Contemporary Young Adult

Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli Review

Musical theater nerd Kate is waiting for her first great love and her return to the stage after a middle-school performance went viral.

Theater kids and best friends Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are crushing on the same guy. Matt. They’ve got a word for this kind of thing, communal crush. Yup, it’s a thing. Their friendship is about two exits past codependent, but it’s also pure and unguarded, the kind of friendship capable of carrying you through life’s trenches. Dang, it’s a Disney-movie friendship. All flowing hair and slow-mo montages, and if there’s a bit of codependence… it’s a small price to pay.

But back to Kate in Waiting. So, Kate and Anderson’s friendship is turned upside down when communal crush Matt, who has until now remained firmly in the realm of summer camp fun, transfers to their high school. Soon their mutual crush is upgraded to falling in love, and for the first time, Kate and Anderson find their friendship in dangerous, untested waters. The ground rules are clear. No one is allowed to get hurt. And no matter who gets the guy, Kate and Andy won’t let it affect their friendship. But jealousy just isn’t a very rule-orientated emotion.

Kate in Waiting explores the deep bonds of platonic friendships and the confusing highs and lows of first love. Delivering feel-good fun that will leave you feeling heart-warmed and wishing for more YA rom-coms like this one. The dialogue is natural, witty, and magnetic. And the characters steal the show. Kate and Andy are relatable and awkward; the coming-of-age vibes are real and raw and feel at every point honest as football games and parties are attended. It’s high school in a bottle. Albertalli has crafted a brilliant cast of characters (with great LQBTQIA+ representation). Anderson is gay. Close friend, Raina, is trans. Kate and older brother, Ryan, are kids of divorce, and that split-into-two-ness (between households and co-parents) is well explored. Apart from masterful musical theater vibes, sweet flirtation abounds in this YA rom-com.

Lights, camera, action, you’re bound to love this one. 

Book: Kate in Waiting
Published: Penguin
Pages: 400
Age Range: 13 – 18
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Stars: 5/5

Penguin Random House kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.


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