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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Stay by Deb Caletti

I can only think of one song with appropriate lyrics that embodies everything in this book. Queen's Too Much Love Will Kill You.

Title: Stay by Deb Caletti
Pages: 313
Release Date: April 5th 2011
Published by: Simon Pulse
Source: Publisher (Thanks, Amy!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository

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....

I've always thought that love is a great thing. Something that makes you happy. Something that doesn't make you worry. Something that makes you feel safe and assured. But when it becomes something else, you have to learn how to stop. Then again, when do we know if we can still stay or when to let go? People can be blinded by love, and Clara was like that once. When she met Christian Clara knew something was destined to happen, and something did, only that it wasn't good. And what she thought was fate and love turned into a twisted, dark obsession that she couldn't seem to get away from no matter how far she ran.

Love is a fickle emotion, a double-edged sword. It can drive a man crazy, but I'd like to think that Christian is sick. Maybe because of love, an intense lovesickness, maybe because of something deeper, a more psychological reason, but he was dangerous. The kind of love he gives is something one can get addicted to but can quickly become the very evil that can destroy a relationship. It's deceptive. Clara didn't notice that because she was "in" love. She was so into him that she didn't notice she was losing herself. She bailed out too late and she was a wreck when she got out of it.

Maybe you can say that it was Clara's fault. Because she was so bold, forward even. But can't a girl sometimes take the chance for love? No one deserves to be in such an abusive relationship, not physically, but wrecking someone inside out is far worse than hurting and hitting. Clara learned from her mistakes, and that's what I liked about her. She recalled everything and noticed where she went wrong, and she was determined not to make the same mistake, but it was a struggle. It wasn't easy.

Finn was a balm to Clara's wrecked soul. He was everything Christian was not. I liked his relationship with his family, with his older brother Jack, with Cleo (and Gulliver), even with his mom. Open and accepting, never judging, never easily insulted. He's this easy going guy who seemed so unreal. Finn's acceptance and understanding of Clara's past is not something you get from just about anyone.

Stay is an emotionally charged book. Just when you immerse yourself in the nightmare of Clara's experience with Christian, with love, you get something else that's equally intense. Her father wasn't just the smart-mouthed, popular writer, but he had his own story, his own grief and his own ghosts to deal with. Clara will get a glimpse of the truth behind her life that doesn't look as perfect as she thought it was, and on top of her hurting and fear of Christian coming back, she learns something else that tests her relationship with the only family she has and her beliefs.

Stay is a journey through the dark side of love. Too much of it can kill one, literally. I love how profound some of the passages in this book are. Deb Caletti is the queen of advices. This book is peppered with enough quotes about love, life, relationships and families we can learn a lot from. It can get you through the book, or it can distract you like it did to me. Those little pieces of thoughts that you think applies to you, you take it with you when you read this book. Along with the story, you take it in, and it makes reading so much more worth the while.

I leave you with this quote, one that made me root for Clara to be whole again:

"I had been a shy girl, a cautious, mostly quiet one, but I had been renamed and renamed again, redefined until I couldn't see myself anymore. I had been bold and then I had been forward, and then when things got worse and I had been twisted into the unrecognizable, I had been only lost. But with that word, "shy"- I was returned to myself again."

Stay is a book that will stay with you. Tragic, even frightening Clara's story might be, but it's something we can learn from. A gripping novel that tells of another form of love, the ugly, the bad, and the fearful side. It's a warning, but despite that, Stay also tells us that we have the power to make love good, and that's what I love about it.

I think I found a new favorite contemporary author.

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Stunning: Worthy of a Goddess' Praise!

Book Cover:
That cover has such a great significance in the story. Read the book so you'll know why.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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