Friday, May 27, 2011

Stay by Deb Caletti

Clara thought she'd found love, but what she didn't realize is that she'd found obsession as well.
After a bad relationship in the past, Clara sees Christian for the first time and she feels that connection. Even though they go to different schools, she makes the time to "bump" into him again, and a deeper relationship soon begins. She likes the way Christian makes her feel - wanted, cared for, concerned about - and the way she can be a new person around him. He's a good person, but sometimes, good is just a layer hiding the real truth.

Now, Clara and her father have moved away from Seattle to get away from the person Christian really is, and Clara wants no contact from him, this time from fear instead of love. They settle down in a small seaside village and soon become part of the community.

Life goes well for Clara and her father, but there are still secrets that are lurking under the happiness. Clara has become increasingly aware that her dad is hiding something about her mother through conversations she overhears between him and a close friend. Clara also has to get used to sharing her world, not only between herself and her father, but also with herself, when she begins a fresh friendship with Flinn, whom she meets by chance. 

Always looking over her shoulder, Clara soon begins to find some breathing space, until a message comes through on her new phone - from Christian.  Soon, she finds herself living a life of paranoia, convinced that he'll find her, that he's still around....and her paranoia then becomes reality....

Deb Caletti has written a beautiful novel, surrounded with layers of descriptive and poetic writing filled with witty metaphors, ironies, and narrative.  She not only breathes life into her characters, but creates images through her words, so that what the reader is taking in becomes visual in their minds (I, for one, would LOVE to meet Clara's dad!!)  Caletti's book is serious in tone, but her deft writing also provides some comic relief in the form of all things, a seagull, which she uses at perfect opportunities to give the reader a pause, just for a moment, in Clara's life.  The adult characters in this novel aren't separated that far from the teen main character, but become a huge part of the story, that of a daughter and her father.  But above all, it's about relationships on all levels, from friendship, to family, to loves present and past and how to make the decision to leave or stay.  And this theme will draw readers in.  Highly recommended

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