Book Review | Stay
Author: Deb Caletti
From the first moment that Clare sees Christian, she knows that he will become a very important part of her life. When they meet again and actually speak to each other, it is the sweet beginning of teenage love. But soon after, Christian begins to say and do things that make Clare uncomfortable and even afraid of him. When she tries to end her relationship with him, Christian just cannot take no for an answer.
Fearing for his daughter’s safety, Clare’s writer father takes her to a small seaside town so Clare can begin to heal from the emotional damage Christian has caused her. As Clare begins to explore the possibilities of a new and different kind of love, Christian still haunts her and she knows it’s only a matter of time before he finds her.
Deb Caletti tackles some seriously heavy issues in Stay. In addition to teen abuse, Caletti also writes about the relationship between a father and daughter, and how buried family secrets can strain even the strongest bonds. Stay is Clare’s first person narrative as she reflects on her past and tries to move on to her future. As one would expect of someone who has been emotionally abused by a loved one, Clare has difficulties opening up to Finn. At first, she seems to expect that he will get jealous if she so much as glances at another guy. Soon Clare begins to open up to Finn, and it’s a beautiful thing. Finn is nothing but supportive, and he’s a terrific match for Clare. Instead of holding her back, he is just the type who will allow her to bloom into her own person.
I loved the way the story unfolded, though it was a bit confusing for the first few chapters until I understood what Caletti was doing. The chapters alternate between Clare’s past with Christian and then switch to life in Bishop Rock. Clare has a great sense of humor throughout everything, though I felt she was a lot harder on herself than she needed to be. The footnotes that appear every few pages get us further into Clare’s mind and also provide back story that the reader will find interesting, but that wouldn’t have had a good fit in the regular narration.
Caletti just has a way with words, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Stay since I finished it. I love her descriptions, her flawed yet honest characters, and the gorgeous settings. The town really came to life for me, and I felt like I could feel the sand between my toes and smell the salty sea air. I will absolutely be reading more of Caletti’s books!
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.*