I'll Be Waiting For You / Mariko Turk / Book Review


Natalie and Imogen are wildly different--and inseparable. Best friends and perfect complements, Imogen and Natalie are each other's everything, held together by big dreams and a love of the supernatural.

But when Imogen passes suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition, Natalie finds herself suddenly left behind. Facing a senior year--and the rest of her life--without her best friend, Natalie doesn't know what might happen next. But the first step might be facing the place they vacationed together every summer, the famously haunted Harlow Hotel.

Natalie doesn't believe in ghosts like Imogen did, but that doesn't mean she can't fake it for the audition tape she plans to make. Who needs college when you can be hunting ghosts on TV, right? But when strange coincidences start happening all around the Harlow, Natalie wonders if there just might be something that lingers after a person passes on after all.



This book was lovely. It's sentimental and spooky and heartbreaking. And I loved it.


Normal Teen There is almost always a dichotomy in YA books between the quiet, shy, studious and/or unpopular girls who don't party and the flirty, popular, drugs-and-drinking girls who do... and this book refuses that. Because Natalie isn't a cardboard cutout stereotype of a girl. She's friendly but not necessarily "popular." She used to drink socially and isn't self-destructive about it. She likes to go out to party but not necessarily at the expense of her studies, even if she isn't top of the class valedictorian material. She's just a normal girl engaging in life. Just because she goes to parties doesn't mean she is over-the-top and wild, and I appreciate that. Because that's much more real than most YA books dare to present.

Ghostly Influences I just really enjoy a book that digs into a niche interest, okay? Natalie is super into ghost hunting shows (for the dramatics, of course; she doesn't actually believe in ghosts), and I like that this book really dives into that interest. Natalie has a lot of passion for the ghost hunting industry, its tips and tricks, and that passion shines through this narrative in a really energetic way.

Is it? Or Isn't It? This is a book centered around grief and ghosts and loss and the afterlife, and I appreciate that it explores all of these themes without definitive answers. People engage with ghosts as a coping mechanism, a channel for grief, and that isn't looked down on in this book. More than anything, this book speaks to the lingering "ghosts" of those we love in our lives all around us after their passing, whether those are material ghosts or not, and I like that toeing of the line, that sober rumination.


I understand that Natalie's really going through something here, but she treats her love interest Leander pretty poorly. You can't just ghost somebody (pun more or less intended) because you're going through something tough--especially when that person is so concerned about your well-being. Natalie got on my nerves with how cagey she was with Leander. It isn't his fault if you need space. I get she's young, but please! Wishy-Washy Relationship

Which kind of leads me into this second critique. So many YA books that balance romance and grief make a way-too-perfect male love interest. Because there is no way a teen boy would be so forgiving after getting left on read for days. He might understand and come around, but that's just super rude. Obviously, it is the dream to have a super-sympathetic love interest like this, but is it realistic? Absolutely not. Too Forgiving

This book takes place over just a few days (ignoring the opening chapter that takes place a year before), and Natalie goes through a major transformation in these days. And it just feels like the whole plot moves too quickly. She's really going through it, and all of the internal reckoning she does doesn't feel like it could fit in a handful of days. The timeline is too short, in other words, for all this self-processing to make sense. Condensed



Those who loved Ashley Schumacher's Amelia Unabridged will adore this new book that dabbles in grief and lingering possibilities. Fans of Kirsten Miller's Don't Tell a Soul will like this new, haunted locale.


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date: April 30, 2024
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. I am always up for a grief and loss book, and this sounds like it focuses on the part I really like, the healing.

  2. This sounds like such a powerful but emotional read!

  3. That sounds good but will need to keep those tissues handy.

  4. I don't read a lot of YA any more, but this sounds like one of the better ones.

  5. I'll Be Waiting For You does sound like a good book, and I'm a big fan of ghost hunting shows, so it would be right up my alley. It also does sound like it would be emotional since it is centered around grief and loss.


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