Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
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 isand 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....
In STAY, Clara alternates between two story lines. The first is the present, where Clara and her father run away to a small beach town to get away from Clara’s obsessive ex-boyfriend Christian. The second story line is the past, wherein Clara tells the story of how she fell in love with Christian and how he turned out to be obsessive and abusive.
I really liked this book.
Something about this book felt real and true to me, not that I’ve ever been through a similar experience whatsoever. But as I was reading, I kept thinking, “Yes, this makes sense.” And I think a lot of that had to do with the characters. Clara and Christian were fully developed characters and their actions seemed very genuine.
With a book like this, it could have been possible just to have Christian act psychotic and obsessive just because this book is about an obsessive ex-boyfriend and for no other reason than “I need to show you that he is crazy and obsessive.” But instead, Christian’s moments made sense. Caletti took her time to develop and explain the moments in which Christian was obsessive and slightly abusive. They fit with the story. They flowed. They made perfect sense and weren’t just put in there for the sake of telling you he’s obsessive.
Along with that, Clara’s behaviour also seemed very genuine. Once again, in the “past” story line, Caletti took her time to show to develop Clara’s shifting behaviour as a result of Christian’s abuse and her resulting need to hide things from him, making her a bit paranoid. In the “present” story line, I liked how Clara isn’t automatically “okay” after escaping Christian. I liked watching her work through her issues, especially when it came to romantic relationships. In the “present” story line, Finn is the romantic interest, and he’s a great one at that. I loved the contrast between Christian and Finn and how the relationship between Clara and Finn really showed what a “real and true” relationship/love should be like. (Although the problem with that is that Finn could possibly be seen as too much of an ideal, but within the context of the book, I really thought it worked well).
While I’m on about the characters, I also have to mention Clara’s dad. He totally shocked me, but in a good way. I guess because I’m used to the parents in YA books to be boring and replaceable and as having no real personalities. Clara’s dad was awesome though. He stood out. He had a real personality and was just as developed as the other characters.
As for the story, STAY is a bit of a “quiet” book, in my opinion, which isn’t a bad thing. I like quiet books as long as they’re well-written, which STAY definitely is. But even though it is kind of quiet, I was on the metaphorical edge of my seat the whole time. Even though Clara escapes Christian in the “present,” the memory of him and what he did to her still haunts her. Add to that Clara’s growing paranoia that maybe even running away won’t stop Christian from finding her. After all, he is a little obsessive. . .
So overall, a really great read, perfect for contemporary YA fans.
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.**
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