, similar to short scenes of a musical. The story arc between all of the characters felt extremely well developed. Even the side characters, that only appeared every once in a while, felt as though their part of the story fit in with Kate’s life and was relatable. By the end of the book, I felt like I knew the characters personally.

  The plot focused mainly on platonic and familial relationships, which is something I feel Albertalli carries well across most of her books. There is always the romance that comes with the contemporary genre, but a common theme throughout her books is friendship and how it can be challenged and what fixes it—if anything. I also appreciated the amount of representation seen throughout “Kate in Waiting.” Kate is Jewish, her best friend Anderson is both gay and black, one of Kate’s close friends is trans, another student mentioned is in a wheelchair, and there are important conversations surrounding mental health and social anxiety.

  While all of these elements of the book are important, what brought the rating down for me was the overuse of the word “f-boy,” which quickly became annoying and repetitive. Because she repeated it throughout the book took me out of the story, which made it harder to connect to Kate as a character overall. It felt like Albertalli was trying too hard to be relatable and replicate the teenage voice,  but it didn’t always land. However, even though I found it hard to connect to the main character, it was extremely easy to connect to the side characters to the point where I was looking forward to seeing them being in scenes over what reading what Kate was experiencing.

  Despite the likes and the dislikes, I did enjoy this book. Its fluffy contemporary demeanor makes it easy to follow and is a light read. As I said, it was extremely hard to put the book down once the story really started rolling around a quarter of the way through. Overall, I would give the book a 3.75 out of 5 stars.

  Albertalli is the author of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” “The Upside of Unrequited Love,” “Leah on the Offbeat,” and “Love, Creekwood.” She has also co-authored “What If It’s Us” with Adam Silvera and “Yes No Maybe So” with Aisha Saeed. “Kate in Waiting” is her first solo published book in three years.

Rating: 3.75/5 stars