Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: Stay by Deb Caletti

Series: Stand-alone
PublisherSimon Pulse
Publishing date: April 5th, 2011
Pages: 320
Buy it: Amazon
Summary: Clara's relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it's almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he's willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won't let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough...

Rating: 4 stars

This would normally earn 3.5 stars from me because I rate books based on how I felt about them, not how well-written they are or how awesome the plot/characters are. But I can't in good conscience give this less than 4 stars. I can't bring myself to. So I'm rounding up. And you know what? I don't mind, because this book deserves it.

This is a story about love, loss, family and overcoming your fears. It's the strength of a father-daughter relationship, the hope of a young adult just coming out of her shell and a budding love story sprinkled with humor and heart-wrenching writing.

This book will hit home, whether you've been in Clara's situation or not. The prose flows perfectly, Clara's characterization is really well done and the plot is poignant yet to the point. I can't even tell you how glad I am to not see this dragged out on 500 pages. Choosing to write the book in chapters alternating from past to present, Caletti draws you into the plot and sets the atmosphere of the novel right from the start. I remember this sense of dread that I kept feeling for whatever would happen with Christian and how it would push Clara to leave town. Also, this is one of the very rare cases when the time jumps didn't bother me one bit. She's just that good.

Clara is a genuinely funny narrator. She adds little annotations in the book, and it brings you closer to her because her annotations are addressed to you, the reader. And they're so cute. Like, after an umpteenth person made a cup of tea and you start wondering just how often people make tea in America, she adds a little note "Everyone in this story, in my life, makes tea." I just want to hug her. Her voice is honest and unique, and she feels so real and fragile yet strong and brave. I don't know how to describe it. I love her.

I'd also like to point out that Clara's dad might just be in close competition with Mia's dad in If I Stay and Juli's dad in Flipped for the award of the most awesome YA dad ever. His characterization is so wonderful. The man is a writer, and it shows, you know? He says deep shit. Seriously. Also he calls Clara "pea". How can you not love him?

And Finn. Oh, how I love Finn. He's the perfect balm to Clara's mangled heart. And his characterization is, yet again, amazing. He's sweet and doesn't push Clara and supports her and is generally perfect. Also, he likes to walk around shirtless. Uhuh. If you want a visual of what he looks like, head over to Nic's my book boyfriend post (and stalk her other posts too, while you're at it.)

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Parents can be such children," Finn said.
"We ought to raise them better."

"I'm in a baked potato mood," Dad said. "Butter. You know, Pea, I love butter. I really love it. My heart even swells a little when I think of it."

I just saw it as praise, falling down now like glittering snowflakes. But it was something else. A drop of poison on gathering snow. That moment in the fairy tale when we know what just happened but the princess doesn't.

See see see? The prose is just <3

To sum it up, this is a well-written, tactful and subtle novel that will definitely make an impression on you. I would recommend it to anyone.



Anonymous said...

Yes! I loved Clara's dad! He just proves that authors are the quirkiest yet awesome-est people ever! Stay was really touching, it taught me a lot in an area where I have little (read: no) experience. The prose flowed along perfectly and the plot had me hooked.

Great review :)

Mia said...

I simply love this book. beautifully written and all. And so true! Clara's dad is just really awesome! Glad you enjoyed this one as much I did :)

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