Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (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 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....
The alternating chapters from past to present were likely the only way to fully comprehend the battles that Clara faced and is facing. Her strong-willed character was obvious from the start, with a father that encouraged her creativity by being an aspiring, well-known author. When Christian entered the picture Clara had just ended an unsatisfying relationship and was looking to change the outcome of this new, blossoming love. They were going into their second round of the seasons, holidays, and growing also was Clara's awareness of Christian's sensitivity toward her faithfulness. Always having to be alert for his mood swings eventually led to the outcome of their undeniable separation. Soon, Christian's stalking methods escalated to a feat where Clara and her father had to leave town, and that is where the present begins in Stay. Anxiety swells as she asks herself, will he still be able to find me?
I honestly thought that beginning was so well-written, I had to praise Caletti on her epigrams and profound statements spoken through Clara's voice. From what I read it felt like Clara was in a constant state of self-realization because of the unique insightful explanations for practically every noticeable change in her relationship with Christian. It felt a bit overwhelming at first but soon became suitable to the pace of the novel. I enjoyed and delighted in reading her theories on everything that made her a stronger person in the end.
However, as the novel progressed, it became obvious that the rigor-like tone it was permeating leaked through the whole thing, making it impossible to get excited for the excitable moments when real action occurred. I would have liked a faster pace toward those areas just because it would have had a better effect reading them as they played out and didn't have to be explained fully to understand. Some characters did seem two-dimensional and not as important as I believe they should have been since they were impacting Clara's after* life a great deal.
I did not want to make this a DNF (did-not-finish) but I find myself not able to care anymore what Christian does, or what secrets Clara's dad may be hiding about her mother's death. It does sound intriguing, doesn't it?
That is why, while I turned away from Stay, I am recommending to any reader who is interested in reading the final showdown** between stalker and stalk-ee.
It's a love-hate relationship with Deb Caletti's books, only in Stay did I actually find both mixed together.
*Meaning her present time-set, after the relationship was over and she was interacting with the locals in Deception Pass.
**It does feel like there will be some final event between to end Clara and Christian's relationship, either told in the past or present, it would be very significant.
(I can use footnotes too; thought they were a nice addition to make the book authentic.)
This ARC was provided by the publisher for my uninfluenced review.