Who knew a media law professor could provide me with book recommendations? A few months ago, I mentioned how I was writing a novel to my media law professor. He referenced a past student of his, Alysha Kaye. She was in the process of marketing her debut novel The Waiting Room and it was a few months before publication.
I thought, “Okay, this woman went to Texas State University just like me, so I’m automatically even more interested in her book.”
Then I read the book blurb. Afterlife, reincarnation, waiting for someone after death? It sounded really freaking cool and something I haven’t seen done a lot.
The book starts off in an interesting way: the main character dies. The story explores themes of what happens after we die. Where do we go? Is there an afterlife. 30-year-old Jude dies and wakes up in a waiting room. It’s a place where people wait to be reincarnated into their new lives. They usually are not in the waiting room for any longer than an hour yet for some reason Jude has been in the waiting room for a lot longer than everyone else.
In the waiting room there is a large window people can look out of to see their loved ones who are still living. Jude uses the window to watch his wife Nina. He watches her through the window for decades (that’s some dedication!). He watches her as she copes with his loss and starts to move on with her life.
There are so many reasons why The Waiting Room is so freaking amazing. The concept of deceased people in a waiting room, waiting to be transferring into their new life is really interesting. The book explores a lot of time periods, places, and personalities so every chapter and anecdote always feels fresh and unique.
The author has mentioned how the book morphed out of a cheesy poem she wrote to her then boyfriend. When I was first going into reading this book, I kept thinking how exactly she would navigate Jude and Nina’s relationship. Safe to say, I was blown away at the way she explored the characters relationship while keeping the book interesting and without getting overtly sappy and cliche. Bonus points on that.
My only qualm with the writing was the supporting characters. Kaye did a good job of describing the people that worked in the waiting room but not about the many people that passed through the waiting room. Given how she wanted to show the many different lives people live, it would have been fun to hear more about some of the people in the waiting room. More than just the handful of sentences she used to talk about them.
Also, the author mentioned how some people thought The Waiting Room was the first in a planned book series. I can see how this would be thought. The writing yields themes that could be explored in further books, maybe with different characters, buts still tied in somehow. It reminds me of The Giver by Lois Lowry and how that book spawned three more books in a loose quartet.
The Waiting Room exceeded my expectations of the romance genre and self-publishing. It doesn’t succumb to typical cliches and stays fresh and unique in it’s themes and how it approaches things. Good Read 5/5
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