Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review: Stay by Deb Caletti

Book:  Stay by Deb Caletti
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Pages: 313
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 19th, 2011
How I Got This Book: ARC Tours at Good Golly Miss Holly
Description (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....

Stay by Deb Caletti is a book that certainly makes an impact. This is one of those rare fictional treats that doesn’t feel the least bit fictional; it could be anybody’s story.  Clara is a character that anyone could know, she could easily be the girl next door, your friend or your cousin. 

Like the character of Clara, the story was very realistic to me. It was gritty and ugly at times but it was also lovely in places.  This isn’t a neat story; it doesn’t come wrapped up in a pretty bow. It’s a story about a stalker, but it is also a story about a teenage girl finding herself and maturing in all aspects of her life. Her relationship with her father is explored and questioned, and she finds herself having to come to terms with a great many things.

I don’t want to say that I enjoyed watching the story unfold, but I did. it was a bit like watching a car crash that you know is coming – you know it’s going to make you feel terrible, you know that witnessing it will change you forever, but you still can’t look away. I feel like Caletti did a marvelous job telling Clara’s story. In fact, I would say that the format was perfect; it’s actually quite a unique setup. 

The book is written completely from Clara’s perspective – she is writing her own story, looking back at the events of her life and trying to make sense of everything. She alternates between two time periods with each chapter – one before leaving Christian and one after leaving him. This format gives the reader an interesting perspective because you see Clara falling for Christian, but you immediately see the aftermath as well. My favorite part of the format though, would have to be the footnotes. The story is peppered with footnotes from Clara where she adds random tidbits about certain passages. It gave the story a very personal feel and at the same time it allows you to better understand her character.

Another point that I wanted to touch on was Caletti’s writing style. I feel like this is something that you are either going to absolutely love or hate. First of all, let me say that the narrative and writing style fit perfectly with Clara’s character. Her father is a writer and she is a self professed lover of words. Everything is very descriptive and there are tons and tons of extended metaphors. There are pages and pages of just Clara and her thoughts – her different takes on certain events. I must say it is extremely beautiful writing – but at times, it was just too much for me. I sometimes found it difficult to get through. Which is a pity, because even as I was reading it I knew how exquisite the writing was. I just feel that things dragged in certain spots – I wanted to keep piecing together the story, but Clara wanted to analyze a facial expression for 6 pages. 

That being said, I had a very difficult time giving this book a rating because it was so beautifully written. Unfortunately, at times it actually hindered my reading experience. This in turn caused to like a book that I would otherwise have loved. I want to be clear though, in saying that many of you will probably love the book for the exact same reason. It’s completely up to the reader’s discretion.


Savannah said...

Glad to hear this book is good. I am looking forward to reading it. Nice review!

Katie said...

so jealous! I LOVE Caletti. I cannot wait to read this. Awesome review!

Anonymous said...

Great review! I've never heard of this book, but I love those rare fictional gems that could be anyone's story. I'll have to give this one a go!

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