When Clara firsts meets Christian, she feels an instant connection - that kind that only happens in books and movies. They seem perfect for each other, and Clara finds herself falling in love. But as their relationship progresses, Clara starts noticing things about Christian. Like how he's oddly jealous of anyone Clara talks to. And how he's constantly checking up on her. Feeling like a prisoner in her own relationship, Clara starts making accommodations for Christian, hoping that nothing more sinister lurks beneath his smooth and polite facade. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse, and Clara must leave town to avoid Christian. Will she ever be able to escape him, or will the fear of his presence prevent Clara from moving on?
Deb Caletti has been one of my favorite authors since I've read Honey, Baby, Sweetheart two years ago, and as I've continued reading her novels, my love has only grown. I feel that she does not get the recognition she deserves, because her novels are truly works of art. Opening Stay was like revisiting an old friend, one that I had not seen since I read Deb Caletti's last book. You immediately get sucked into Clara's world, and know that you are going to witness a fine piece of storytelling.
I really enjoyed the set-up of Stay. It starts out in present day, and flashes back to Clara's time with Christian. You get all the details in parts, which really works. And both parts are equally engaging, so there's never a dull moment. You want to keep reading to see what happens with Christian, and you also want to keep reading to see what happens in the present day.
Clara is definitely one of my favorite protagonists. Even though she stayed with her emotionally abusive boyfriend for a pretty long time, she is still a strong character. You are able to understand Clara's mindset, and since Christian's creepiness is really subtle at first, you can't even fault her for getting involved with him. And creepy he was. It was just little things, like making sure she was at the grocery store when she said she'd be by showing up there and questioning her about the guys at school that made him seem really weird. So to try to avoid Christian, Clara and her father go to Bishop Rock, a small beach town in Washington. Even though Bishop Rock is fictional (I think), it definitely could have been a real town. There was so much character there, from the historic lighthouse, to the ghosts that supposedly haunt various locales, to the boat run by Finn and Jack Bishop. Finn becomes the new love interest, and he is the one to show Clara that you can be in a relationship and still maintain some personal freedom.
As for the writing, many of the passages in Stay are extremely quotable. I had to resist writing everything down that I liked because my quote book would be full (and my hand would probably fall off). But if you buy a copy of Stay, make sure you grab a highlighter, because you're going to need it.
So, all in all, I loved Stay, I love all of Deb Caletti's books, and when's the next one coming out? Seriously, though, I need to read more. These books are so good, and if you haven't read any yet, you better do it soon!
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Rating: 10 out of 10!
FTC: Simon Pulse GalleyGrab
2011/Simon Pulse/313 pages.