Waiting for Sarah
Authors: Bruce McBay and James Heneghan
Genre: Young adult
About Waiting for Sarah: An accident took Mike's family and his legs. Life seems pretty miserable until he meets a young girl while working on a school project.
Review of Waiting for Sarah
Her daughter's name was the last word she ever spoke. A truck came at them from the opposite side of the freeway, charging over the grass median and ramming their Chevy head-on with the force of a bomb. In the explosion of metal, plastic and glass, the four occupants were crushed like flies, three of them fatally.
Their deaths were quick.
The lone driver of the runaway truck had been drinking all afternoon. His skull shattered the windshield. His death was also quick.
...from pages 1-2
The following is an edited transcript of a discussion between LMB and KB, age 14, on 24 February 2009.
- What was the name of the book?
- Waiting for Sarah.
- What was it about?
- It was about a teenager who was in a terrible car accident.
- Boy or girl?
- A boy.
- What was his name?
- Where was it set? Did they say?
- I don't think so. Yeah I think they did but I forget.
- He lost his parents and his little sister and the bottom [halves] of his legs from his knees down and then he started on this project for his school where this grade 8 girl came to help him and he started to get to know her.
- What was her name?
- What kind of project?
- He was in the archives room creating a history of his school from 50 years ago till now.
- What did Mike think of Sarah?
- He thought she was just weird.
- Why was she there? She was supposed to be helping him?
- Yeah, because he was in a wheelchair and he couldn't reach stuff on the top bookshelf.
- So she came to the school to help him do this project.
- Well, the yearbook leader was supposed to give him one but he said no and one showed up anyway so he just thought she was like...
- An assistant. Somebody to help him.
- He was pretty grumpy at the beginning of the book.
- Yeah, pretty grumpy.
- And was he was better by the end?
- Oh yeah.
- Well, at first he was all in denial about getting prosthetics and then by the end he got some.
- So Sarah changed him.
- Yeah. She really changed him.
- Did it give you any insight into what it's like to have a disability?
- Yeah. He talked about feeling everyone's eyes on him and the pity some people gave him. Being disabled made him want to be independent even more. He didn't want people's help because he thought they were doing it just because "Oh he's in a wheelchair. We should push him around the school."
- So what if you were to meet a kid like that? What would you do differently now that you've read the book?
- I'd try not to judge him.
- And what if he was all grumpy and rude to you?
- Well, he had a friend Robbie who stuck through with him to the end. I thought that was pretty cool.
- Was the book good?
- It was sweet. It had its moments, yeah. It was a little harsh and scary at the beginning but it got better.
- Harsh and scary how?
- He was freaking out after the accident and being rude to everybody. Didn't like that much.
- Did you like the book?
- A lot or a little or...?
- A decent amount.
- Anything else you want to say about it?
- It made me cry at the beginning. It was really sad because they talked about the car crash and when he was remembering that very day. He remembered it very vividly.
- Anything else?
- Yeah but it will totally spoil the book so it's probably not a good idea.
- Would you recommend the book?
- Yeah. My friend read it and she liked it too.
- Joanne Peters, CM Magazine, 19 September 2003
- “...a really unusual work of adolescent fiction. It's not your average teen "problem" story...”
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Added 27 March 2009.
Updated 30 March 2013.