Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
London lives in a broken home with broken people. Her father isn't at home much and their longest conversations are usually one sentence long. It's still better than her mother. She hasn't talked, or even acknowledged London, since the accident. She hides in her room and if they are in the same room together, the avoidance hangs in the air like a heavy curtain. London can no longer count on her best friend, her brother Zach, to help out. He's gone too....
Since the accident, London's life has turned upside down. The whispers in the school halls are filled with conversation and gossip that London was to blame for Zach's death. Her best friend Heather can't be around her anymore and their friendship disappeared. Rachel, Zach's girlfriend, left town and won't even take a call from her. London had to leave Taylor, her boyfriend and Zach's best friend, because he constantly brought back memories she couldn't deal with. Now, she's created a warm cocoon, keeping her safe and distant from everyone. The only thing that keeps her company these days is her one-sided conversations with her brother and the depression that follows.
Then Jesse and Lili move from Utah to Florida, bringing with them the hope of a new start for London...
Lili doesn't know what's happened. She finds London and begins to start a friendship with her, not really knowing that London is just playing the role. But Lili doesn't give up and slowly but surely, a layer of the cocoon is torn away.
Jesse is the mysterious, new guy in school that makes London's heart skip a beat. He's safe....for now. And alternately, he notices London as well, even though her ex-best friend linked up with him. London needs someone strong that can listen without passing judgement...someone other than Taylor. And another layer peels away...
But one penultimate day, the cocoon is stripped away, laying bare London's feelings not only for her parents, but for those she knew in her past and present life. More than that, it forces London to realize and look at the truth of what happened to Zach and ultimately, her role in his death.
A beautiful and haunting novel in verse, Williams deftly creates a world around a tragic event that slowly crumbles into an avalanche, and the reader gets first row invitations to watch it happen. Williams also uses an infected family nucleus, and more importantly, a simple teenager taken to the brink, to stop the avalanche, which gives this book an authentic foundation. What made the family fall apart is the lure Williams uses, not allowing the reader the full story until the end, although enough hints are written throughout the novel to give them a curious sense of knowing what it could be. Hand this book to those teens who enjoy reading a powerful novel in verse about family, loss and love.
Recommended for upper JH/HS.