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Review: Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

This is my first taste of Becky Albertalli’s writing, and it was lovely. It’s the exact kind of sweet contemporary YA that is easy to consume, makes you feel a little gooey inside (but would probably become a bit sickly with too much consumption!)

I’m also delighted to be taking part in the Ultimate Blog Tour for Kate in Waiting through The Write Reads Tours.

Title: Kate in Waiting
Author: Becky Albertalli
Pages: 400
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication Date: 22nd April 2021
Ownership: ARC provided by the publisher in connection with The Write Reads Tours

Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

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.

My Review

Ever since their brief romance, when Anderson released that he was gay, Kate and Andy have been best friends. They do everything together, from driving to school, taking part in the musical, going to theatre camp … and crushing on the same guys. Because a shared crush is much more fun than having one alone, right?

Unfortunately, Kate and Andy find themselves falling for the same guy again but, when it turns out Matt is now going to their school, there’s suddenly the chance for this crush to become something more for either of them. And, although they lay ground rules that are meant to protect their friendship at all costs, as things become more serious for both Kate and Andy, Kate knows someone is going to end up getting hurt, whatever the outcome.

Kate and Andy have a really natural dialogue and banter with each other, which is part of what makes this book so fun to read. They are both a little bit extra, and often lack in confidence, but they boost each other up just like good friends should do. They are also not the only characters in the book, or the friendship group, and it’s really great to read a YA story that, although it focuses on Kate as the main character, has some properly fleshed-out supporting roles too. This includes Kate’s brother, Ryan, her two other close friends, Brandie and Raina (one of whom is trans), Ryan’s friend Noah, as well as the ensemble of drama kids who are taking part in this year’s production.

Having recently read The Love Curse of Melody Macintyre, as well as Camp, it was super fun to read another story set in a ‘theatre kids’ world, especially as this production was a lot more like a normal school production, and the actors were keen but not mind-bendingly serious!

This is very much a love triangle, but it’s told well, and in a fun setting. It also doesn’t pit the characters against each other; Kate isn’t always easy to love, but we see her being caught between envy and being supportive of her friend and it’s both endearing and realistic. Even better is a budding romance in this story that isn’t forced and isn’t added to force a comparison between these love interests – it just begins to make sense and it’s just really sweet to read.

I’m not a big fan of labelling basically everyone who is not part of the theatre squad as “fuckboys” or “f-boys” – not because I’m offended by the language, but just because it became a little repetitive. We understand that Kate has issues with some of these kids, but it seems like there’s the jocks, and the theatre kids, and that’s it. We see some crossing of these boundaries, and Kate perhaps becoming a little more open-minded as the story goes on, but it’s still perpetuated by her own friends, so I doubt this kind of inclusivity was intended to be the message, even though the rest of the characters are diverse and inclusive.

In all, I found this a really fun, enjoyable read – it might not blow your mind, but there was something wholesome in this story that other similar YA books just really miss.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and through The Write Reads Tours in exchange for an honest review.


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