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4.3 out of 5 stars
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
How to start. How to start. Perhaps with what made me unable to put this book down when I got it last evening. First paragraph-

" First off, I've never told this story to anyone. Not the entire thing anyway, and not entirely truthfully. I'm only telling it now for one reason, and that's because an untold story has a weight that can submerge you, sure as a sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean. I learned that. This kind of story, those kind of things kept secret- they have the power to keep you hidden forever, and most of all from yourself. The ghosts from that drowned ship, they keep haunting."

That first paragraph resonated with me so much that I had to dive in with my head and for once, open up that little place I allow to feel, my heart. I knew Clara from the minute she met Christian and knew exactly why she did every action she did. I'd once held the power Clara felt of having someone love her so much that they'd do anything to keep her. It's powerful and wonderful and scary to be the one that loves less. But it's all consuming and Clara learns that there is a dark side to the power and Christian. And his jealousies and walking on eggshells and having to lie about her past becomes too much. It's emotionally draining. And dangerous in a way Clara can't even imagine. She and Christian were perfect and then Christian, perfect, beautiful, foreign Christian let his insecurities begin to show and there was no forgetting. And there is accommodating and adjusting for certain things in a relationship and then there is what Clara did for Christian.

But this is not one of those stories where you can say "Oh stupid girl." and want to shake her because Clara has brought us into the story with her. We are Clara for lack of a better way to explain it. She put little asterisks in her story. Example- She lets us know her mother is dead.* Then at the bottom of the page

"*Yes this story has a dead mother. Mine. She had a sudden aneurysm when I was barely four. Died before she could even get to a hospital. Dead mother's have become a story cliche thanks to Disney movies and novel writers. All the dead mothers in books, you'd think it was a common occurrence. Even Dad's books have them. But mine was real. She was no cliche and neither am I." It's Clara's story and she's writing it not Deb Caletti. The author is not between us and Clara. She's removed herself and I kept checking the description of the book to make sure this was fiction and not Deb Caletti's real story.

Because the author removed herself from the story, I felt very close to Clara. I identified with her, understood her trying to spare Christian's feelings, trying time and time to remove the hurt. She was a nice girl. She was nice to people and breaking up with someone, well it makes her feel not nice. And she's sure that Christian's reactions are her fault, for that first giddy feeling of power. The one she can't admit to at first but then tells her Dad, her Dad the writer who seems less like a Dad and more like an adult friend that takes care of Clara. He respects her way more than any parent I've ever seen to be called a parent. Yet he is parental when necessary, he doesn't tell Clara "no" when he doesn't like Christian. But when he sees warning signs, danger, he takes action. But if Clara feels shame and can't forgive herself, her father feels even worse. This stalwart man who plays metaphor games and would rather use clues to guess who's house they are renting than google him, the one that insists on protecting his daughter has a big secret. One that changes everything for Clara. She keeps us with her throughout the novel, with her asterisks as if she's sitting beside us letting us know the secret thoughts she had while putting her story down. While unburdening her of the ghosts. More than one passage made me stop and I had to read it over and over sinking into what it really was saying, not just the words on the top layer, but the deeper meaning.

I felt so many emotions reading this novel and when I finished it, I wanted to pick it up and start again. And I will. I'll learn something new that I didn't catch the first time as I ate it up. It isn't a light read or easy. It's philosophical and deep with emotion and thought. It is definitely character driven. Clara brings us along through every emotion dragging us through the dirty self doubt and self incrimination to the final triumph of anger. Does she grow in this book? We're sitting here while she tells her story aren't we? Dad is a big character in this novel and I like the relationship he and Clara have. Does Dad grow? From a famous author to a human being, at least for Clara. There is of course Christian. And if you don't know a Christian in male or female form, then you're lucky. I have a magnet for these type of people. There are other secondary characters that bring some much needed relief to the tension in Clara's life.

If I had a rating system, stars, hearts, rabbits, hats, gold coins any of the creative things I've seen other reviewers use I'd throw all the things I had into a pot and make the biggest star, heart, rabbit, hat, gold coin and make it dance, sing, shoot fire works whatever. This is the best realistic fiction I have ever read. This is the best YA I have read. This is the best book I have read. Never have I felt more a part of a story, never have I been so involved, so unsure of the outcome, so tentative as Clara moved ahead with her/my life. I wouldn't have Deb Caletti change even one word in this novel. It isn't entertaining. It's more than realistic. It's real.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to love this book. Finally, a story that paints the possessive and controlling boy the way he should be. I wanted to see it in this genre because this type of hehavior does not equal love and devotion. And in the end, it can be very hard to walk away.

In all reality, I though the author does a fantastic job telling us the back story. The book switches back and forth from the present to the past. Clara is already at the beach with her father and she's struggling with her thoughts on what has happened. We gradually get flashbacks of her relationship with Christian. I think the author gets it right. Christian seems wonderful at first, the perfect boyfriend. He's very slow to show his true colors. I think the first couple of time, Clara writes it off and vows to be more careful with what she says and does. By the time he is in full control, the relationship has been going on for so long that Clara doesn't know how to leave. She loves him and thinks he loves her. In her head, she's the one that needs to be better. Which is so how this often works. (I had a friend who was in an abusive relationship in high school. She ultimately died from an accident that occurred because she was unable to tell him no. Something Clara says in this story sounded like something my friends said to her mom right before the accident).

Ultimately, it was the present tense that I just couldn't get into. Clara's behavior just didn't fit with the same person we meet in the flashbacks. For someone who just got out of a controlling relationship (and the one before that seemed abusive), she seems to jump right into the next one. I liked Finn, and he really seemed to understand Clara. Even after Clara tells him what happened, he takes it all in stride. But, it was too soon. I didn't trust Clara's judgement, even if Finn really is a great guy. Granted, there are still times you can tell Christian's voice is still in her head telling her what to say and do. I think she would have been more like that the entire time.

I also thought the side story with her father was distracting. It was too much going on it one book. If the focus would have been Clara, her relationship with Christian and Finn, I think it would have felt more even. For Clara to have to endure all she does in the story is just overload. She handles it all beautifully though, and I'm sure she's a much stronger women because of it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing!!! I'm completely obsessed. I was so good that I read it in such a short time that I almost wished I had savored it a little bit more. But I just couldn't help myself! I could. not. put. it. down.

"It's your dark pieces having instant recognition with their dark pieces...You're an idiot if you think it means you've met your soul mate. So I was an idiot."

STAY is honestly perfect. There is basically nothing that I would change about it. I knew right from the first page that this book was going to be something special, and I was right. My heart was thumping in my chest the whole time, and I was flipping pages like a madwoman.

"It's strange, isn't it, how that idea of belonging to someone can sound so great? It can be comforting, the way it makes things decided. We like the thought of being held, until it's too tight. We like that certainty, until it means there is no way out. And we like being his, until we realize we're not ours anymore."

I loved Clara's character. She was so real...funny, sarcastic, had some serious flaws, but also incredibly endearing. And her relationship with her Dad just made me so happy. I loved everything about them. It actually kind of reminded me of my relationship with my own father.

"I tended to give a book a chance and another chance and another, sometimes seeing it all the way to the end, still hoping for it to turn out different. Maybe I was confused about what you owed a book. What you owed people, for that matter, real or fictional."

I've never read anything by Deb Caletti before, so I can't say if this is true with her other books, but the way that STAY was written is kind of similar to John Green's writing style. It was very humorous, but also serious at the same time. I even laughed out loud at a few of the things that Clara said (it's very rare for me to laugh or cry while reading a book). The funniest parts were the footnotes. I don't know if I've ever read a first-person narration novel that had footnotes, but I loved it! It was like we were really inside her head, getting to hear exactly what she was thinking. It made it feel so personal, like she was a close friend of mine, telling me this story.

"Hurt is a weapon. Better weapon than most because it doesn't look like one."

STAY is amazing because of how accurately being a teenager is portrayed. Specifically being a teenager in love. There were so many times while reading this book that I just wanted to stand up and be like, "Yes. Yes! THIS is what this feels like. THIS is why being in a relationship with somebody like Christian is confusing and hard. THIS is what love is like when you're that age. THIS is how it feels. Finally somebody has put all of these crazy, inexplicable emotions into words." That is what you will get when you read STAY...the feeling that, finally... somebody understands.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Stay is one of those rare books. You know the ones - you're not expecting anything amazing, but they sneak up on you and all you want to do once you're finished is open it back up and read it all over again. I haven't read a book this powerful in a long time and although this was the first Deb Caletti book I've read, it certainly won't be the last.

Clara's voice was a refreshing one to read, and I loved the tone the author gave to her narration - it wasn't quite chatty, but not totally formal either; very unique. I also loved the footnotes that randomly popped up throughout the story, they added some humour to a story that definitely had its dark points.

I also really loved Clara and her Dad's relationship. It seemed so real and it was a pleasant surprise to read about a parental figure that was actually part of his daughter's life. All too often in YA contemporary, parents get pushed to the background of the story, so it so it was lovely to see him included and actually be an imperative part in the story.

Deb did a phenomenal job of portraying the abuse Clara suffered at the hands of her `soul mate', Christian. Possession is a hard one to get right, because it's not an obvious type of abuse, it doesn't leave marks that you can see. I've read a few books dealing with the possession/jealously type of abuse, but in comparison to Stay they fade to the background. It was also interesting to see Clara's blossoming relationship with Finn, to compare it to her and Christian. It was a necessary addition and honestly, Finn is just too dreamy for me to do justice to.

Stay is a book that makes me want to read more contemporary novels. It was an insanely powerful book - I finished it almost a week ago, and I'm still constantly thinking about it. I can already tell this is going to be on my favorites of 2011 list, and honestly it's going on my `favorites of all-time' shelf too. Read this as soon as you can.

(I received this novel via Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab program. This in no way affected my review.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Told in alternating chapter from the present and the past, Stay is about obsession, terror, guilt, and the hope healing can bring. With Caletti incredible beautiful writing and a cast of incredibly life like characters, Stay was one of those novels that is sure to stay with its reader.

The day after I closed this novel, I missed Clara. Ms. Caletti created this wonderfully real girl with a whole swell of emotions and a point of view all her own. Her life was in shambles thanks to this disastrousrelationship with Christian and her and her writer father (who was too amazing for words) decide to leave town and head to Deception Pass without people knowing. From there, Clara begins to work through her feelings about the events that happened. Switching between the present and the past, Stay works to show how events connect to each other and leave lasting remarks. I really loved Clara and wanted to see her succeed. Even though she was hurting, she stayed positive about her future and it was that positivity that made her an irresistible main character. I will say however, that the ending-- her cowardice and silence-- did frustrate me. I wanted to see her fight back and in the end, she couldn't really manage it.

All of the supporting characters were also so integral to the storyline. Clara's dad was real and grown up and completely there for his daughter. I loved their witty banter and rejoiced in the closeness of their relationship. She leaned on him and he learns to lean on her. Christian was equal parts creepy and pathetic, the perfect combination to make for an explosive element. I could understand Clara's fear and sorrow though her no-holds-bar confessions in the past chapters. I fell in love with the characters in the small town beyond Deception Pass. Finn, Jack and their boat were familiar friends. Finn played as the perfect counterpart to Christian and was a breath of fresh air. Sylvie was that lovably tough boss we all want. By the ending, I felt like I knew every quaint, beachy, moody and perfect corner of the small town.

Ms. Caletti's writing was gorgeous. There were so many unique and beautiful observations and through her writing I felt that I could really understand Clara's grief and her love for Christian even though she knew it wasn't right. The way Ms. Caletti was able to push through the norm and dive for something beautiful underneath the current was incredible. It truly made for a great read. However, because of this gorgeous writing, it did take sometime to get through this book. It felt very literary to me and I had to take little bites of it like a rich piece of chocolate cake.

Stay is gripping-- one part beauty, one part obsession. With Clara leading, and a rich and dense setting and cast to support her, it's absolutely a novel to check out. I highly recommend this one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Stay is a lyrical, flowing book: Ms. Caletti has a beautiful way with words.
Clara is an honest character and while going on this journey with her, you can see how relationships can go bad and the many ways that can look like. This hit me hard because I've been in a relationship like that, and the book I'm writing deals with similar subject matter.
The only thing is that I wish that it was told in one time instead of back and forth, but I totally understand why it was done that way, and appreciate the use.
The secondary characters are rich and detailed. I like her dad and his quirks. anabelle and sylvie are fun. I like the women as examples, however crazy that are placed in her life. Finn is sweet and uncomplicated.
What got to me and led me down that road and Clara's is how the obsession and the verbal assaults begin subtly, where you really could write it off as insecurity or some other excuse.
This is a powerful book and I recommend it.
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on December 22, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Do not let the synopsis deceive you.

If you know me or have surfed through my blog, you would know that I almost never give bad ratings to a book. I hate it. But when I pick up a book and love the blurb and then it turns out like this? I feel like I have no choice. It wasn’t all bad but it wasn’t really good though I think, for me, that it lands somewhere in bad side of things.

I was so excited when I saw this, I was having some weird obsession with books with stalkers and the summary of this book was so mysterious and it intrigued me. I started reading this and I liked how it alternated between past and present and I also liked how it was written, I just didn’t like the story much.

Everything moved too fast with Clara and Christian and Clara and Finn. One second she doesn’t know who Christian is and next thing you know they’re together and he’s obsessed. The attitude of the characters were nice but I didn’t feel like I was them, like I was going through what they were going through and when that doesn’t happen I feel disappointed.

I was waiting for the whole book turning every page, in hope that something severe, something mind-blowing would happen, it never did. I agree that towards the end there was a scene that was sort of out of the blue and I enjoyed it, but the ending? Was it a joke? I absolutely hated the ending! I had high expectations entering this book and am sorry to say that I was let down.

Bottom line: It wasn’t that great of a book, it had a lot of things that I didn’t like but it also had some things that I did like. But hey, that’s just my opinion. If you ever come around to reading this book, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you felt about it. Enjoy!
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on December 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
4.5/5

Clara and Christian meet at a high school basketball game and fall instantly, and intensely, in love. They talk about marriage, children, and "forever." Soon, however, Clara realizes that Christian has crossed the line into obsession, turning their once dream relationship into a dangerous, violent, and unhealthy one. She wants to leave, but Christian makes it clear that he will do anything to make her stay. She and her father have left home for a quiet beachside community to escape Christian, and allow Clara the freedom to live again without fear. Soon, though, it becomes clear that she still isn't safe from Christian, who will do everything in his power to find her and bring her back.

What struck me most about this book was the writing: it’s beautiful, eloquent, vivid, melt-in-your-mouth kind of writing. Does that make sense? It’s so smooth and subtle.

The story line itself was, of course, fantastic as well. I’ve read a few stories about stalker/obsessive types of relationships (such as Stalker Girl, by Rosemary Graham, another great book), but there doesn’t seem to be too many books on the market about this topic… and it’s fascinating! The story is told in alternating chapters between the present, of Clara and her father in a small beachside town where they have run to escape Christian, and the past, in which Clara and Christian’s story unfolds from a blossoming and intense love to a dangerous, violent obsession. I found myself looking forward to and anticipating the chapters on their relationship. I loved watching it unfold and crumble. Maybe ‘loved’ isn’t the right word… I would say I was very captivated by it though. While the chapters taking place in the present were important for the story in order to see the relationship’s after effects, I wasn’t as enchanted or interested in them. But it definitely speaks volumes that I was anxiously awaiting those other chapters. This book truly did captivate me. There were times that I really could not put it down.

One thing I didn’t necessarily love was… the writing. Yes, I know I said it was beautiful, and it really was, but at times, it felt like the details were dragging on when I really just wanted to hear more of the story itself. I feel like some of the story was overdetailed in describing things that were irrelevent to the story, such as trees or scenery. I was just dying to know what would happen next and those long, drawn out details were holding me back from knowing right away.

So, all in all, an intense and fascinating story with just a few minor setbacks that keep me from giving it a 5. I enjoyed the story tremendously and look forward to reading more of Caletti’s work.
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on October 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
***Review posted on Ini's Ravishing Reads! blog***

I sat down to type out my review but I was completely out of words to describe the poignancy and beauty of Stay by Deb Caletti. Caletti makes the characters incredibly real and relatable. Very rarely I come across a book that strikes a chord within me. This book will Stay with me forever and definitely will go to the top tier of my favorite books. I let Stay to saturate in me and devoured every part of it.

What do you call an intimate relationship? - Intense? but do you know that it can sometimes turn out to Obsession? Well.. Stay is about abusive relationship between Clara and Christian. Often we relate this type of relationship as physically abusive, but Caletti brings out that it can also be purely Emotional.

It starts out with Clara and her father moving to a small seaside town to escape her stalker ex-boyfriend. As the story is said in retrospect, we could look through Clara's life at the time of her relationship with Christian. Clara meets Christian across a crowded basketball game. Things between them escalates into Obsession quickly. Christian is the kind of a guy who thinks he is being protective, he is but he isn't. Do you get what I mean? Protectiveness turns more like controlling. Clara is terrified of Christian and tries to escape. Furthermore Clara meets interesting people at the seaside town and their bond with Clara is brilliantly explained.

What makes this novel endearing? - It's Bobby Oates, Clara's Father and of course the footnotes. Footnotes are funny and I loved it. The openness between Father-Daughter relationship and their witty-banters are spectacular. I wish I had such an awesome relationship with my Father too.. Caletti's writing style is fantastic and has a poetic flow to it. I would like to quote a few.

" We can't get so wrapped up in our own misconceptions that we miss the simple beauty of the truth."

" Fate is a shape-shifter. It is the kindest and most generous entity imaginable, laying out more goodness than a person deserves, and then it shrinks and curls and forms into something grotesque. You think something is one thing, but then it's another."

I felt Clara's relationship with Finn was rushed. That was the only qualm . Nevertheless, this book took me on an emotional roller coaster. Are you the kind of a person who would like to sit by the sea with the lapping and sloshing of water and enjoy a good book? Then Stay is for you. I warn you it's not an easy beach read.

I know it's not more of a review but I can't go any further. It is a poignant novel. Without a doubt I would recommend Stay by Deb Caletti to anyone, particularly teen girls.
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Format: Hardcover
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....

And so begins the story of an obsession that takes over the lives of Clara and everyone she loves. In alternating chapters, veering between the past and the present, and in Clara's first person narrative, we learn how the love began and where it all led. Like most things about our emotions, even when we see the red flags and hear the warning bells, we are sure that we can still control things. That we can stop the bad things from coming.

Learning the lesson about how little control we have is Clara's story and the core of Stay, a thoughtful and provocative glimpse of love gone wrong. As Clara and her father settle in to a beach town outside of Seattle, surrounded by islands and the whole aura of the sea and a lighthouse, we also experience with them the idyllic moments when it seems as thought life can start over. That the past can be gone. And we live through the glaring awareness that nothing could be further from the truth.

What will happen to ultimately show Clara and her father that sometimes the past cannot disappear, even if we want it to do so? I like this excerpt near the end that shows us that we don't actually have a lot of control:

"Our memories and the events of our lives are untidy things. We wish that we could file them away and shut the door, or we wish the opposite--that they would stay with us forever. You want to banish that remembrance of a tight hold on your ankle, a rope under a bed, the amber-colored medicine bottles of your father's, the door your mother slams after a night of too much wine and jealousy...But the images are all wild things that will do what they wish...."

I loved the characters, the settings, and the message of this story. Recommended for anyone who has ever been in love with the wrong person. Five stars.
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