Waiting on the Sidelines by Ginger Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
WAITING ON THE SIDELINES is a beautifully written coming-of-age love story.
Nolan Lennox has been a tomboy her entire life and has always been perfectly happy being perceived that way – until she meets Reed Johnson that is. Reed Johnson comes from a family of football players, a family that is well known in Nolan’s small community. He is immediately a fan favorite at Coolidge High School and Nolan suddenly realizes that baggy t-shirts and boy’s soccer shorts might not be the quickest way to catch Reed’s eye. When Nolan and Reed are paired up in class, a joint project quickly turns into an easy friendship. And when Nolan refuses to be a pushover, Reed proves that it’s not just an easy friendship, but also a strong one.
There were so many things I loved about WAITING ON THE SIDELINES:
I love that while Nolan doesn’t seem to think she’s beautiful, she’s also not written as an awkward or perfectly average girl. In so many books the main character will describe herself so self-deprecatingly that even the reader is wondering why such a hot guy fell for her. In WAITING ON THE SIDELINES, you can tell Nolan is pretty, smart, and athletic by the way the other characters react to her – even when she doesn’t see herself that way.
Nolan is a loyal friend; she’s humble, kind, and she’s also not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself. That was another thing that stood out to me in this book; even though WAITING ON THE SIDELINES is very clearly a coming-of-age story, I felt like from early on Nolan would stand up for herself and do things that it took me all of high school before I could do. So yes, it was coming-of-age; but with a main character who is mature throughout. I never cringed, shook my kindle, or felt the need to shout at Nolan to hurry and grow up!
Reed is the perfect combination of good and bad – he’s hot, sweet, loving and kind to Nolan; but boy, does he know how to screw up, too. He’s every girl’s dream guy and worst nightmare. You’ll fall madly in love with him and he’ll be the first to break your heart. But even still, you’d do it all over again, just for that chance to be with him.
Ginger Scott writes some amazing minor characters. Her bad characters (Tatum and Reed’s mom) are so awful—but in a good way—they are the characters you love to hate. And Buck, Reed’s dad, he rocks! He is so lovable, generous and caring and I just want to hug and squeeze him. Nolan’s best friends, Sarah and Sienna, both have their own very distinct roles in Nolan’s life and they are well-defined in who they are. Even Nolan’s boyfriends during her high school experience don’t feel like filler characters—they are well described and serve a purpose in Nolan’s growth as a person.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the pace—it’s smooth and even-keeled. It’s also evenly matched between being a coming-of-age story and a love story. We follow Nolan and Reed from the first day of freshman year through the beginning of college¬¬—and it is very much their story from start to finish. Even though it takes a while for Nolan and Reed to actually date, it is very clear from the beginning that they mean a lot to each other. And this is also not one of those books where you have to read the entire book before the two get together—you actually get to experience what the two are like as a couple and see them grow together through the years. The only part that I felt like was not as smooth was perhaps the ending—the book never rushed anything from freshman year through senior year—but the beginning of college was perhaps one of the biggest moments of all and it wasn’t ENOUGH! I wanted so much more—more explanation from Reed, more questions from Nolan, and most importantly, more time with them both! If I can spend four years slowly getting to know them, surely I deserve another chapter or two of them at the end?
Teens and adults alike will relate to this fantastic debut novel by author Ginger Scott. Young adult readers and fans of coming-of-age stories like Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld will love WAITING ON THE SIDELINES!
**Copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.
**Reviewed by preppea on I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews.
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