Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
Publishing Date: May 14, 2013
Summary (from Goodreads): Eighteen-year-old Simon Peters wants to stand up for the truth about who he is. His love for Stephen is unwavering, but does he have the courage to defend it when his entire church community, including his eldest brother has ostracized him? Trapped in a cashier’s job he hates, struggling to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents have died, and determined to look after his mute brother, Simon puts everyone else’s needs before his own. It takes a courageous act of self-sacrifice on Jude’s part to change both of their lives forever. Jude, who knew that when the fig tree in their yard began to bloom, it was his time to finally be heard and to set Simon free.
Review: Simon’s situation is heartbreaking and almost too much to handle. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, this is not the book for you. I was surprised to find that this was not really a story about a gay relationship. It is, however,a story about family struggles, coming of age and overcoming obstacles. Simon’s thrown every curveball that one could imagine and then some curveballs that one wouldn’t even fathom could happen to one young man. I liked that Simon was a strong character who didn’t whine about his situation but was constantly thinking of others’ needs and what he could do to help them. His big heart and unselfishness makes him a likable character. I was instantly drawn into his world and invested in his future. In fact, all of the characters were well developed. The only issue I had with the characters was the halfhearted attempt at southern dialect. It seemed that the dialect was randomly sprinkled in with a few “ya’lls” and “yers.” Otherwise, I sometimes forgot that this was taking place in the South.
I was somewhat disappointed that Simon and Stephen’s conflicts and issues weren’t more of the story. It seemed, as you start to read that that is going to be the major plot line, but then it just takes a back seat for a majority of the story. I initially had a group of students who I thought would really identify with this story but as it ebbed so did my confidence in the intended audience. While I think that group of students would still be interested in the story, I don’t think they would identify completely with Simon’s issues.
My biggest issue with the plot was the ending. I was extremely disappointed. Without spoiling the story, the ending feels wide open. I was hoping there was at least one more page or even an epilogue, but I was left empty handed. Maybe I’ve been reading too many series books but this ending seemed to leave the door open for a sequel.
About the Author: Lindsay has had a passion for storytelling since her early childhood in Toronto, Canada. At eighteen, she moved to upstate New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America where she penned the text to Cake Art for the school’s publishing division. Moynihan currently lives in Orlando, Florida, where she attends the University of Central Florida, volunteers with local LGBTQ organizations, and continues to write about the struggles and successes of today’s young adults. The Waiting Tree is her first novel.