Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Why I love this book: The actual answer is really just that Kate in this book is a very close approximation of me in high school, only with more talent and more game. Kate is living the life I wish I had in High School, super awesome best friends, absolutely adorable love interest, cool older brother. It's basically what I had, but even better. Her life isn't perfect, but she's solid. She's going through totally normal high school stuff- and my god, did I relate. Especially the theater stuff- I was a bonafied theater nerd, who also hung with the althletes for soccer season. I played soccer year round and danced and did school and community theater. My worlds often collided the same way Kate finds her's meshing together in the book. In fact my senior year a bunch of athletes joined the school show (to look good on the old resume)... the show? Once Upon a Mattress. Suddenly my overly dramatic theater ass was confronted with my too cool sports team- I won't lie, there was uneasy feelings on all sides. It shouldn't have worked, but it did- maybe that's the magic of Once Upon a Mattress.
Anyways... I digress. The picture perfect descriptions of show life are only one reason I loved this book. Albertalli also nails the relationships, especially the communal crushes. You know, when you and your friends are all obsessed with one person and you get to do that crazy, giddy thing where you become PhD level researchers into every tiny moment that person has. Every look has to be dissected. I'm old, and we did this by passing notes in class, which added an entire layer of adrenaline- you had to use code words in case you were caught. The way the relationships between the characters were written here somehow manages to hit all of those highs and lows- of the romantic crushes and of the friendships. Teenagers feel everything so acutely, and theater teenagers tend to emote like no other group of humans, and this book had me reminiscing about my high schools days. Everything about these characters was 100% realistic.
Kate in Waiting was a total nostalgia read for me, but holds up as a contemporary book as well. Theater nerd rom-coms are eternal.
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