Kate and Andy have always loved having crushes on the same boys. After all, what could be more fun than spending time with your best friend dissecting every glance, word and text message for hidden signs of reciprocation from the object of your mutual affection? But when their summer theater camp crush, Matt, shows up at their school on the first day of junior year, their lighthearted attraction to him suddenly becomes a little too real. As Kate navigates her feelings for Matt—not to mention the stress of the fall musical—she wonders if her friendship with Andy can withstand first love.
Though Kate’s and Andy’s competing crushes on Matt take center stage for much of the book, Kate in Waiting celebrates love in all its forms, including friendship, family, unrequited attractions and new romances. Kate’s BFF-ship with Andy is fierce, flawed and extremely relatable, as is her sibling dynamic with her older brother, Ryan, and her budding flirtation with Ryan’s best friend, Noah.
Becky Albertalli creates a colorful, true-to-life cast of supporting characters, from “the squad” of Kate’s theater friends to their jock antagonists, “the f-boys.” Although these tropes can be found in any teen movie, Albertalli makes them entirely her own, transforming theater kids and jocks alike into fully developed characters who blur the lines between their cliques.
Fans of Albertalli’s Creekwood novels (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, et al.) will feel right at home with Kate in Waiting, which encapsulates all the joys and anxieties of the high school experience, with special attention paid to the strange and wonderful electricity of the theater. The result will make both loyal Albertalli fans and newcomers alike give Kate in Waiting a standing ovation.