Review of Kate in Waiting

Kate in Waiting
by Becky Albertalli
High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    400 pp.    g
4/21    978-0-06-264383-4    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-0-06-264385-8    $10.99

Kate and her best guy friend Anderson are obsessed with musical theater — and also, frequently, with the same boys. At summer theater camp, they both crush on gorgeous “Coke-Ad Matt,” who is also, they discover on the first day of junior year, a new student at their Georgia high school. Their “communal crush” gets complicated when Matt is cast as Kate’s love interest in the school’s production of Once upon a Mattress. Though neither friend knows Matt’s orientation, Kate believes Matt likes her and worries that dating him would affect her friendship with Anderson. Meanwhile, she’s developing feelings for her cute, goofy neighbor, Noah, who’s also in the show. As the central character, Kate is funny and sensitive, with a sharp eye for observation (her colorful descriptions of the habits of the school’s jocks, a.k.a. “f-boys,” are spot-on), a supportive and genuine relationship with Anderson, and palpable chemistry with Noah. The supporting cast, too, is well developed and naturally diverse — the fact that Kate and Anderson’s good friend is transgender, and a castmate uses a wheelchair, is NBD. While theater fans will especially identify with the story, recognizing their passion in Kate’s own, the solid friendship and romance at its core will appeal to a broader audience.

From the March/April 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Rachel L. Smith

Rachel L. Smith is a senior content manager for an educational publisher. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Simmons College.

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