Rating: 4/5 stars.
Deb Caletti is finally growing into her own. Stay is a heartbreaking, honest story about an obsessive relationship – the protagonist, Clara, moves to a beach town for the summer to escape her ex-boyfriend, Christian. There she encounters new friends and begins the healing process while learning about the secrets of her past.
Caletti’s insight is inspiring – her ability to weave wisdom into even the most ordinary, everyday things is her trademark. Her writing turned me off in a couple of her previous books because it was too chunky and verbose, but with Stay it almost flowed perfectly. The footnotes were humorous and cute for the most part, but felt superfluous toward later in the novel, especially when the climax occurred.
I loved her characters. Initially I disliked Clara for acting so assuming – I remember in the first few pages she proclaimed that her story was special, which made me think ‘okay… I’m the reader, we’ll see about that’ but later I grew to like her. She seemed like she could be anyone, and even though that’s usually a negative thing in this case it was pleasant.
The adults in this novel were developed as well, which was a nice little touch. They had problems and feelings and desires – something uncommon in young adult literature. One thing that bothered me was how early in the novel Clara stated that her father had a way with words, but throughout the book he cursed a lot, as opposed to saying things poetically.
I am anticipating Caletti’s next novel. Even if you didn’t like her past works, I would recommend this one because it’s better than her old books (bluntly stated, I’m aware).