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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
When a friend in an online chat room experiences an attack, a teen risks everything to help her in the young adult novel, Waiting On You by Joey Paul. When Angelina Harding was a baby, her father left and never returned. Her mother never got over it and hid from reality by seeking numbing oblivion from alcohol. Blaming Angelina for the loss of their parents, Angelina's two older sisters made her home life a living hell. Worse than that, they made sure that Angelina had no friends at school, either. Everything changed when her Aunt Muriel gave her a computer. Bullied at home as well as school, Angelina was excited at the prospect of making friends online. Building a base of friends in a chatroom, including sixteen-year-old Zack, Angelina finally feels that someone cares for her and gives her life validation. While her online friendship with Zach grows, the bullying in the other areas of her life escalates to physical violence. When Angelina's pleas for help are dismissed, she turns to Zack. Even though they live hundreds of miles apart, can Zack protect her? Or will their lives spiral out of control?
Waiting On You by Joey Paul is an intense young adult novel that explores the social issues of bullying. Well-written, it is a riveting story that lightly touches on the tragedy of abuse. Although Angelina's feelings about her home life and school nemesis are unrealistic, her traumatic experiences are heartrending. Because Angelina spent her life experiencing ill-treatment from her sisters and her mother's negligence, the abuse would have been a typical way of life for her. With engaging characters and a fascinating plot, it is an emotional story that I will not soon forget. Containing plenty of drama and conflict, this riveting novel will thrill those that enjoy social issues at the heart of a story.