I’m a huge fan of the Throwing Shade podcast—if you want irreverent and comedic commentary on feminist/LGBT issues, this pod’s for you. I first heard of them through R. Eric Church, whose archives I plumbed during the election and found great comfort in his sly news commentary. Last month, Erin and Bryan hosted Richard Lawson, a writer for Vanity Fair, as a guest on the show. He discussed his new young adult novel, All We Can Do Is Wait, which piqued my curiosity.
The novel opens with a major bridge collapsing in Boston. Subsequently, several teens are thrown together as they await news of their loved ones, yet they each have personal issues that plague them: Alexa is grieving the loss of a best friend, while her brother Jason is grappling with a secret; Scott is conflicted about his girlfriend, Aimee; and Skyler feels guilty that her sister Kate has been intervening in the case of her abusive ex-boyfriend.
I’ve been noticing that the new trend in YA fiction has been a return to realistic fiction, and this book fits solidly into that category. As a character study, this is solidly interesting and interrogates the way teens deal with crisis and tragedy. Each of the characters brings a fascinating backstory with an issue that multi-cultural American teens. It also has interesting subplots related to immigrant/multi-ethnic families and LGBT identities. Yet it feels fairly melodramatic and unrealistic for a teen-centric novel. I did not buy the way the characters interacted with each other, and the ending feels a bit too convenient. That said, this is an interesting read. 3.5 stars.
Cross-posted to my blog.