‘Waiting For Callback’ is a hilarious YA debut novel from mother and daughter duo Perdita and Honor Cargill. It is released on January 28th 2016 but I’ve been fortunate enough to get a sneak peak of this lively and entertaining read. Who knew that I would strongly identify with a 15 year old girl struggling to keep track of her life whilst endlessly waiting for the phone to ring. This book made me laugh out loud and remember my very own cringe worthy growing up experiences from seriously unrequited love to struggling to fit in at school. I think that any teenager will really empathise with Elektra’s unsuccessful attempts in dealing with friendship problems, parents and having to deal with a major crush.
Elektra is living a normal teenage life when she is discovered by an agent but instead of this launching her into a successful acting career we see the harsh realities of this world with terrible auditions seemingly for lots of ‘dead girl’ roles, constant rejections and her highlight being the lead squirrel in a TV advert. I love that Elektra is just a normal, awkward teenager she is not at all shiny and glossy like the popular girls at school. Despite her best efforts to try and replicate the cool girls she can’t pull it off when she tries the ‘messy bun’ look It makes her look like ‘a cow has pooed on my head.’ I remember at school trying to pull of this weird sticking up fringe look back in the 80s and just looking like I had got locked inside a wind tunnel. It is comments and dialogue from Elektra like this which make her so endearing and likeable.
Throughout the story it is the subtle references which make this story such a fantastic read my favourite and I admit to being totally biased is the Pride and Prejudice remarks. I particularly love the scene where Elektra and her best friend Moss are at a school social and are comparing it to the Meryton Assembly they recognise the irony that nearly 200 year later girls are still taking turns around the room in an attempt to catch the eye of boys. Elektra also compares her mother ‘channeling her inner Mrs Bennett’ loving nothing better than to interrogate her about boys (or girls) desperate to know if she has ‘snogged anyone’. It feels like a very witty social commentary on the world teenagers are growing up in today. Bubbling underneath the surface of this funny, enjoyable read we feel the pressures teenagers face today from the constant threat of being exposed on social media, to demanding pushy parents who schedule their childrens lives to such an extent that they can’t just have ‘me’ time. Yet the storyline itself is so compelling we desperately hope that Elektra will get that illusive callback and willing for her to rise above those who seek to make her life miserable.
The characters in the story are wonderfully substantive, instead of just being one dimensional in the background we get a real sense of the roles they play in Elektra’s life . You can feel the love from her parents who are genuinely trying to do the best for her whilst protecting her at the same time. I loved the hilarious scene where Elektra finds them ‘twerking’ in the kitchen after having too much champagne much to her embarrassment. The conversations that take place between them feel very honest and real so that you almost feel you are eavesdropping on their lives. Another fabulous character who I adored is her glamorous eccentric French grandmother Eulalie who defies stereotypes in every way including posting photos of herself in sarongs on Instagram. I think it’s fantastic that she plays such a key role in Elektra’s life and I loved the bond between these two characters.
I think this book will be massively appealing and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to more from Perdita and Honor in the future.