by: Kristan Higgins
I picked up this romance novel at Rite Aid a week or so ago (along with ice cream and pop chips; it was not a good day) on the recommendation of two of my favorite authors, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn. With a double whammy, how can you go wrong?
And I didn’t. While not my favorite romance novel ever, it was probably the best one from a new author I’ve picked up in a long, long time. The characterizations were really good, with the main characters and most of the supporting characters being extremely well-developed. There were one or two supporting characters that came across as a little “type-y” rather than depending on Higgins’ characterization to develop, but it certainly wasn’t an egregious overuse.
The plotline was good – it’s one of those “old love comes back to town” kind of deals. I’m really fond of that plot device – I think it makes for a more believable bond between the two main characters. And Higgins put a pretty interesting twist on it here, without making it too angst-ridden. The pacing was really nice; at no point did I feel like it was either dragging or leaving me with my head spinning.
The book itself was light and full of humor. I don’t think it actually made me laugh or chuckle at any point, but it certainly worked as an escape mechanism. One of the things I liked best is how Higgins handled secondary relationships between the main characters and their friends and family. Without overshadowing the main relationship of the book, Higgins manages to make them important to the characters’ development and believable. It helps to round out the characters, but it also makes the book seem more grounded in reality. Family and friends generally are an important part of any life decision and it’s always weird to me when authors neglect those relationships in favor of a romantic relationship. Higgins struck an exceptionally good balance, I feel, especially for a contemporary novel where it’s so easy to create situations where the characters can be removed from their families.
The book draws a lot from Jane Austen’s Emma and at first, I thought it was going to be a little too much “men are like X and to trap them women must Y.” That is not an attitude I’m fond of at all. But instead, Higgins used that set-up to create some interesting situations and invert those expectations. (Much like Austen’s Emma, so perhaps I should have expected that, rather than risking brain damage by rolling my eyes so hard during the first few pages.)
There was lots and lots of sexual tension in this book but very little actual sex. (I don’t recall reading any, although sometimes I just skim over those scenes.) I was kinda meh about this aspect of the book – didn’t think a lot or a little of it.
All in all, if you like contemporary romances that are light and fun, you should definitely give Waiting on You a try. It was a very good bit of escapism. If you like your romances heavy sexualized or dark, or if you like them completely focused on the relationship between the two main characters, than perhaps this isn’t the book for you.