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Title: Kate in Waiting
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: 22nd of April 2020 – Penguin
Format: Digital (eARC) – 400 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
When this tour was announced, I couldn’t believe we were getting the chance to once again work with Penguin, they are spoiling us for sure! And while YA contemporary has never been one of my favourite genres, I trust Dave with his tours, and I’m glad I did because this book was fun, cute and quick! Keep on reading for my thoughts!
Thank you to Dave, Penguin and the author for letting me take part in this tour and for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Contrary to popular belief, best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. Carpooling to and from theater rehearsals? Environmentally sound and efficient. Consulting each other on every single life decision? Basic good judgment. Pining for the same guys from afar? Shared crushes are more fun anyway.
But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush shows up at their school, everything goes off-script. Matt Olsson is talented and sweet, and Kate likes him. She really likes him. The only problem? So does Anderson.
Turns out, communal crushes aren’t so fun when real feelings are involved. This one might even bring the curtains down on Kate and Anderson’s friendship.
Trigger Warnings: divorced parents, a lot of swearing, mentions of fairly graphic bullying.
Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli is the new standalone novel by the author of the Simonverse books and an author I have wanted to read for years. When I heard about this one going on tour, I signed up so fast!
In this book, we meet Kate our main character as she and her best friend Anderson are talking about the crush they had this summer – because of course they have communal crushes – and lo and behold, he turns up at their school. This was just a bunch of laughs, cuteness, feelings and just a great, quick read.
This book is set in a High school in America which is actually a setting I don’t read much of, but have been more lately. The reason I don’t like the read books set in schools is because I was bullied a lot when I was younger and I was glad to leave high school, but apart from a little bit of bullying being mentioned, the school came across as quite diverse and accepting, even though at times it felt like it was maybe trying a little bit too hard in my opinion.
What I loved the most about the setting was the auditorium and theatre room in the school. I was a theatre kid for 9 years so it’s all ingrained into me and I dearly miss it, so this book was especially nostalgic to me and I just couldn’t help but adore it. I had never heard of this musical before, but I will definitely be doing so in the future because it sounded so fun.
Kate: Kate is the main character and at times I really liked her, others not so much, but overall, I found her to be a very real, relatable, believable and complex character. I think that it’s hard to get characters right in contemporaries (and I don’t know why but that’s something I’ve noticed), however, the author did a great job of this here. What I liked the most was the friendship between Kate and Anderson, it was so cute and my heart literally burst with happiness so many times. I also was a bit of a Kate in high school, so was easily able to identify and I found that she grew a lot in the space of this book, along with other characters too.
Anderson: Anderson was also a fantastic character and I think I actually liked him more than Kate even though we don’t see as much of him as her. He is so sweet and caring towards Kate and I think he is definitely the best best-friend ever! Utter cinnamon roll!
Noah: Noah was a character I was not sure about to start with but as the book went on, I just liked him more and more and by the end I loved him. He is what Kate and her squad call a “fuckboy” but he also really isn’t and it’s interesting to see how he goes out of his way to not appear or be like one.
Matt: Matt is the person that Kate and Anderson have a crush on and I’ll be honest, he was cute and nice, but I was always expecting him to be mean and I have no idea why ahah. He isn’t though, so no worries! I would have liked to see more of him to be honest and I think his backstory had a lot more potential than what was seen and talked about. Maybe there will be a Kateverse and we will be able to see our fave characters again!
Raina, Brandie and Ryan: These are some side characters that I also loved and just wanted to mention because they are so cute and kind. Ryan is Kate’s brother and while they are not very close, you can tell they would do anything for one another. They have a very loving relationship without showing it in my opinion. Brandie was just also a cinnamon roll and I wanted to give her a big hug and Raina is a complete queen, loved her to bits!
Friendship: One of my favourite themes in books is as you know, friendship and I think there was a really fantastic friendship dynamic in this book. I think the whole plot hinges on friendship, trust and explores a lot of themes that relate not only to teenagers but also to adults. Kate and Anderson have my whole heart and I loved their relationship, also their squad, with Raina and Brandie are like the best squad ever.
Crushes: This is not something I’ve read much about in books since I don’t read that many YA contemporaries, but it was both cute and hilarious. The “communal crush” idea was unique and funny, and I was just constantly wondering what would happen and who would get the guy!
High school: I mentioned above that this was a setting that was really well done and it is definitely one of the best high school environments that I’ve read in books. While there is the mention of bullying, it’s not front and centre, which can sometimes be hard for me to read, so I appreciated not getting bombed with it – while of course it is important to talk about. What really came to the forefront was the importance of friendship and just generally teenagers going through life and having to jump over hurdles. Nothing is ever as you expect and life is always easier when you have a badass, cool, fun and caring group of friends by your side.
Theatre: And finally, my favourite part of the book was obviously theatre because I am such a theatre nerd. I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes of the play, the costumes, the script, seeing how the group all came together as one to smash this amazing sounding play. It was just fabulous, and made me so nostalgic!
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was a great book that had me going through so many emotions in just a few pages. It was cute, like really, really cute, especially at the end and my heart was honestly just so happy. The mix of friendship, crushes, theatre and high school was really well done and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all these things.
The one thing I do want to mention, and is entirely subjective, is that I found there to be a massive amount of swearing which kind of shocked me. I swear like a sailor myself and usually never notice swearing in books, but I did here and I will admit that it bothered me a little bit. There maybe weren’t that many and I may be exaggerating a tad, but it felt like there was an f-bomb a couple times on each page, which kind of felt off for me considering this is YA, but that’s the only little issue I had with this book.
I gave Kate in Waiting 4 stars (full ASPECTS rating below) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn’t as funny as some other YA contemporaries I have read lately, but there was a nice amount of humour to cut through some of the harder subjects that were spoken about. The writing style was really nice and fluid and I read this book very quickly, even though it’s 400-pages long (which is long for a contemporary right?).
If you love funny, cute, and quick reads with a bunch of amazing, caring, complex and believable characters, a unique plot set in a high school and theatre, then this is definitely the book for you!
Thank you once again to Dave and Penguin for the chance to be on this tour, it was an amazing reading experience and I will definitely now be picking up the other Albertalli books I have on my shelves!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – BECKY ALBERTALLI
Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta.
Atmosphere – 6
Start – 6.5
Pacing – 7.5
Ending – 8
Characters – 7
Theme – 7
Style – 7
Total = 49
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