I initially became interested in reading Susane Colasanti's books when I found out one featured a character battling anxiety and depression, a topic that hits very close to home for me. Unfortunately, I was at the mercy of my library's limited selection and another library's waiting list. I enjoyed her other books immensely but could not wait to have Waiting For You in my hands. It finally arrived last week!
Though Marisa spent most of the previous year struggling with anxiety and depression, she's ready to start over. She wants her sophomore year to be about living "in the Now." She also wants a boyfriend.
For a while, things seem to be under control. Marisa has her anxiety and depression in check. Her family is stable, and her dad is super-supportive. Her best friend Sterling is awesome. And her crush Derek finally asked her out.
Unfortunately, things start to fall part rapidly. Her parents are separated. Derek is still spending a lot of time with his ex-girlfriend. She and Sterling aren't seeing eye to eye. All of these events trigger Marisa's anxiety and depression, filling her head with negative and obsessive thoughts that she can't control.
Marisa finds comfort in her long-time friend Nash, who is a little too nerdy to be boyfriend material for Marisa but is easy to talk to and very understanding. She also feels hopeful as she listens to Dirty Dirk, an anonymous DJ who broadcasts podcasts calling out the indiscretions of students and teachers while offering advice to listeners (a tame version of "Pump Up The Volume").
While Marisa's true love was easy to spot a mile away and Dirty Dirk's identity wasn't hard to figure out, I found this to be a great read. As always, Susane Colasanti tackled universal issues without sugarcoating them. The dialogue was real. The pain was real. The characters were real.
I especially liked the way she wrote about Marisa's anxiety and depression. It's difficult to explain to people who've never experienced it and don't understand the out of control feelings, but Colasanti nailed it.
In addition, I loved the nods to John Mayer and his lyrics.
"I have a theory that the answers to all of life's major questions can be found in a John Mayer song."
I agree. And the ones that aren't might very well be found in one of Colasanti's novels.