The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye
Date of Publishing : July 1st 2014
Publisher: Alysha Kaye
Genres: Romance, Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★
Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other souls who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those souls, Jude’s name is never called by the mysterious “receptionist”. He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He’s waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? The Waiting Room is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualization, of waiting.
I dove head-first into The Waiting Room knowing nothing about the concept that it’d been written into. Of course, I’d read the blurb and seen the cover BUT the concept itself is so fresh, that I’ve never read it before.
And now after finishing it, I can honestly say that Alysha Kaye’s debut is a pleasant surprise.
The entire point of humans believing in the after-life is to give them hope that this is not the end. That there is something beyond the lives we live on the earth. And Miss Kaye explores that possibility beautifully. I’m completely sold on the idea of a waiting room.
The whole thing starts when Jude reaches a sort of an airport gate filled with people whose names are called within twenty minutes of their arrival. Then they leave. But that can’t be because Jude died in a car accident and the room he’s in, isn’t actually an airport.
Jude’s name isn’t called at all and while this is something new, the reader gets to see how Jude gets used to the room everyone seems to call The Waiting Room. In a way, Jude appears to appreciate life after his own is over. He watches as his wife Nina deals with the loss of her husband, opens up her heart to love again and has a family of her own.
And then a little over fifty years after Jude’s death, Nina walks into the Waiting Room. And then they discover that they can leave together. Almost as if Jude was waiting for her.
Many times I wondered (and this issue was addressed in the book too) why only Nina and Jude were given the chance to wait for each other when other thousands, millions of lovers were separated at death. What was special about them? What redeeming quality did they have that others lacked?
Something that you’ll have to read to find out.
I love the fact that Miss Kaye has an almost comedic prose while also addressing an issue that is deeply philosophical. Which—being a mostly YA and NA reader—I appreciate. It made me think in a way that didn’t bore me.
The chapter following the departure of Jude and Nina from the Waiting Room can also be read as standalones. It follows the same couple with different lives and identities, in different settings and cultures and each one of them blew me away. I could almost picture them and it made my heart hurt to see them die when they did.
The issue I found with this book was “telling not showing” approach that seems to have been followed. There were certain times when the author told the audience: this happened, then this happened and then this happened. It didn’t sit too well with me. Also, I’d like to have known more about the supporting characters. More than what was explained in two or three sentences.
There was also a shift in POV far too many times—something that takes a little getting used too. But this is purely a personal problem—which is okay because I know people who like multiple POVs. I’m not one of them.
Overall, I’d say the quality of writing in this book exceeds that of many other debutante writers I’ve read so that’s a completely pleasant surprise. The concept is fresh, the writing is enjoyable, the characters were people I actually came to care about and the author herself is amazingly sweet. (No seriously people, she’s so kind.)
I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from Miss Kayla J
About the Author
Alysha Kaye was born in San Marcos, TX, where she also received her BA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. She worked in marketing for a brief and terrible cubicle-soul-sucking time until she was accepted into Teach for America and promptly moved to Oahu. She taught 7th grade English in Aiea for two years and also received her Masters in Education from University of Hawaii. She now teaches in Austin, TX and tries to squeeze in as much writing as possible between lesson planning. She dreamt about The Waiting Room once, and offhandedly wrote her boyfriend a love poem about waiting for him after death. Somehow, that became a novel.
*I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*