Author: Ginger Scott
Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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.
Review: I have no clue why I fall in love with stories involving high school football so much when my school's football team is nothing to brag about (we lose... a lot). Maybe it's because those Friday nights with my friends, family, and community help me get through those first few months of school since they are packed with fun; maybe it's because I'm a marching band geek. Who knows? Either way, the football background is what attracted me to Waiting on the Sidelines.
Nolan and Reed's story reminded me of Macallan and Levi's from Elizabeth Eulberg's Better Off Friends. It was a cute, fun teenager relationship that experienced typical highs and lows minus all the sugar coating. Ginger Scott really got into writing controversial topics such as underage drinking, bullying, and partying almost every other chapter. This writing pattern quickly got old, but also sped up the reading pace. I seriously could not put this book down.
It was cool watching Nolan and Reed grow up (since the book scans all four years of high school), but I found it hard to remember that tiny detail. I think if there was a page break between chapters that read FRESHMEN, SOPHOMORE and so on, I wouldn't have been so easily confused. Minor changes like so could make the average rating go from a 4.15 to a potential 4.89 or whatever.
Becky was my favorite out of Nolan's friends, hands-down. When Nolan calls her to pick her up from some party out of the city, Becky doesn't ask questions. She just does what's asked of her. She's the kind of friend every girl would want. Nolan was... a perfect representation of an average teenage girl. She feared judgement, she experienced being bullied by the school queen bees, she second-guessed herself frequently. Like I said, the perfect representation of an average teenage girl. As for Reed, boy did he make me love him one chapter and hate him the next.
One minute I was like this:
And the next:
You get the point...