Book Review: Wait for You By J. Lynn

Do you ever get that sinking feeling? You know the kind that settles right down in the pit of the stomach – you feel duped, taken for a fool, sold a pup? Like it’s 1985 and you guiltily decided to buy a dodgy VCR machine at a stop light, and you get home and it’s actually just a box full of bricks? OK, I don’t know where that came from… But anyway, Wait for You gave me that same feeling. Perhaps it’s a little ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ to talk about cynicism here, but wow – the ultimate feeling I got from this one was that it was cynically composed to hit every trope of other popular, successful New Adult titles. The lonely, vulnerable, but sort-of-spunky girl, the unbelievably hot, arrogant guy who swoops into her life and pursues her relentlessly, the ‘dark secret’ that both of them have, that they each must overcome in order to be together… Sigh. The thing is, these things can often work. And the actual act of reading Wait for You isn’t a terrible experience – it clips along, some of Lynn’s dialogue is sparky and entertaining, lead chick Avery’s voice feels natural, it has a comforting predictability to it that can be welcome sometimes, and the sexy scenes aren’t terrible for the most part. But it felt empty and ill-thought-through, to the point that I couldn’t shake the feeling that the author was glugging on gallons of cynical juice as she wrote.

Avery has moved a million miles away to attend university, in order to escape the dark, dark secret in her past. She literally bumps into ridiculously handsome player Cam, and he immediately begins a relentless pursuit of her, forsaking all others – Avery, of course, being ‘different’ from all the other girls he used to fool around with. Oh, and he might have a little secret of his own… Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the idea of cliché if the characters are compelling enough. Ahem. I did enjoy the feel of Avery and Cam living across the hall from one another, bumping into each other in their apartment building and flirting, and some of Avery’s moments alone at home, trying to navigate life in a new place, were fairly well handled. You feel the ‘but’ coming, right?

Avery befriends ditzy blonde Brittany, and painfully stereotypical gay BF, Jacob. Let the cringing commence. When Cam finally lets Avery know what it is he’s been keeping from her, the moment is glossed over so swiftly that there may as well have been a disclaimer before the chapter saying ‘Yeah… his secret’s kiiiind of just there to give him, like, an air of mystery or whatever.’ That, however, is nothing compared to when the full secret of Avery’s past is revealed. Forget sinking feeling – I think I actually got queasy. *SPOILER ALERT* here, though it’s not a crashing surprise if you get a chapter or so into Wait for You. Avery was the victim of rape five years prior to the start of the story, aged fourteen; an event that her crushingly one-dimensional super-rich parents forced her to cover up so that they could continue going to the local country club. (Cameron’s family are, naturally, warm and loving and his mum would be played by Diane Weist and his dad by, like, Kevin Kline. Yep. Random.) She signed non-disclosure agreements, then was ostracised, and attempted suicide. The unravelling of this, and the supposed catharsis Avery gains by finally confronting these events, with, of course, the love of Cam to guide her and spur her on, felt entirely inauthentic and lacking in nuance. But the icing on the icky cake was the manner of her rape – described in such a way that it meant she ‘was still a virgin’. I cannot even begin to deal with how awfully this is handled. And then towards the end of the story, during a love-making scene, these sentences occur: “He always hesitated and asked before we did it like this. Something about that always warmed me; the thoughtfulness of it all…” Seriously?!? I just… I can’t. I found the manner in which this issue was dealt with, frankly, insulting.

What it boils down to is that, for me, Wait for You entirely lacked the emotional connection with the characters and general sense of authenticity necessary if a writer is going to allow their characters to have these experiences, or deal with this kind of subject matter.

That, and stereotypically ‘hot’ as Cam was described to be, he constantly called Avery “sweetheart”. Uh, smarm alert! Yuck. All in all, I’m afraid I wouldn’t wait for this one.

OK, that was bad.

Cringe Factor                                   4.5/5

Is it Hot in Here?                             3/5

For the Love of Feminism!           0/5

Overall Tasty Goodness                1.5/5

 FYI: J. Lynn is a pen name used by YA author Jennifer L. Armentrout.

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