Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon & Shuster
Read Time: 3 Days
Tag Words: Abusive relationship, first love, running away, finding yourself, ghosts of your past, finding a safe love, moving forward
When Clara met Christian she knew she had just collided with her fate, but as her author-father has always told her, fate has it in for you.
This is Clara’s story, about how she tried to leave and the ghosts of her past tried to tell her to Stay.
This is Clara’s story, told in full, about how she chose not to.
Deb Caletti is a good friend of mine, you should know this, because I get why she wrote Stay. Deb has been public about her past relationships, and how some of them have been more harmful than others. She is willing to open up about her pain, the paths she chose, and the ghosts that haunt her. I guess I felt like I was reading pieces of her heart while I was reading Stay, and that is a touching thing for any reader.
The prose are gorgeous, I’ve always loved Deb’s writing, it has never failed me. I quote her often. Beyond that the book felt realistic, and true, though my connection with the characters was not consistent. I believed in Clara, and found her to be refreshingly accurate. Clara is not a victim, but neither is she completely infallible to Christian and his problems/pain. She balanced the tight rope of loving someone and truly loving someone, who is hurting badly and who is in turn hurting you. Christian was also an intriguing character study, because he wasn’t classic, cliche, or completely suited to the “model” of bad-boyfriend. Still, I didn’t quite get enough Christian to understand him, or else I missed the hints at what shaped him. Everything has a root, I don’t know Christian’s and I wanted to, because Caletti made a realistic character out of the villain.
I completely lacked a love connection to Finn. I was surprised Clara felt what she did for him, and I was surprised Clara wasn’t surprised. She seemed almost ambivalent to his arrival and the way he captured her heart. I was just confused and am still not convinced. Maybe Finn just seemed too good in this situation that felt so bad.
And finally, the cursing, the thing that drove me to distraction. I can deal with curse words, I’m not sheltered, and I can read over whatever I don’t want to read. No biggie. Except in Stay. Biggie. Wow. I was so distracted by this element of the story because this wasn’t something just one character took part in. The good, the bad and the ugly, they all swore like bloody sailors. I would think swearing could be one of those things that separated Christian from Finn, or even Christian from Clara’s father, because of how Clara first describes how Christian’s swearing sounded like “Something you wanted more of.” Maybe it shows how much inner-fire Deb threw into Stay, but I would have quelled it in that respect before publication.
You decide if you should read Stay, or not. I think, if you see yourself in Clara, this book will help you, and for those of you who know you couldn’t be Clara, well, you may be surprised how much of her is in you. I know I was.
Notes on the Names:
By far my two favorite names also had to do with my two favorite characters:
Gulliver, the Sea Gull and Clio, his Gull-friend. ; ) Just read the book, I love these two.
Thoughts on the Cover:
Isn’t it pretty. Sigh. My only wish is that the Obsession had been in the background!
Parental Book Review *spoilers*
Kissing and sex, neither is particularly steamy.
Because of how paranoid Christian was he continuously accused Clara of being a...harlot. There, that’s a good word.
Clara fears that Christian is suicidal by the rope she sees under his bed & the way he tears at his own face.
Clara’s former boyfriend “Once held my arm behind my back and then twisted so hard I heard something pop.”
Clara’s mother commits suicide by drowning.
Clara does fear for her life the last time she sees Christian, but not because she is under threat, but because she sees the potential in him for the first time and this makes her decision to flee solidify. She is never hurt.
Father cheated on Clara’s mother multiple times.