Published by Independent on April 15th 2013
Nolan Lennox had things figured out. Named after a baseball legend, she enjoyed being the Tomboy, her closet filled with her brother's hand-me-downs, cut-off jeans and soccer shorts. But when her first trip to high school results in a broken heart from the first boy to ever make her heart flutter and cruel words from an older girl she once thought a family friend, Nolan starts to question the very person she thought she was and wonders if her humble upbringing can compete with the afforded luxuries of her privileged peers.
Throughout the next four years, Nolan struggles to maintain herself throughout her path of discovery, learning just how cruel teenagers can be through the pressures of underage drinking, sexuality and class. And despite how life seems to continue to work against her, she still manages to listen to her heart, falling deeper and deeper for the guy the entire town adores, even if he only sees her as a friend. Can Nolan strike a compromise between her own integrity and the boy she loves? And can she make him notice her before it’s too late?
Reed Johnson came to Coolidge High School with a lot of fanfare. The son of a hometown football legend and the brother of a local football hero, Reed wore all the pressures of carrying a town without hope into the spotlight. Thankfully, he had the talent to back it up. But when he meets a girl who makes him think twice about exactly what being a hero means, he starts to wonder if following in his brother’s footsteps might be all wrong.
Nolan Lennox was everything that was opposite of expected. She didn't flirt, she didn't drink and she didn't sleep around. Nothing about her was easy, but something about her made Reed want to try harder. Though she didn't look the part, she seemed to be spending a lot of time in Reed’s thoughts, and he wondered if she could be the one who made it all worthwhile. But could Reed handle letting her down? And would breaking her heart break him beyond repair?
Waiting on the Sidelines explores young love to its fullest, exposing how real young heartbreak and passion is and how important it is to discover yourself and hold onto your own identity. The story follows two young characters as they deal with mature situations, including the prevalence of bullying and promiscuity in today’s high school setting. Ultimately, Waiting on the Sidelines is a story of hope, honesty and those powerful, first true loves-the ones worth holding onto at any cost.
I was in a reading slump of epic proportions when Ginger emailed me requesting a review of her book. I accepted despite my initial reaction being less than enthusiastic (JK Rowling could have announced a new Harry Potter book and my reaction would have been “eh”) but something about the premise intrigued me and I desperately hoped this book would pull me out of my slump.
It did more than that…it touched my heart. From the first pages to the last lines I was consumed by this book and its wonderful story of true teenage love. There’s no insta-love here! It’s a journey from those initial fluttering butterflies evolving into a deep and connected friendship that naturally progresses to consuming true love with all the ups and downs of life in between.
Spanning all four years of high school (I missed that part in the blurb lol) I was taken on a roller-coaster accompanied by realistic, compelling and wonderful characters that I grew to love as I watched them develop into adults over the course of this book.
Nolan Lennox is a tomboy, exceptional at sport and intelligent, she’s more interested in making the team than what the newest fashions are. When Reed Johnson transfers to her school as the hotshot new quarterback Nolan’s head is turned. Struggling to find her place in this new world filled with flirting and hormones, Nolan gradually opens herself up to the idea that there’s more to life than sport and grades and maybe love is just around the corner.
Nolan was without a doubt one of my favourite MC’s. Despite developing a crush on Reed pretty quickly she doesn’t automatically dump her friends and sacrifice her happiness and dreams for his. She holds her head. Their first encounter is less than impressive and Nolan doesn’t let it fester, she confronts him about it and at all times is more than capable of levelling the playing field and not letting him have the upper hand. Taking part in a school project, the two slowly develop a caring and mutually beneficial friendship.
Because the book takes place over such a long period we get a wonderful insight into high school life and friendships in small town America. Every character Scott writes is rounded and developed with exceptional care. As a foreigner I appreciated the meticulous care and detail Scott takes in developing her plot and world.
The story is a romance but it is so much more than that. It’s the story of a young girl becoming a woman and all the heartache and triumph that must be endured to succeed. Scott touches on some heavy subjects such as bullying, teen drinking, sex and shattered dreams with a sensitivity that is lacking in many other YA/NA novels.
The path to true love is never easy and obstacles are thrown in their way but at all times Nolan and Reed manage to work through their issues with maturity and find their way back to each other. Nolan, like any girl at times does hesitate when she’s treated not so nicely and contemplates sacrificing her self-worth to keep the peace but happily her level-headedness prevails with the help of her friends and family. The support network that is so vital for teenagers is displayed really well in this book and the cast of characters are recognisable in their roles that I remember myself and my own friends taking on when we were teens.
At times I admit I wanted to punch Reed when he allowed his emotions to dictate his behaviour, pushing Nolan away at times when both of them were clearly hurting and my heart raced as their world appeared on the brink of crashing down around them. The emotions stirred in me evoked memories of both teenage years and also more recent times as heartbreak, uncertainty and confidence wobbles aren’t over once you turn eighteen! The little moments, texts, whispers and hand-holding gave me butterflies (if you know me at all you know it’s the sweet romances that are my undoing) and I loved how everything was kept age appropriate. The characters behaved like teenagers rather than a bunch of forty-year-olds. There were a few gut-punching moments where I audibly gasped and wailed and flung the kindle down only to pick it up immediately hoping that all would turn out okay.
It’s rare to read a book where you feel you know these characters so well you can almost call them friends. It’s even rarer to read a book where a female character is so well-rounded and given the chance to develop into someone truly exceptional without sacrificing her worth, where love is not the end game but the icing on a cake made of individual dreams, success and confidence to be shared with someone truly worth the wait.
WAITING ON THE SIDELINES was a very special book for me; it tore me apart at times but always filled me with hope. It was comforting, captivating and truly a treasure.