Waiting to Forget

Waiting to Forget

Sheila Welch

T.J. has always looked out for his little sister, Angela. Now he wonders if she’ll live.

T.J. has always looked out for his little sister, Angela. When Momma used to go out and leave them home alone, he’d lock the door so they’d be safe, keep Angela entertained, and get out the cereal and milk for her. When Momma’s boyfriend got angry at them, he’d try to protect Angela. Later, at their foster homes, T.J. was the only one who knew how to coax his little sister out of her bad moods. The only one who understood why she made origami paper cranes and threw them out the window.

But now T.J. is sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, wondering if Angela, unconscious after a fall, will ever wake up. Wondering, too, if he will ever feel at home with his and Angela’s new parents—Marlene, who insists on calling him Timothy, and Dan, who seems to want a different son.

Going back and forth between Now and Then, weaving the uncertain present with the painful past, T.J.’s story unfolds, and with the unfolding comes a new understanding of how to move forward.


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  • Ages: 10 and up
  • Grades: 4 - 8
  • Pages: 172
  • Hardcover: $18.95
  • Softcover: $12.95
  • E-book: $8.95

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Recent Reviews

This is a story that once you read, you will never forget. ...The story is told through T.J.'s eyes, giving us a perspective different from other books on the foster system. The book starts slowly, but draws you in and haunts you long after it is finished. Highly Recommended.

—Library Media Connection

From the cover of the book, to the last page of the book, Waiting to Forget is a winner.

—Pennsylvania School Library Association

T.J.'s authentic voice and the multilayered presentation of his memories, shifting between the waiting room and his past, make for a poignant, realistic tale of child-survivors.

—Kirkus Reviews

This quiet, matter of fact, but compelling account will leave readers thankful for an ending that offers some hope.

—School Library Journal

[R]eaders will be moved by T.J.’s viewpoint...his sister can be a brat, but he loves her. That bond is what saves them both.


A gripping story with child abuse as the main topic.... T.J. is an amazing main character because all he has to go through, and I loved how the author make him narrate the story through his photobook. Angela is a sweet little sister, who has her episodes, but who is totally lost by her abusive and absent mother and her cruel boyfriend who can't keep his hands at home and even makes her a little burglar. I was really moved by this book ... dark but very original.


T.J.'s story, though often tragic, is filled with a joyful hope. The love he feels for his sister, and even the mother who has failed him so many times, radiates through the impeccable voice that Welch has written. WAITING TO FORGET is certainly an unusual book, but absolutely one that will find its audience among fans of tenderly-written hard luck stories.

—The Hate-Mongering Tart

Honors for Waiting to Forget

  • South Carolina Junior Book Award Master List 2013/2014
  • Best YA Fiction Titles for 2011
    —Pennsylvania School Library Association
  • The Best Books of the Year, 2012 edition
    —Bank Street College