Micah Jaeger's life is a mess. His folks have split, and his mother is seeing a medium to communicate with Micah's older brother, killed in Afghanistan. He had to change schools for his junior year, which made him retreat further into himself, hiding behind his camera—and hiding that he's gay.
One sunny day in June, as he's shooting a dead seagull on the shore of Long Island Sound, a mysterious guy appears in a beautiful sailboat. At first, the guy's boat shoes are the image that stays with Micah. But soon it's the person himself, Walker Donnell, who haunts Micah's dreams.
Walker's life looks perfect to Micah. His wealthy parents adore him. He has everything he could want. He's gorgeous and generous. And he falls hard for Micah. But he has a secret: Walker is intersex.
The closer Walker and Micah grow, the more Walker feels the need to be sure of himself in ways he hasn't fully faced before, and now it's his turn to retreat. Micah knows Walker is worth waiting for, so he waits. And waits.
From the foreword by author Cody Kennedy:
Waiting for Walker is a captivating novel from page one. Woven into this story are myriad issues germane to our youth of today: socio-economic disparity, familial loss through military service, divorce, Christian and Muslim dynamics, and a more subtle message, but no less important—being intersex is not a new phenomenon.
Intersex people have existed throughout history. At times revered, at times reviled, the treatment of intersex people is profound. It wasn’t until post-World-War-II environs gave way to genuine research that intersex individuals began being viewed as human beings. Still and yet, it wasn’t until 2006 that laws began being enacted in the United States to give intersex individuals rights—human and humane rights—civil liberties that those who are born within the binary genders enjoy from the day they are born. While the United States has come far, there remains a long road ahead and, largely, throughout the world, intersex people have no rights.
Walker is a beautiful, confused, vulnerable human being with the tensile strength of steel. Micah is wonderful; down-to-earth with a noir bent, he is an average gay teenager who is falling hopelessly in love with Walker. He is loyal, protective, supportive, and understanding of Walker’s, at times, precarious emotional state. More importantly, Walker and Micah wend their ways through the complicated labyrinth of their relationship to find, in the end, they are meant for each other. Walker’s and Micah’s parents also add a positive message to this story: not all people reject intersex youth.
Superb, courageous, and finely tuned to realism, Robin Reardon creates extraordinary characters. She puts Walker boldly and unconditionally forward as an intersex character and shows us but a fraction of what he endures in coming to terms with his sexuality, his sexual identity, and most crucially, who he is determined to be. A master storyteller with a rare talent for grounding stories in everyday reality, Ms. Reardon breathes new life into the fragile notion that we are all equal. She shows us that financial and marital status, religious beliefs, familial loss, and our genetics are only parts of us—that what we say and do speaks to who we are.
The elements contained in this story can be polarizing, and I don’t want to give the impression Ms. Reardon minimizes them. The reader clearly understands what Walker has gone through, and goes through, and at times, it is heartrending. But Ms. Reardon doesn’t render Walker with a blunt instrument; she renders him with finesse. This coming-of-age story is one of discovery, love, hope, and healing.
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About the Author
Robin Reardon is an inveterate observer of human nature, and her primary writing goal is to create stories about all kinds of people, some of whom happen to be gay or transgender—people whose destinies are not determined solely by their sexual orientation. Her secondary writing goal is to introduce readers to concepts or information they might not know very much about. On her website, robinreardon.com, see the left margin for links to descriptions of individual novels where you will find a “Digging Deeper” section that links to background information and research done for the novel. Interests outside of writing include singing, nature photography, and the study of comparative religions. Robin writes in a butter yellow study with a view of the Boston, Massachusetts skyline. Her motto: The only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has a lot of depth. This book surprised me in many ways. I picked it up because it had a character that was intersex. In my opinion, that was handled in a respectful and even-handed way, bringing to light some of the difficulties that might go along with that. But it was the depth of the characters, even with a first-person POV, and how they handled a host of issues that made this come to life for me. Micah is an almost 17-year old young man that has a lot anger, and rightfully so. His older brother had died in Afghanistan. His parents, in handling their separate grief, had broken up. Micah is now living with his mother in the managerial apartment of a motel. He had to move schools. He has to watch his mother focus almost solely on her grief. It is no wonder that he has the feelings that he has. He tries to separate from those feelings, putting his camera between him and the world around him, giving him a needed buffer from the pains of life. Even with that, though, he welds his raw honesty like a knife with his limited interactions with others. (It was amazing that Walker would even venture to have a second interaction with Micah.) But it's here that the transformation in Micah occurs, and how learning to "wait for Walker" helps Micah in more ways than imagined. He is still honest, and frankly he still has to temper that initial response of striking out. But when he does temper that, when he pauses and waits, he is able to bring that honesty as a guide to others. His emotional growth throughout the book is amazing. But my love for this book didn't stop with Micah. All the secondary characters brought this book to life for me, especially Micah's family. Watching them heal, grow, and learn after being so fractured gave me a very good feeling by the end of the book.
Waiting for Walker is a true breath of fresh air. I've read thousands of books but this one was something I actually never encountered. It's sad really but this is the first book I've read with an intersex MC. Intersex people are everywhere but it's like there's this stigma that they are "freaks" and no one should discuss them. Well this author is shining a much needed light on Walker. Micah, the other MC, is dealing with a lot. His life doesn't seem to be going very well. Everything feels bleak and he's drowning in his own sorrows. It isn't until Walker appears that Micah feels something hopeful. Walker, what can I say about Walker? Outstanding human being. Stronger than so many, Awe inspiring. So Brave. Walker is not written like a seen and not heard character. Robin Reardon does not put rose colored glasses on her reader's faces when discussing Walker being intersex at all. She shows us the frustrations, confusions, and the patience. She weaves a tale so beautiful and full of understanding I felt like a new person after reading it. Robin Reardon focuses on the internal struggles of Walker. The emotion behind the depth this character is built. It's so vital to understand. Micah and Walker deal with their own struggles but in this book they discover they aren't alone. Even though we are taught our path is ours to take there's nothing that says someone can't walk beside you. This is more than a coming of age story this is a waking up story. This is a book that everyone should read.