I received this book for free from Atheneum Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wait for Me by An Na
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on September 12th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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A teen pretends to be a perfect daughter, but her reality is far darker, in this penetrating look at identity and finding yourself amidst parents’ dreams for you, by Printz Award–winning novelist An Na.
Mina seems like the perfect daughter. Straight A student. Bound for Harvard. Helps out at her family’s dry cleaning store. Takes care of her hearing-impaired little sister. She is her parents’ pride and joy. From the outside, Mina is doing everything right. On the inside, Mina knows the truth. Her perfect-daughter life is a lie. And it isn’t until she meets someone to whom she cannot lie that she’s willing to consider what the truth might mean, and what it will cost. Because Ysrael, the young migrant worker who dreams of becoming a musician and who comes to work for her family, asks Mina the one question that scares her the most: What does she actually want?
Wait for Me was a new-to-me title when it showed up on my (metaphorical) doorstep. I hadn’t heard much about it but upon some research found out it was being republished with a pretty new cover and all. I dove into the book not entirely sure what to expect but ready to meet new characters and enjoy a new story.
This review is a hard one to write because upon finishing, I am not entirely sure how I feel about Wait for Me. I am divided on it because there are parts of it I enjoyed and other parts that really made it hard for me to finish the book feeling like I had read something worthwhile.
I think the number one issue I had with the book was just the pacing and really, it’s length. The story takes place over a period of time but I feel like that period of time isn’t really conveyed through the words. Everything seems so rushed to me even though it isn’t rushed. Because there are fewer pages, there isn’t as much room for development so there isn’t that slow burn of getting to know characters and getting to see characters get to know each other.
On top of that, there is just too much going on for the number of pages there are. We have sub plots that are resolved and addressed but not in a thorough manner.
Even as I say that though, I actually enjoyed An Na’s writing. There is a lyrical quality to it that just made me keep reading and I almost wonder if the book wouldn’t have been better off had it been written in verse. I know different people feel differently about verse novels but I tend to enjoy them and I feel like Wait for Me would have been infinitely better in verse.
An Na explores a lot of issues particular to the children of immigrants in Wait for Me and I think she does an excellent job of really capturing the complexities of parent/child dynamics that can exist. However, I also feel that I wanted to get to know her parents a little better but tbh, I just enjoy families and could read about them all the time.
Overall, I don’t know if I can claim to have loved the novel but I do think it is worth the read and an important book in this day and age.
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