June 10, 2019

Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Grade: C
Release date: June 11, 2019
An e-galley was provided by Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Annie is twenty-seven years old, single, and obsessed with romantic comedies (she and her mother watched them religiously, before her mom died). Her dating life is limited by the expectations she’s formed from these movies. She is not as open to new experiences as she might be, because she’s waiting for her Tom Hanks–i.e., a guy she’ll find in the perfect, meet-cute romantic comedy way. When Annie does finally meet her perfect match, it’s not quite in the way she expected, and she’s forced to reckon with the walls she’s built around herself over the years.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I am a huge fan of You've Got Mail. So when I heard there was a book coming out with a rom-com-loving, Tom-Hanks-devotee protagonist, I was immediately sold. Unfortunately, Waiting for Tom Hanks did not quite live up to my expectations.
The biggest problem is that Annie was just kinda...blah. She doesn't quite have the appeal of Lucy or Kathleen, two of the biggest rom-com heroines who have lost beloved parents. She wants to write movie scripts, which...cool. But her main one is literally about her best friend and the owner of the coffee shop. And Annie doesn't change the names at all, which feels icky. The next problem is more my fault. I didn't quite realize one of the big plot points was going to be about a rom-com filming in Annie's corner of Columbus, Ohio, and that her romance would be with the lead actor. I'm rarely a fan of celebrity romance stories, so that was another strike against Waiting for Tom Hanks. I know a lot of people enjoy that type of story, though, so that's more of "it's not you, it's me" thing. However, I do think the book leaned a little too hard into the rom-com tropes. If you're gonna make a solid rom-com, you can't choose the ones that are trite - like the heroine spraining her ankle and needing the love interest to carry her home, or spilling coffee on the love interest as the meet-cute. And then she confesses her love for the guy when he's on national TV, and it just feels a little...eh. (Picture that emoji that's grinning awkwardly.)
Annie's uncle was a bit of a highlight. And the book isn't terrible. It's just kinda meh.

Content warnings: foul language, sex (mostly fade-to-black), references to deceased parents

The Verdict: A bit of a let-down. I think the Golden Age of rom-coms is unfortunately past us. (Well, except for Crazy Rich Asians and To All the Boys I've Loved Before.)

Will I be adding this book to my library?: No.

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