review: stay by deb caletti

Author: Deb Caletti
Publication Date: 04/05/2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Pages: 320
Source: Library


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....(goodreads)

This was the first book that I've ever read by Deb Caletti so I had absolutely no expectations going in, which ended up being perfect as Stay was a great all-around read. I can't say that I loved this book due to the topics it raised as that would seem callous, but it is something that I think people should read. Books with content like this are incredibly important and if anyone knows any others that they thought were well done I wouldn't mind if you left a note.

Stay alternates from chapter to chapter going back and forth between Clara's experience with Christian and the present day, the timing of which is less than a year apart so it isn't at all jarring. Clara meets Christian at a basketball game and when their eyes met it was instant attraction. Here's a quote from the beginning that I adored:
"He had this accent. It was lush and curled, with the kind of lilt and richness that made you instantly think of distant cities and faraway lands - the kind of city you'd see in a foreign film, with a snow-banked river winding through its center, stone bridges crossing to an ornate church...The other guys in that gym - they watched ESPN and slunked in suburban living rooms and slammed the doors of their mothers' minivans. See - I had already made him into someone he would never be, and I didn't know it then, but he was doing the same with me, too."  - Stay (4)
This perfectly exemplifies the way they met, immediate and hot, as well as Caletti's writing style. She has a way with choosing just the right phrases and even words that not only fit the book overall but specifically fit the individual character which really helps you imagine everything in your head as it happens. One of the best parts of all of the descriptions are Clara's footnotes that relate people and events as she knows them to the reader that helps everything flow that much more smoothly. Some of them are purely factual, some are amusing, but all of them are told from her POV. We also see Clara point out a lot of things about other people that we alone reading may not have seen, but now that she's told us it makes some of the other characters more vibrant.

All of the non-main characters were nicely developed with Clara's Dad being my favorite. He's witty, smart, and completely straightforward. There's an interesting back story with him as well and everything is tied up by the end of the book - no loose ends and it provides a nice sort of B-mystery to the main plot. One thing I really enjoyed about Clara's Dad - and some of the other characters, I'll let them remain nameless for now - is that they all mainly talk like every day people with some modern slang and it fits. Sometimes it hangs on the tip of my tongue as I read and it throws me off because it doesn't quite work, but here it does and just goes to flesh out the characters.

I could go on. I really enjoyed this book even if by the end I was hugging one of my cats and peering over my shoulder. Many thanks to Deb Caletti for venturing onto this topic and covering it so well. If it can help even one person then it is more than worth it.

2 comments on "review: stay by deb caletti"

Jenny wrote: Sat May 14, 08:13:00 PM

It's a tough subject to capture well. Often it comes off like a bad Lifetime movie, or cliche and pretentious. I'm glad this one doesn't seemed to have done either.

kaye (paper reader) wrote: Sat May 14, 10:25:00 PM

Exactly! I wasn't expecting much coming in but was pleasantly surprised.

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