{Book Review} StayStay by Deb Caletti
Published by Simon Pulse on March 20th 2012
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
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Now in paperback, a dark, romantic novel of love and obsession from National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti.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....

My thoughts:

“All at once, my head was busy counting up my lies. I had never been a liar, but now they rolled off my tongue like lies were a second language I was suddenly fluent in.” p. 108

Clara is escaping from an abusive relationship, not a violent one, but from an emotional abuser. Christian is obsessive, jealous and controlling and their relationship spirals out of control until Clara is afraid for her life.

“Are you wearing that?
I guess I am, since I have it on.
I can practically see your nipples.

It’s hard to stand up for yourself when you are burning with shame.” p.135

She and her dad secret away to a beach house where they both are haunted by their past. As the past and present collide they both learn that you can never really know someone and sometimes not even yourself.

I absolutely loved Deb Calletti’s writing, she creates beautiful imagery.

“Will – it’s supposed to be a good trait, a more determined and persistent version of determination and persistence. But will and obsession – they sit right next to each other. They pretend to be strangers and all the while meet secretly at midnight.” p. 157

The story focuses on Clara and her dad as they settle into their summer at the beach and her developing relationship with Finn, a sailor she meets at the docks, interwoven with flashbacks to her time with Christian. I wish there had been more time spent on her relationship with Christian. His obsessiveness and jealousy were portrayed well but I never got the true sense of the intensity of their relationship and how dangerous he had become, maybe because emotional abuse can be so subtle.

I was a little disappointed that Clara would so easily slip into a relationship, wouldn’t she have been more tentative and less trusting after coming out of such a disastrous relationship? I loved Clara though because even though she had been through so much she wasn’t timid and weak she was strong and understood the mistakes she had made.

Overall I enjoyed the book, I loved the writing style, but I think the story could have been improved by showing more of the intensity of Clara and Christian’s relationship. I thought the ending (which I won’t spoil) tied all the different pieces of the story together into a fantastic culmination. I’m looking forward to reading more of Deb Caletti’s work.