Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Publication Date: 4.5.2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Thriller
Summary (from Goodreads):
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....
The premise of Stay is interesting enough, and sadly enough, very relevant to teens today. Clara falls fast and hard for Christian. After a few months of dating, Christian’s intense jealously and controlling ways push Clara to her breaking point. After a messy breakup Clara’s father takes her and they head to a small beachside town for the summer.
Deb Caletti does a wonderful job of making your heart break for Clara. Unfortunately Clara’s situation is all too realistic, and I’m certain most reader will either identify with Clara or know someone who acted just as impulsively as she did. Clara is a rich character, complex and fighting to make sense of where things went wrong and what role, if any she played, in Christian’s downward spiral. Watching her try to make sense of their relationship was heartbreaking; I just wanted to hug her.
The biggest problem I had with this book was the format. Every other chapter switched back to past tense while the others were present tense. It was too jarring for me. I would have much preferred to read about Clara and Christian’s relationship, and then gone through the breakup with Clara leaving the city for the beach, finishing up with her quest for self-discovery. I’ve read several books where the author constantly switched back and forth in time and it didn’t bother me, but this one really did. Maybe it was because the present tense chapters would really get rolling and then they would end abruptly as you were forced to travel months back in time and then be lurched forward to the present again. After an entire novel of this, it got tiresome.
I also didn’t like all the footnotes. The novel is told entirely from Clara’s point of view, but there were footnotes to add detail. I didn’t understand why the detail couldn’t have just been put into the paragraph. I would be reading at the top of the page and have to skip to the bottom to read an explanation of something and then go back up and find the sentence I was reading. This book seemed part essay and part novel.
While, again, most of my issues were just the way the book was compiled, it is a beautiful story about how desperate young love can be to the point of blindness. I think this is also a very important novel for teens to read because it shows that abuse in a relationship isn’t strictly physical. I loved the premise and the characters Caletti brought to life, I just wish she would have done it in a more flowing way.