cover image Kate in Waiting

Kate in Waiting

Becky Albertalli. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-264383-4

Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) centers a close friendship in this theater-infused novel that swaps chapters for scenes. Best friends Kate Garfield, who is Jewish and white, and Anderson Walker, who is Black, have lots in common: they’re neighbors in an Atlanta suburb who both live for theater and tend to fall for the same guy each summer, despite having “no game.” So far, though, their communal crushes have worked out just fine. When their most recent interest, white “Coke-Ad”-cute Matt from theater camp, transfers to their school, though, he’s promptly cast as Kate’s love interest in Once upon a Mattress. As their mutual feelings for him test their friendship, Kate’s old friend and neighbor Noah, an “f-boy” jock, seems increasingly smitten with Kate. She’s not interested, naturally—he can’t even sing—but he does make her laugh. Albertalli has crafted a rom-com that’s not only sharp and funny, but distinguished by its casually diverse LGBTQ cast’s awareness that friendship (among friends, to be sure, but also siblings, and gasp, romantic interests) is as important as love. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Apr.) [/em]