Yasmine's Reviews > Waiting for You

Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti
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's review
May 25, 2009

did not like it
Read in May, 2009

** spoiler alert ** What works:

1) I liked the description of the main character as being not-too-skinny, not-too-fat, unable to fit into some jeans, etc. I liked that she seemed like a real girl, although her "people say I'm pretty but I don't think so" struck me as a little coy from a first-person narrator.

2) The relationship with her best friend, Sterling, was well-developed and interesting. Sterling is somewhat ADD, obsessed with older boys, a fantastic chef, a little demanding, but loyal as hell. She was just the kind of best friend a high school girl would have -- weird, maddening, but there when you need her.

3) Whenever Nash got all know-it-ally or obnoxious, I ate it up. Maybe because he reminded me of my little brother, in a way (who is 16 and is sweet and funny but definitely a know-it-all), but also because I really enjoyed that he was by no means perfect, but still ended up being perfect for Marisa.

4) It was cool to see parents who had lives separate from their children and made mistakes but were still good parents. So often in YA novels the parents are completely absent.

What doesn't:

1) Her dialogue, with its tags of, "Sterling was all, and then I was like." It's been commented on before here, but man, did it drive me crazy. The "whatevs" and "parental units" and all that was very distracting, as well.

2) At one point, it said something about "whale on a guitar." It's wail, right? I'm not mistaken on that? I just don't see how one could "whale" on a guitar, and I know it sounds petty, but come on now. This is a professional book that's gone through who knows how many revisions, and that one got by all those people?

3) The blatant PUMP UP THE VOLUME rip off. This was my main problem with Colasanti's first book. It was so clearly inspired by SAY ANYTHING, and just because the main character references SAY ANYTHING while he holds the stereo up for his love interest doesn't make it okay to be so derivative. This one had Nash as Dirty Dirk (Christian Slater as "Hard Harry," anyone?), which just seemed a completely unnecessary plot device. We already have the burgeoning friendship between her and Nash, and their past relationship when they were kids, and so to have him ALSO be this super-hip radio show host just seemed like too much. And it works in PUMP UP THE VOLUME because Christian Slater's character (Mark)is really quiet and keeps to himself, so his alter-ego doesn't conflict with his real personality, because his real personality is deliberately keeping a low profile. But in Nash's case, we see him ALL the time interacting with Marisa, and it just doesn't seem like Dirty Dirk fits his profile at all. Dirty Dirk spouts advice about how boys don't want to talk about relationships, and boys either like you or they don't, but Nash is way more complex than that, so it doesn't make any sense why he'd adopt that persona. At the end, Marisa kisses him and he claims it's his last show, but why did he start the show in the first place? It seems really out-of-character.

4) The references. God, the references! If I read one more laudatory paragraph about MY SO-CALLED LIFE, I thought I was going to puke. Yes, it was an awesome show. TEN YEARS AGO. Do teenagers still care about it that much? And I like Jodi Picoult as much as the next person, but did we need the brief message from our sponsors as the mom gives a brief synopsis of NINETEEN MINUTES as the book she's currently reading?

5) The length. I'm biased, 'cause I'm one of those "There's no need for a director's cut of LORD OF THE RINGS, because it's plenty long enough as it is" kind of people, but it seemed like a lot from this book could've been cut. It starts with a page about summer camp, for example, and how it was "so freaking awesome" that school was starting. Why can't we just start right on the first day of school? Summer camp never comes up again. And then other things, like her relationship with Nash, develops a lot of its most important moments off the page. Suddenly she's going to his house and they're working together, but I would've liked to see more of that first awkward meeting with the interview questions. That was an interesting device, so why did Colasanti abandon it?

6) The past about the anxiety disorder, or rather, the lack of development about that past. I'm not going to lie, when I read Colasanti's acknowledgments where she thanked a Doctor for giving her insight into what it's like to have depression/anxiety, I actually laughed. Out loud. For the first time since I'd opened the book. Maybe it's just because I had anxiety and depression all throughout high school, but it seemed like with the exception of a brief, brushed-over bout of staying home a lot and not doing her homework, Marisa handled many things surprisingly well. She has lots of friends (I had trouble keeping up with Andrea and Julia and company, and started wondering why they mattered), she flips out about her boyfriend spending time with his ex in a completely reasonable way for a high-school girl, she handles her parents' separation with as much aplomb as again we can expect from a sixteen year old girl...so where does this HORRIBLE ANXIETY DISORDER come in? Where are ALL THOSE ISSUES THAT MADE EVERYONE THINK SHE WAS CRAZY? It seemed like it was thrown in there to give her a little bit of a back story, but never developed. Yeah, she's a little neurotic. But I have a hard time seeing her as having some sort of crippling social anxiety when she seems to deal with other people and many large crises just fine.

7) The transitions. Nearly every beginning of a chapter made me cringe. "Can I just say that when you're hoping things will get better but they don't, it majorly sucks?" You CAN say that, but I wish you wouldn't, as it's kind of a Captain Obvious type of thing to say. "Darius is a hard-core nerd. You know the type." At least she recognizes he's a type, I guess. "My Aunt Katie is the coolest person I know," "There's this rivalry between orchestra and band geeks," and "No matter how outrageously wrong life gets, I can always count on Sterling to make me feel better" aren't bad, necessarily, but they read like the start to a five-paragraph essay. "There are three ways my Aunt Katie is cool: first, she likes online dating, secondly, she's really young and borrows my clothes..."

8) "Capturing the Now." Not only was the constant capitalization of the "Now" really cheesy, but I'm personally just a little sick of the "main character expresses herself through photography, which she's surprisingly good at, but which only comes up when it has to" thing. It ranks right up there with me and the klutzy heroine device. Like I said, personal preference.

This book is what brought me out of hiding to sign up for GoodReads, so I guess I should thank it. But yeah, overall, to paraphrase Colasanti: "Can I just say that when you're hoping a book you spent $17.99 on will get better, but it doesn't, that it majorly sucks?"
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message 1: by Dani (new) - rated it 1 star

Dani I agree with mostly everything you've said. I'm halfway done the book and I can pretty much predict everything that's going to happen. LOL I find that Marisa is kind of similar to me, except she really hasn't gone through that much pain to actually have depression. I hate how the author tries to make the readers pity her, instead it makes me cringe because I've been through worse.

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