Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams (Review)

Genre:Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Publication.Date  May 1st 2012
Published By:  Simon Pulse | 
WebsiteCarol Lynch Williams 

Waiting - Goodreads
My review copy:Finished copy received from Simon&Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

After her brother’s death, a teen struggles to rediscover love and find redemption in this gripping novel.

Growing up in Africa and Latin America as the children of missionaries, 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: Did Zach take his own life? 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. (Goodreads)

I walk the halls alone. Check out the bathroom, make sure no one's there. Lock myself in a stall. Take off my shirt, bundle it in a ball, and scream right into an armpit.
Here's how it works--
You become a shell. Fragmented. Soul seeping through the bigger cracks.
You walk. Move. Arms into sleeves. Zip zippers. Run your fingers through your hair. Swish mouthwash through your mouth. Avoid flossing.

Nod when someone asks, "London, how are you?"
Look away when someone says, "I heard about your loss."
Want to tear skin with your teeth when someone says, "Oh, he's in a better place."
Every day.
Every day is the same
is like the other

they run into one
look alike

I can't tell a Monday from a Tuesday

only the sadness links me to them.
She has four brothers.
Count them. One, two, three, four.

And my one is none.

     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!

This review is posted as part of the Contemporary Fiction Month feature!

Click on the picture for full schedule.

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Amy said...

Evie, that is such a beautiful review!! All the emotion you felt while reading the book is evident in the way you reviewed it. It sounds like a heartbreaking, but amazing story.

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Bookish Brunette said...

*gasp* you know how I LOVE a good cry!!!! Alright... *adds it to the NEVERENDING list* ;)

missymyt said...

Adding this to my TBR pile! Thanks for the interview!

Book Blogger Mom said...

This book has been added to my to read pile for a couple months.

My blog - http://bookbloggermom.blogspot.com

Na said...

I'm just thinking back to my last few reads and it's been a while since I read about a sibbling's relationship. I can already tell that I would cry reading this which isn't a bad thing. I just hope there are sunny moments too. It sounds like the writing itself was wonderful too.

Kelly said...

Sounds like I might need 2 boxes of Kleenex to read it. I got teary eyed just reading the review!

Rebecca said...

This one sounds interesting... SO glad to hear you loved it. I actually appreciate a sad book every now and then and this sounds cry worthy! Gorgeous review :)

Kelly said...

Your review literally gave me chills! Definitely being added to my TBR list!

Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed your review but was a bit dismayed to hear you cried at the end. I much prefer happy endings, so I'm sure this book is for me.

Kristie Matheson said...

A book that makes you break down and cry is a for sure win in my books.

Emilie said...

Waiting has been on my radar for quite some time already and your review just confirmed that I absolutely need to read it. Books that make you cry just tend to be so much better than other ones.

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