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.