I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Stay by Deb Caletti
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2012-03-20
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
Now in paperback, a dark, romantic novel of love and obsession from National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti.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....
FINALLY! Finally it’s happened to me. A book where the creepy relationship is played out as exactly that. Oh, friends, the heavens must have opened and sung a beautiful song while Deb Caletti wrote Stay, because this book straight up gets it. It gets that bad relationships are bad. Obsessive relationships are scary, not sexy.
Clara’s relationship with Christian takes place in a bit of whirlwind and almost sounds like something out of a paranormal book. What with the eyes meeting across a crowded basketball game and the insta-clicking. Things escalate between Clara and Christian into obsession quickly. Escaping to a seaside town with her father, Clara relates to the reader her story of her ‘romance’ with Christian, alternating between past and present. Did I mention how fabulous this book is? Did I mention that Stay calls a spade a spade?
Ok, so straight-up there is none of that bullshit, oh he is acting super jealous and protective he loves me going on in Stay. Instead, Clara is terrified of Christian. She knows he is being a stage five clinger and she does not find it romantic in the least. She recognizes the signs for what they are. I want to go around handing out copies of Stay to young girls and say to them SEE, SEE, this is why those obsessive relationships are unhealthy.
Plus, holy hell does Caletti get characterization right. Clara is timid, yet her voice is frank and honest. We see that Clara has definitely been affected by her relationship. When someone you love is constantly tearing you down and accusing you of sleeping around and criticizes your every move, understandable your self-esteem isn’t going to be at it’s highest. And Caletti nails the vulnerability. She nails Clara’s fragility. Yet, she also gives Clara this resilience, where she doesn’t simply take things lying down. No way. When she’s pushed, she pushes back. Then we have Clara’s dad who is a famous mystery writer. Her dad is fricken awesome. They have this great relationship, full of witty banter. He’s like a male Lorelai Gilmore. Plus her dad is constantly swearing and dropping f-bombs, reminding me of my dad (runs in the family, no doubt). I love the openness of their relationship. I think in issue YA, a lot of the time you do get this crap family life and home, and the reader is all no wonder this character is a PROBLEM CHILD, look at their home life. Well, kids, relationship abuse can happen to anyone, even people from good families.
I also was down for Caletti’s writing style. Previously, I had only read one book by her – The Queen of Everything, back in senior year of high school or college. Something like that. I sort of want to kick myself for not reading more of her. Her style is similar to Dessen, as in you know the story is going to be honest and make you feel all sorts of emotions. I felt a genuine connection to Stay. It’s not just because of my line of work, but because I really felt like Clara was someone I could be friends with. She wasn’t exactly like me or anything, but someone I would click with.
I thought I would leave you with a few quotes so you can get a flavor of Caletti’s style:
“Routine is cement for some people, coziness made solid, certainty building more certainty. For others, routine cracks surfaces with its weight, creating a boredom that presses down and down until something breaks.”
pg. 135 (ARC so wording etc, may change)
“A person shows signs — of clutching on too fast, of being needy, of not hearing the word “no,” of jealousy, of guarding you and your freedom. But the signs can be so small they skitter right past you. Sometimes they dance past, looking satiny, something you should applaud. Someone’s jealousy can make you feel good. Special. But it’s not even about you. It’s about a hand that is already gripping. It’s about their need, circling around your throat.”
pg. 158 (ARC version, which may have changed)
“You gotta love an old fashioned word like ‘quarrelsome.’ Today she’d just be a bitch.”
pg. 205 (ARC version, which may have changed.
I really want to end on this note, if you are in an unhealthy relationship, please talk to someone. Even if you aren’t ready to leave that’s okay. I know that just talking to someone, coming out of isolation can help.
Disclosure: Received for review
Purchase Stay here.