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4/5 (57 ratings)
377 pages
5 hours
Apr 5, 2011


A dark, romantic novel of love and obsession from Printz Honor medal winner and National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti.

Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, 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…
Apr 5, 2011

About the author

A Seattle7Writers project for literacy, this novel was written by Kathleen Alcalá, Matthew Amster-Burton, Kit Bakke, Erica Bauermeister, Sean Beaudoin, Dave Boling, Deb Caletti, Carol Cassella, William Dietrich, Robert Dugoni, Kevin Emerson, Karen Finneyfrock, Clyde Ford, Jamie Ford, Elizabeth George, Mary Guterson, Maria Dahvana Headley, Teri Hein, Stephanie Kallos, Erik Larson, David Lasky, Stacey Levine, Frances McCue, Jarret Middleton, Peter Mountford, Kevin O'Brien, Julia Quinn, Nancy Rawles, Suzanne Selfors, Jennie Shortridge, Ed Skoog, Garth Stein, Greg Stump, Indu Sundaresan, Craig Welch and Susan Wiggs. Foreword by Nancy Pearl. Introduction by Garth Stein.

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Stay - Deb Caletti

Also by Deb Caletti

The Queen of Everything

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Wild Roses

The Nature of Jade

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye

The Secret Life of Prince Charming

The Six Rules of Maybe

To Jen Klonsky—For all that you do to bring our books into the world, and for doing it with such respect, care, and sisterly good fun . . . my thanks. This one’s for you, Pal.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 1

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.

So here is the story. Sit back and make yourself comfortable and all that.

I met him at a basketball game.

Wait. You should also know that another friend of mine, Annie Willows, had asked me to go with her and her friends to El Corazon that night to hear some band and that I didn’t go. If I had gone, all this might never have happened. The way two people can end up in the same place, find each other in a crowd, and change their lives and the lives of the people around them forever . . . It makes you believe in fate. And fate gives love some extra authority. Like it’s been stamped with approval from above, if you believe in above. A godly green light. Some destined significance.


My school was playing his, and I was there with my friend Shakti, who was watching her boyfriend Luke, number sixteen, who was at that moment sitting on the bench and drumming his fingers on his knee like he did when he was nervous. Inside the gym there was that fast, high energy crackle of competition and screaming fans and the squeak of tennis shoes stopping and starting on shiny floors.

He was with another girl; that was one thing. I was aware of her only vaguely as she moved away from him. She maneuvered sideways through the crowd, purse over her shoulder, heading to the bathroom, maybe. His eyes followed her and then landed on me, and by the time she came back, it was over for her, though she didn’t know it. That sounds terrible, and I still feel bad about it. But something had already been set in motion, and I wonder and wonder how things would have been if I’d have just let that moment pass, the one where our eyes met. If I had just taken Shakti’s arm and moved off, letting the electrical jolt that passed between us fade off, letting the girl return to his side, letting fate head off in another direction entirely, where he would have kept his eyes fixed on the girl with the purse or on another girl entirely.

My father, Bobby Oates*, said that love at first sight should send you running, if you know what’s good for you. It’s your dark pieces having instant recognition with their dark pieces, he says. You’re an idiot if you think it means you’ve met your soul mate. So I was an idiot. He looked so nice. He was nice. After Dylan Ricks, I was looking for nice. Dylan Ricks once held my arm behind my back and then twisted so hard that I heard something pop.

Thirsty! I yelled to Shakti, and she nodded. I moved away from her, followed the line of his eyes until I was standing next to him. I wish you knew me, because you’d appreciate what this meant. I would never just go walking up to some guy. I would never ignore the fact that his girlfriend was right then in the bathroom putting on new lip gloss. Never. I was nice and my friends were nice, which meant we lacked the selfish, sadistic overconfidence of popularity. But I didn’t care about that girl right then. It’s awful, and I’m sorry, but it was true. I kind of even hated me for it, but it was like I had to do what I was going to do. I can’t explain it. I wish I could. He was very tall and broad shouldered, white-blond hair swooped over his forehead, good-looking, oh, yeah, with those impossible, perfectly designed Scandinavian features. Still, it wasn’t just his looks. It was some pull. The ball hit hard against the backboard, which shuddered and clattered. The ref’s whistle shrieked and the crowd yelled its cheers and protests.

I held my hands up near my ears. Loud, I said to him.

He leaned in close. His voice surprised me. He had this accent. It was lush and curled, with the kind of lilt and richness that made you instantly think of distant cities and faraway lands—the kind of city you’d see in a foreign film, with a snow-banked river winding through its center, stone bridges crossing to an ornate church. Ice castles and a royal family and coats lined with fur. The other guys in that gym—they watched ESPN and slunked in suburban living rooms and slammed the doors of their mothers’ minivans. See—I had already made him into someone he would never be, and I didn’t know it then, but he was already doing the same with me, too.

I don’t even know what I’m doing here, he said. I actually hate sports.

I laughed. How many people here are secretly wishing they were somewhere else?

He looked around. Shook his head. Just us.

I was wishing that, all right. I was wishing we were both somewhere else. A somewhere together. A warm heat was starting at my knees, working its way up. I’ve got to . . . I gestured toward Shakti.

Right, he said.

I made my way back to Shakti, who was standing on her toes at the sidelines, trying to see Luke, who had been called in to the game and who was now dribbling the ball down the court in his shiny gold shorts. He’s in, she said. Oh, please, God, let him not do what he did last time.

But I was too distracted to actually watch and see if Luke would accidentally pass the ball to an opposing teammate as he had during the last game. My focus had shifted, my whole focus—one moment he wasn’t there and then he was, and my mind and body were buzzing with awareness and hope and uncertainty. You have ordinary moments and ordinary moments and more ordinary moments, and then, suddenly, there is something monumental right there. You have past and future colliding in the present, your own personal Big Bang, and nothing will ever be the same.

That was the point, there, then, when I should have shaken it off and gone on. I see it like an actual road in my mind, forking off. I should have kept my eyes on Luke with his sky-length legs and skinny chest; I should have cheered when he passed that ball just as he should have, to number twenty-four, who shot a clean basket. I should have stayed in that moment and moved on from that moment, when Shakti grabbed my arm and squeezed. Instead, I watched him as he headed through the crowd, and he looked back at me and our eyes met again before he disappeared.

It was already too late. Basically, two springs and two summers and the sea and the haunting had all already happened.

Chapter 2

That was before.

But after, as that second summer approached, my father decided we needed to leave. It felt too dangerous there. We rented our house to a researcher doing work at the university. Something scientific. It was hard to imagine a science guy in our house, which overflowed with my father’s books and papers and his collection of ship lanterns and paperweights. My father would be leaving behind his cherished and tangled grapevines, which grew over a large arbor in the yard and which he tended to lovingly with clippers and a careful eye. We’d be back in time for their ripening, in time for him to make his home brew wine. I thought my dad drank too much, for one thing.

I stood in the open doorway of his office, the large old French doors swung wide. His reading glasses were on a chain and hung down on his chest.

It all seems too big, I said.

We were trying to hurry, but I couldn’t seem to get going. My father was shoving things into a box. Don’t get stuck, Clara Pea. Get a move on.

How do you pack for three months? I asked him. I’d never been gone from home that long. Everything about the trip seemed hard to grasp. My mind felt lately like a building destroyed by a natural disaster, where all I could do was walk around the rubble and wonder what I could possibly do next.

Just bring the things you love most. You’ve got to have good things around you now, right, Pea? Your favorite shoes, your favorite sweater. Shirts, T-shirts. You need anything else, God forbid, we can go shopping. Dad hated shopping. Malls, cell phones, and reality television—don’t even get him started.

You bringing that? I asked. He was wrapping one of his paperweights, one of the largest, shaped like an old typewriter and just as heavy.

I’ll keep it under the bed since I don’t have a baseball bat.

My stomach dropped. His eyes were bright and he was grinning, but I thought he might be serious, too. He felt that same shadow looming that I did. One time I actually drove too fast and turned down some crazy street because I thought I was being followed. Looking at Dad then, I felt guilty suddenly, or rather, again, for this leaving. He had a book due by the end of the summer. He had every reason to stay here where he was.

Pea, you know I can write anywhere, Dad said, reading my mind. He was good at that. He was someone you couldn’t hide from. I could write in the back of a pickup truck driving across the country. Who could have complaints about the beach, Pea? I just might want to stay.

God, Dad. I rubbed my forehead. This is all so strange.

It’s good for both of us, he said, even though there was nothing good about what was happening. He finished wrapping the paperweight in newspaper and set it in a wide leather bag. I could see the fat pages of a manuscript there, too, and a stack of index cards wrapped in a rubber band. "You need a place you can breathe for a while. I need a place you can breathe for a while." My father knew about recovering yourself after you were sure you were lost. He had taken a trip like this once. Different, though. It was more about grief than guilt, and it only lasted the two weeks he thought he could be away from me, since I was young and needed him. I had stayed with JoJo Dean, a friend of my father’s, as my father mourned my mother in private.*

You went away to a beach before, I reminded him.

A different beach. Not one I want to go back to. He closed the zipper of the bag. Haul ass, kid, he said.

And so I did.

* * *

We left the city behind us and drove north, until the land flattened into farms and pastures and tulip fields. And then east, down two-lane roads forested on each side, full of tall evergreens and dark, mossy places that made the air feel suddenly cool. Little towns appeared at stoplights, three or four buildings at most, a church, a café, sparse I-wonder-who-lives-here-and-why streets. And then forest again.

Do you remember the bridge? my father asked. The car smelled like french fries, and the backseat held the crumpled-up bags from our lunch stop.

I looked around. Bridge?

Not yet. This is one you wouldn’t miss. It’s the bridge over Deception Pass. We came here a long time ago. I carried you in a pack down to the beach. After we hiked up to the car again, we realized you’d lost your sandal. Your mom ran all the way back down the trail to get it. I said, Leave it, we’ll buy her new ones, but she ran the two, three miles down there anyway. Came back with that shoe. He smiled. A triumph.

I smiled, too. The windows were rolled down. He was shouting a little. He didn’t like air-conditioning when you could get the smells and feel of the real outside right there in your face.

Okay, be ready.

He was right. Deception Pass—you couldn’t have missed that bridge spanning those waters. It was almost shocking the way nature can be so suddenly before you in all its enormity and beauty. Out of the forest, and then—wow. Just, wow—this deep, steep down-ness, this drop to the sparkling waters of Deception Pass, a thin bridge spanning the impossible distance.

Let’s pull over. This is a bridge you have to walk across.

Got it. A metaphor, right? Dad was a writer down to his cells, and he loved metaphors. Everything was a metaphor. Your dirty laundry could be one. Unexpected encounters with dog shit, definitely.

Ha, I didn’t even think of it, he said. He’d already unbuckled his seat belt and had flung his door open in the small crescent of gravel that was the lookout point. "Deception Pass. How does one make that crossing, at least permanently?"

"You’re asking me? I said. We wouldn’t be standing there right then if I understood how to manage deception and my own self-lies. I stepped outside. I breathed in—the air felt huge. The blue-gray-green waters that stretched out before us sparkled in the sun. It smelled great out there. I keep feeling like we have to go. Like we have to hurry."

We can relax now, he said. He took a big dramatic breath. Ah! This is magnificent, eh? Christ, I should set a book out here.

He was right. The rock wall that dropped to the water was sheer and craggy, and as we stepped out onto the narrow footpath of the bridge itself, my stomach seemed to tumble and fall the million miles down to the jagged waves below. The landscape was moody and dangerous. I can’t look, I said. It was too far down. We were safe; our feet were on the solid ground of the bridge and I gripped the iron rail, but my heart still felt the long, long drop.

Look right at it. Know you can, Dad said. Look right at that fear. Fear is the biggest bullshitter.

This was not just some motivational rah-rah to get me through what was happening right then. This was how my father talked a good lot of the time. His words had layers—they went two or three directions when other people’s words went one. He was curious and playful and hungry for meaning, and his speech reflected that. My friends said he sounded like a writer. I didn’t know what this meant until I stayed over at Annie’s or Emma’s or Shakti’s houses, where dads either asked you about school or didn’t say much at all.

You had to walk single file on that bridge, and so I followed him across, the cars whipping past us on one side, the sheer drop below us on the other. We made it to the far end, where a matching set of warning signs were posted along the cliffs, as if anyone would be stupid enough to climb there. I felt a little sick and a little proud. It had a sort of significance, though I didn’t know what kind. It had to—you didn’t cross the perilous distance over Deception without it meaning something.

* * *

We got back in the car and wound our way down the island. You could practically follow the wet and salty air and that tangled underwater smell right down to the sea. The house was small and gray and shingled and sat at the tip of the peninsula. In spite of everything I felt excited, like I wanted to run out and explore the place, like you do when you’re a kid on vacation. My father had found the house in the back of Seattle magazine, where the travel ads are. Some guy was renting it out while he was working in California. We left the car packed and my father unlocked the front door, and I checked it all out—the small kitchen and the closets and the little white bedroom with white curtains that would be mine and the bigger paneled bedroom that would be my father’s. The man who owned the house had good taste—his shirts were expensive and the cupboard had flavored vinegars and fancy olives and a bottle of Scotch.

Something to do with the film industry, my father guessed. California, right? It makes sense. He was standing by the bookshelf, the first place he always went to find out about a person.

I looked, too. "The Elements of Screenwriting. Elia Kazan: A Life; The Making of Citizen Kane. But wait. Zig Ziglar’s See You at the Top? The Art of Closing Any Deal? Some sort of businessman? What do you know about the guy?"

Not a thing, my father said, pleased. This was a game that could last us the three months, easy.

We could just look him up on the Internet, I said.

Cheating! he said. Don’t you dare. I’m going to get the bags. Feel free to gather more clues about our host.

Instead of gathering more clues, though, I sat down on the bed in my crisp, clean room. The bed had the kind of sheets and down comforter you could sleep years in. I wished I could sleep years, that’s how tired I was. A million years tired. The sheets smelled good, like spring. I looked out my large window, trimmed in blue paint. I could see the coastline from my bed, the blue-gray sea, though that night after dinner, it would become unbelievably dark out there. The dark of the ocean was an endless dark.

It started to sink in: no one knew who I was here, and no one back home knew where I was. It was a fantastically freeing feeling. I could be anyone at all. I could be someone with an entirely different past, and a wide open future.

You’d imagine with a feeling like that, a person could sleep easy. I guess I was thinking, though, that if someone were walking around outside, even right outside my window, you wouldn’t hear those footsteps in the soft sand.

Chapter 3

Of course I went to the next basketball game our school played against his. The minute I got home that first night, I’d looked up the game schedule to see when we’d be playing his team again. I thought about him every day until then. I started having those conversations with him in my head that you have when you first meet someone you sense is going to be important in your life. I told him things about me I thought he should know. That I was a mostly shy person concealing that fact; too straight, probably. Never tried pot and never wanted to but had several times been to parties and pretended to drink something I wasn’t really drinking. I read too much. I was scared of spiders but once was stung by a hundred bees and didn’t cry. I told him I loved the butter lake you could make in mashed potatoes with the back of your spoon, and the way lumberyards smelled, and goofy dogs, but that I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I grew up. Something with words like my father, I said to him in my head, because words were hills and valleys you traveled, so lovely sometimes that they hurt your eyes. I told him I felt sure there was a true and right place for me I hadn’t found yet.

I imagined him telling me other things. His first memory. Who had hurt him and who had loved him best. His dreams. It was stupid, and I’m not that kind of person, but I even imagined us living somewhere together. I imagined us traveling to the place he had come from. We would visit museums with paintings in heavy gold frames or watch the northern lights with wool mittens on our hands.

I had decided what to wear three days before*, but once I had on those jeans and that shirt I decided it looked like I was trying too hard because I was trying too hard, and that ignited one of those clothes crises that can get a person seriously panicked, where you feel the slick, precarious slope between having it all together and being completely out of control. Clothes piled up and I knew I was going to be late, and finally I put on something I wore all the time—my old jeans and a soft green shirt, my hair taken from its barrette and worn straight. Right away I felt better—feeling confident at a time like that was hard enough without having to get to know some new outfit, too.

I borrowed Dad’s car, listened to my favorite girl power CD for a little musical rejection-proofing. I checked my reflection in the rearview mirror at the stoplights. My stomach felt giddy and tumbling. All this, and he probably wouldn’t even be there.

The parking lot was packed. I think we were in some sort of basketball playoffs—I could never quite follow all of the specifics when Shakti told me. It was dark already and there was that parking lot excitement of a big event, headlights and shouts and loud laughter, people crossing into the paths of idling cars and running to the curb. Shakti met me out front by the bike rack, our usual place. Her eyes were bright in the streetlights.

This is it, she said, and gave a little squeal. Shakti wasn’t the squealing type, and neither was I. She was smart and thoughtful and dinners at her house were careful and quiet, though the huge plates of food served by her mother were steaming and delicious and somehow passionate. Shakti had dreams of medical school and would no doubt get there, unlike Luke’s friend, Sean Pollard, who talked about going to Harvard Law School, but who thought a tort was one of those fancy desserts.

Is Luke nervous? I asked.

Oh, God, Clara, he looked ready to puke. There’s a million people in there.

Poor guy, I said. But I didn’t feel poor guy. What I felt was my own disappointment. A million people. The chances of me seeing him again in a crowd like that were next to zero.

We squeezed our way through the mob. Our band was playing a pounding, rousing something, and your ears just thrummed with noise. The blare of contemporary tribal warfare. Shakti had her place she liked to stand, right near the team benches, where she could keep an eye on Luke and on the assistant coach, our old history teacher, Mr. Dutton. Mr. Dutton’s face showed every emotion, and Shakti was sure she could read his game plan for Luke in his expressions. This was fine by me. We’d made an agreement in my head, the boy-from-somewhere- else and me—we’d meet again in the same spot. It was the only likely way we’d run in to each other again. I’d walk over to him, just as I had last time. I had it all planned out for us.

The whistle screeched; the game began. There was the rumble of running and the slams of the ball being dribbled down the court. Everyone was shouting. But I was in that strange place of heightened awareness that makes you feel both more a part of your surroundings and completely lifted out from them. The scoreboard was flashing and Shakti shouted things my way and one of our good friends, Nick Jakes, came over to stand with us, but I felt only that single presence in the room somewhere, his eyes on me, that sense of being watched that makes your every move feel acted out with a charged self-consciousness. He was in the room, I was in the room, and we both knew it.

I kept scanning the crowd, looking toward the place he’d stood with the girl last time. He wasn’t there. He wasn’t anywhere.

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What people think about Stay

57 ratings / 30 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    I really liked the premise of this book, but it lacked the intensity I thought it should have. Also, I felt Clara fell into new relationships far too easily. You would think after having an obsessive boyfriend she would hold back a bit. But no, she was dating Finn moments after meeting him. There was nothing wrong with Finn, but I felt the whole romance was unbelievable. Surely, a girl would be very hesitant about trusting a boy after the emotional abuse she had to endure with her previous 'love'.
  • (4/5)
    I hope teenage girls will read this book and then be able to recognize a boy like this if they are ever in their life. This was a good book. I was a little surprised that she could jump right back into another relationship. A quick read.
  • (5/5)
    Really good ❤️❤️??
  • (3/5)
    This is the first Deb Caletti book I’ve ever read. I’ve been wanting to pick up one of her books for a long time and I finally got around to doing it. I am super glad I did.I enjoyed Stay more than I thought I would. I thought it was a great story with interesting characters and was very well written. However, I found it slow at some parts and at one point near the end the main character, Clara, does something that just made me shake my head.Overall, I though it was a good book and I think it’s worth a read. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.
  • (5/5)
    One of the best books I've read, i love to read this book over and over again
  • (5/5)
    Ladies and Gentlemen, I have lost my Deb Caletti virginity. The feels. The FEEEEEELS. When I initially started this book, I was a little confused at the jump between chapters. You see, the chapters alter back and forth from before and after. But what is the event by which time is judged? That’s a HUGE part of the story that the plot is working toward revealing. Although I was thrown off at first, I figured out the chapter pattern and I have to say, it really enhanced the story. I feel for Clara. Throughout the story she’s trying to define and redefine herself because she doesn’t know who she is anymore, or if she was ever the person she thought she was. How do you trust yourself when you were so inherently wrong? How do you recover? How do you keep the terrible thing that happened from being the defining factor in your life? These are all issues Clara has to muddle through to discover who she is. Her voice is astounding. And Finn Bishop? How could I not fall in love with Finn Bishop? He’s sweet and understanding and good. He’s the kind of person you want to know and want to be like and appreciate every day you spend with them. Are you swooning yet?;) (I am.) Then there’s Christian. I felt everything Clara felt and I understand that he has problems and isn’t always a good person–I get that. But there’s also a part of me that understands him and empathizes with him, and that kind of took me back a little bit. He’s weak and vulnerable and sensitive, but instead of it manifesting as meekness he uses those characteristics for manipulative intentions. So I guess even more than learning about the characters, I learned about and questioned myself, and I think that’s important. Not only did the Clara grow and develop, but I did right along with her. I was along for her ride, but I was also on a journey all my own. Not only were her romantic relationships tested and explored, but every relationship she had was explored throughout the course of the book. And the writing was so thought-provoking–this wasn’t just a read for entertainment, it was a read for learning and actively thinking. I loved it. And the suspense in the story had my heart racing! I kept looking over my own shoulder, that’s how real the apprehension felt. I just can’t praise this book enough, and you better believe I’ll be picking up some more Deb Caletti to read real soon. 5/5 STARS;)
  • (5/5)
    Stay is the first book I have read by Deb Caletti, who has written several books for young adults. I have to say this book caught my attention at the beginning and never let go. Stay is the story of Clara, a girl who has left town with her father to escape her boyfriend-turned-stalker. The story is beautifully written, suspenseful and intense. The story felt real and authentic and tackled a difficult subject masterfully.

    In Stay, Clara and her father have just moved away for the summer because Clara felt threatened by her ex-boyfriend. The details of where her relationship with Christian went wrong are slowly revealed through flashbacks. Through the flashbacks we get to see Clara before she met Christian when she was a typical shy girl. We see her first meeting with Christian, and how they were drawn to each other immediately. Their relationship quickly progresses to an all-consuming love affair. Eventually Clara starts to notice some of Christian’s obsessive and extreme jealous behavior.

    The flashback story telling device is very effective and kept me on edge throughout the entire book. I felt anxious for Clara in her new town as she still worried Christian would find her. It’s easy to relate to her and the feelings she has while she is processing the relationship and trying to move on.

    The other characters in Stay are flawed and real and add to the story. Clara’s dad is very protective of her and was the first one to recognize the dangerous relationship she was involved in. He is not perfect and has his own problems to deal with but Clara comes first with him. Clara also gets to experience a healthy relationship with Finn, who is kind, patient and sweet to her. It is fulfilling to see Clara’s growth as she goes through the healing process on her journey.

    This book makes you think about relationships and love and how you would manage a difficult relationship. The story is hauntingly realistic and a rich and satisfying read. Highly recommended for fans of young adult contemporary books.
  • (4/5)
    First of all – and I’ve been meaning to say this for a while – I want to tell Christian: this love you claim you feel towards Clara? It’s not love – it’s not even obsession – it’s flat out possession. Loving a person means that you trust that person, and trusting means that you don’t check their phone, scroll through their emails or even accuse them of making cow eyes at people they didn’t even look at. One more thing: if you really loved Clara? You would have let her go, done anything to make sure she was happy – even if it meant being away from you, forever.

    Well, having gotten that out of my system, I have to say that this book was beautifully written. I loved the way it jumped back from past to present chapter by chapter so that the reader could know what was happening in her present life as well as her relationship with Christian. Everything started clicking after you read the Christian-related chapters – her fear of him (because, really, who wouldn’t be afraid of an ex-boyfriend/stalker who professes to love you with all his heart?), her relationship with her father – everything.

    I didn’t like how Clara was so weak when it came to Christian in the story, though. I suppose that it was necessary – that they both really depended on each other – but I would’ve thought that she would stop deluding herself after realizing at seeing Christian for the last time would not provide the happy, final meeting she had hoped her – even she herself realized she was being incredibly naïve.

    On the whole, this was a really good book that made sense. You didn’t see Clara running back to Christian time after time – you saw her paranoia, her fear that Christian would find her even though she knew rationally that that was not possible. You didn’t see her crying over him – you saw her anger, her fear, and her guilt. That’s what really worked for me, that everything made sense – it’s something that you rarely see nowadays in most YA novels.
  • (3/5)
    This is the first Deb Caletti book I’ve ever read. I’ve been wanting to pick up one of her books for a long time and I finally got around to doing it. I am super glad I did.I enjoyed Stay more than I thought I would. I thought it was a great story with interesting characters and was very well written. However, I found it slow at some parts and at one point near the end the main character, Clara, does something that just made me shake my head.Overall, I though it was a good book and I think it’s worth a read. I will definitely be reading more by this author in the future.
  • (5/5)
    "My father said that love at first sight should send you running, if you know what's good for you. It's your dark pieces having an instant recognition with their dark peices, he says."In Deb Caletti's realistic fiction novel, Stay, two teens love is intense at first but quickly becomes obsession. When Clara first met Christian she was in a state of blind ecstasy, but soon enough his true colors began to show, and after some time Clara realizes she needs to get away. That may sound easy but not when dealing with someone who is emotionally unstable as he.Clara is a confused girl, she doesn't know where she wants to go or what she wants to do. She even blames herself for Christians actions after multiple people tried to reason with her. Her father, who is a well known author, and her go away for the summer leaving her hometown in Washington behind just to run from her ghosts. Everyday for Clara is a day of looking, listening, and being alert for fear of Christian finding her. The book goes back and forth between Clara presently and her when she was with Christian in the first few chapters to give a clear overview of what she was and is feeling along with why she needs to get away from him so bad. In the waterfront town they are staying in, Clara and her father meet a friend of his who knows all his secrets along with two brothers, Finn and Jack. Finn and Clara begin to connect and soon enough a romance is built, but there's still the feeling of her ex watching her. Then Clara's phone rings and it's a number she'll never forget and panic consumes her. All of the paranoia Clara felt was foreshadowing the moment when Christian was in town, watching her with Finn and arriving at her house only to end in a mad chase that mad everyone frantic. Deb Caletti is very similar to Sarah Dessen in the way of pulling the reader and being a book that just amazes the reader.Stay would have to be in my top five of favorite books. With all the details and the way Caletti makes you realize how people can stay in an abusive relationship. Romance mixed with drama are always eye catching to me. This book is perfect for teen girls who enjoy a fast pace drama with fun characters in terrible situations just trying to start over.
  • (4/5)
    " Will is a powerful thing. 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."Clara and her well-known writer father have escaped for the summer to a remote beach cottage. This is no vacation, though -- they've had to get new cell phones and haven't told anyone where they are going. Clara's ex-boyfriend Christian is the reason. When she started dating him, Christian was everything a boyfriend should be: polite, interested and attentive, and oh so attractive. But as the reader sees in Clara's flashbacks, Christian slowly becomes more and more possessive of Clara's attention and time, and his obsession turns into emotional abuse. Told in mostly alternating chapters, Clara recovers and tries to return to normal as she reflects on how her relationship with Christian disintegrated... until he starts calling and she realizes he's found her. For mature 8th grade readers and up due to realistic language and content.
  • (4/5)
    More and more I am getting into YA Fiction that isn't Paranormal. When I read the synopsis for Stay I really wanted to read it. I've never read any books by Deb Caletti, but I did know that she was a very popular author. I got the chance to read Stay through Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab. I read Stay pretty quickly and found that the story was quite fast paced. Deb Caletti's writing style was very simple.What I liked the most about Stay was that Deb Caletti alternated chapters from Clara's past and Clara's future. You get the chance to read about Christian and Clara's relationship and how it got to the point that it did. You also get to read how Clara and her father moved on, and found a new beginning.Clara falls in love for the first time and is high on life until Christian begins to show a side of him that is much more dark and controlling. Christian starts by accusing Clara of cheating on him, wearing provocative cloths to attract other men and is always taking up most of her time so she wouldn't spend time with her friends. Things begin to get really intense between the two and Clara has no idea what to do. She wants to break up with Christian, but at the same time loves him so much she keeps ignoring the signs. Finally things get a little too out of control and Clara's father steps in and decides enough is enough. Clara and her father go away for the summer not knowing what to expect and there they both learn to forgive, move on and embrace a new beginning.Stay is a story that I think a lot of of teens and adults can easily relate to. It has a strong meaning behind it with a positive ending. I feel that things like this happen a lot, and more and more frequent. Every time I watch the news there is always a story about a boyfriend or husband hurting their loved one. I feel the message in this book is something that every woman no matter her age, should read. I will definitely be picking up any past books by Deb Caletti and am looking forward to any of her future books.4 out 5 Stars!
  • (3/5)
    I will honestly say that the whole of this story was actually quite captivating. It made me really sympathize with the main character and turned my attention onto the problem of how even sometimes relationships that are nonviolent are still threatening when it comes to the art of manipulation and control. The main reason why I gave this book three stars instead of the four it should deserve was the ending. There was really no resolution which was disappointing.Spoiler**Basically, Caletti nevers brings the whole main idea in the book to a head. There is a scene where the main character comes face-to-face with her obsessive ex-boyfriend again but there is no end to him stalking her. It continues after the book ends and Caletti just writes a line that says basically we can't control the things that happen in our lives like that and we have to learn to deal with them....Ummmm, learn to deal with an obessive ex who is still stalking her...that's insane...Full Review to come!
  • (3/5)
    The content of this story was very strong and extremely close to some reader's reality, like my own. I went through the "love-at-first-sight" as a senior in high school. I was madly in love with this guy and wanted to spend every second with him. I felt so special when I was with him, like I was someones entire world. At first I didn't see his jealousies for what they were. I saw everything as my own personal shortcomings. I couldn't talk to any other boy without it suddenly being made to look like I was sleeping with every guy around. Any joke was blown extremely out of proportion. Unlike Clara, I stayed too long and things got out of hand, things turned abusive. Eventually I got out, but I was glad to read that Clara got out before things turned extremely nasty.Stay was my first stab at Deb Caletti's work. I was a little worried about reading this story, as it hits a little too close to home for me. I'm glad that I did, though. It is a story that needs to be shared and one that, unfortunately, happens all too often in reality.Clara finds what she believes to be "love-at-first-sight" with Christian and things quickly turn intense. Clara is placed on a pedestal that only gives Clara a farther distance to fall. Jealousies arise and Christian becomes possessive. Clara becomes and object for Christian rather than a person. When Clara finally realizes how out-of-control things are, she and her father pack up and leave town.Clara struggles with moving on from Christian. She is deeply in love with him, but finally realizes that Christian can offer nothing more than storm clouds overhead. This story isn't entirely sad, though. Once Clara leaves town, she is able to heal and move on. She makes new friends, forges new relationships. She finally sees what it is like to be in a healthy relationship with no crazy expectations or controlling behavior.The only downfalls for me were the amount of intense language (cursing/swearing) and the footnotes. I'd have to scan all the way down to the bottom of the page and then find where I left off to continue the story. I didn't feel like the footnotes were extremely important to the message of the story and I actually feel like they took away from it.The layers of writing and the characters themselves were intense. Stay was raw and emotional. There was amazing depth and intense feeling in Caletti's writing. Stay is a story that definitely needs to be told and shared.
  • (4/5)
    Clara and her father have come to a remote beach house in Washington state for the summer in order to escape from her obsessive ex-boyfriend, Christian. Even though Clara hasn’t told anyone where she is, she still keeps looking over her shoulder, afraid Christian will be there. To further complicate things, she meets Finn, who runs a sailing ship tour with his brother. Finn is everything Christian was not, and Clara finds herself falling for him.Clara isn’t the only one to find love: her father starts dating the lighthouse keeper, who also happens to be Clara’s boss. But things aren’t all wonderful for Clara and her father. Something happened at the beach when Clara was a little girl, something involving her dead mother. While Clara unravels the secrets her father has been keeping, she suddenly gets a phone call from Christian. Has he found out where she is?This is a compelling story of obsessive love, stalking, family secrets and healing broken hearts. The beach setting makes it a great summer read, or one to read in the winter while dreaming of summer.
  • (5/5)
    A part of me didn’t want to read Stay, the topic scared me just little. I was afraid of crying WAY too much and being upset for days after. I decided to wait until I read some reviews on Stay before I picked it up myself. The raving reviews starting rolling in, so I read Stay…I’m so glad I did!Clare is a character, who by end of Stay I want to say I’m proud of, but I was also proud of her at the beginning as well. Walking away from an abusive relationship when you love someone, whatever the form, can be difficult. Yes, Clare made some mistakes. You have to remember she’s a teenager and many adults have made those same mistakes in those same situations. Christian…Creeped. Me. Out. Through all of Stay, you saw how controlling Christian was and what minor things would set him off. The situation just kept getting worse and worse. One particular instance(I won’t give it away here, but if anyone wants to ask, I’ll tell) really weirded me out and I was shivering up until the last page because of it…I’m still shivering and tense as I’m trying to write this review and thinking about it. Clare had a respectable father, who had his share of downs, but I wouldn’t mind having him as my own father. I really liked him as a character and how he acted towards and treated Clare. He wasn’t a single parent who sat on the sidelines, which is a big deal many readers have regarding parents. I should also throw in here that Stay isn’t just all downs either. Clare spends the summer away and meets new people, gets a job, and meets a new boy. She learns how to move on from what she’s experienced and re-learns what’s “normal” in a relationship.Deb Caletti did a great job jumping from what I was calling in my head “before” she left the relationship with Christian and “after” she left town with her father. I’m happy Deb Caletti added the footnotes into Stay, I think the footnotes gave Stay something a bit different. Many of us booklovers are information junkies, so footnotes can be great at times. I’ve read one other book by Deb Caletti, Six Rules of Maybe, which I thought was great. I will continue reading her books in the future and I’ll probably go back and read books which are already released as well.
  • (5/5)
    It's true that very little, if anything, can compare to your first love. It's exhilarating- that sudden onslaught of a new emotion so intense you marvel at your heart's new found ability to feel something so exquisite. How is it possible to feel this way when you never even knew you could? You revel in it, drink it in, savoring every taste until you're drunk with it. For a time, nothing else exists but the insatiable need for this other person. You want more. You've never been so greedy. When Clara meets Christian, suddenly there are only two people left on earth. Neither can get their fill of the other. Hasty promises are made that they will love each other forever and for all she knew, when she said it, Clara truly meant she would never leave him. But Christian's ardent attention soon turns into jealousy. Every male is a threat to his relationship with Clara. Her friends exist only to keep him from her. In angry, hurt tones he accuses her of cheating and begins to scrutinize her every word and move, watchful for even a hint of deception. Soon, this love that Clara couldn't get enough of becomes suffocating. She wants out, even though Christian made her promise never to leave him, and he's not going to let her forget it. "It's strange, isn't it, how the 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's no way out. And we like being his, until we realize we're not ours anymore."Contemporary YA and I are only just becoming friends. I've long preferred things with a magical air and I dove head first into all the fantasy and paranormal YA floating around out there. Pure escapism, easy reads, for the most part, with very little emotional investment. It wasn't until I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher that I discovered what I was really missing. Since then, I've become rather infatuated with these contemporary, ahem, darker, depictions of young life. And though I'm much too old for the majority of them to relate, I can appreciate the lessons and wish I had learned them much earlier on. Stay has a lesson for you. Love, even with all the goodness and wonder it brings, can be the most dangerous of emotions. It's sneaky about it too- its evil silently piggybacking its way in with the bliss that you're all to eager to invite into your life. You bask in it, never knowing what love has hidden behind its back. "I've heard that people stay in bad situations because a relationship like that gets turned up by degrees. It is said that a frog will jump out of a pot of boiling water. But place him in a pot and turn it up a little at a time, and he will stay until he is boiled to death. Us frogs understand this." Clara found herself in a controlling relationship that had just begun to skirt the edges of violent when she finally decided to get out. Her father takes her away for the summer, telling no one where they've gone. Over the summer, away from Christian's incessant pleas for her to take him back, she's finally able to come to terms with what happened. And what almost happened. She's once again free to say what she likes, dress how she likes, and see who she likes without the constant threat that any wrong move could trigger an emotionally violent reaction. It's wonderful how she helps with her own healing. Clara has once again found herself, or rather, a battle weary but wiser version of herself. She knows now that someone who loves you, doesn't treat you like that, and she understands that Christian's illness was not her doing. She accepts what has happened and makes every attempt to move on. The writing is absolutely phenomenal. I got caught up in Clara's expressions and insights, some of which can just simply gut you. The story is told in both the past and the present, you see Clara's relationship with Christian first hand and you experience each moment of her recovery along side her. She makes new friends, and yes, even finds a new love and then next page you're right back in the past with Christian as his actions become more and more disturbing. You also, turn every single page dreading that on the next page, he finds her. I wonder, are all Caletti's books this intense? Can she portray this much realistic emotion and reaction in every book? I reread the last few paragraphs of this book again and again because I just couldn't get over how good Caletti's writing was. It was days before I could shake off the good-book-hangover brought on by her words.
  • (4/5)
    I found this to be a very well-written book. It did not take long at all to really sink into Clara's story. I loved the setting: on the coast with lighthouse. Very atmospheric. I also loved the other characters involved in Clara's life as she tries to get past her relationship with Christian. When she meets Finn, I at first thought eek too soon!, but quickly changed my mind. It is impossible not to fall for Finn, and he really helps her overcome her past instead of helping her hide from it. That part of the story could have easily gone way off course, I'm so glad it didn't!The story also constantly switches to the past and the way Clara met and got involved with Christian. Caletti does a very good job of balancing the "yes, I can see why she fell for him" with the "feeling of impending doom." Really great characterization following their relationship and how scary it was.I'm not sure how I feel about how Clara ultimately ends up confronting her past: it seemed to suspend reality a tad. But then, I've never been in a situation that resembles hers at all, so maybe I just don't fully appreciate it. Either way - that part kept me from loving the book as much as I could have.Regardless, I recommend picking up a copy of this if you're a fan of Deb Caletti or contemporary young adult fiction. You will lose yourself in Clara's journey and watch as she starts to leave her past behind. The book is released later this month, so be on the lookout!
  • (3/5)
    I found Stay to be a suspense-filled book. Judging from the hints littered in the book, there was no doubt that there will be some kind of showdown between Clara and Christian. The suspense was what kind of showdown would it be? The book is written in a first-person voice and almost every chapter alternates between flashbacks of Clara’s past with Christian and her present holiday with her father. Midway through the book, it is also revealed how Clara’s mother had died. I like the intensity of the story and how Deb Caletti manages to weave the “then” and “present” stories of Clara’s life together so that both parts blend in beautifully. After reading (actually reading, not skimming!) the whole book, I still couldn’t figure how the title of the book fits into the whole story. There was a very short part of the story where “stay” seems to be emphasized but other than that, I don’t know how the title is supposed to be relevant to the book. Overall, the plot of the book made it a wonderful read although the language bothered me a little. There were some explicit words used and I didn’t like that.
  • (4/5)
    Stay is my first experience with a Deb Caletti book and I have to say that I was not disappointed. Stay is about a girl named, Clara who, with her dad, Bobby, has to leave town to get away from Christian, the crazy and jealous ex-boyfriend. Christian is the kind of boy who acts sweet and polite until he sees her talking to another boy, even if that boy is her friend. He puts her down, and he puts himself down. He loves her so much and is so afraid to lose her, that he would do anything to keep her. Yeah Christian, real smart, act psychotic, that will get her to stay (ha! Stay!). Clara and Bobby rent a house on the beach for the summer and try to move on from what happened and at the same time, both learn to move on. Clara begins a friendship/relationship with a local boy named Finn, while her dad tries to work out things from his past.I really liked the characters, especially Clara. I liked that she was still open to finding the right guy for her. I liked that she was able to be comfortable around Finn and open up to him. I was also proud that she was able to break up with Christian, no matter what he said or did to her to try to get her to stay with him. She had a confidence about her that I admired. Even the secondary characters including, Sylvie Genovese and Annabelle Aurora brought so much dimension to the story.Stay is told in the present tense and in flashbacks. We get to see how the relationship between Clara and Christian and began, and how it turned into a nightmare for Clara. There were also footnotes were Clara added little facts or extra information that I really enjoyed reading. It made the story, and Clara so much more real for me.This story is about a lot more then just moving on from an abusive relationship. It’s about acceptance and forgiveness, not just for other people, but for your self as well. Stay is a beautiful story that was wonderfully written. I am looking forward to reading some of Caletti’s other work and excited to see what she comes up with next.
  • (3/5)
    Clara thought love at first sight would be magical and it was at first, but soon it becomes apparent that this oh-so-perfect-love gets bitten by a little green-eyed bug that refuses to let go. She thought nothing could be worse than the physical abuse from her last relationship, but nothing prepared her for the emotional rollercoaster that Christian took her on. When Clara and her father go into hiding at Bishop Rock, she hopes that she can learn to forget Christian and move on with her life. I am on the fence about Stay - the story seemed real enough, meaningful enough, but I didn't connect well with Clara. She came across as a little too tense, which probably had to do with her desire to protect herself from getting hurt again by people who she thought loved her. It works for her character, but I wish she could have opened herself a little bit more easily with me as a reader. I also wasn't convinced that Clara grew a whole lot in this book, especially when a new (and first healthy) relationship blossoms. Love happens when it happens, but I would have thought there would have been more resistance from Clara before she attempted another relationship. Especially when she was fresh from the previous bad experience.
  • (5/5)
    Accurate and introspective look at an emotionally controlling relationship, just a hint didactic in parts, though.
  • (5/5)
    I have never read anything by Deb Caletti but I have heard good things about this author. I was excited when I got this book from Simon & Schuster Galley Grab and started reading this book immediately. To be honest I didn't even know much about the book but I really liked the cover. What can I say? I'm a bit of a cover whore. Anyhow, I really liked the message in this book. I have only recently started reading YA and I have found that an alarming number of books center around love at first sight. I think this idea is dangerous for teens and this book shows you why that is the case. In this book Clara falls in insta-love with Christian after seeing him at a basketball game. The second time she sees him at the game she follows him outside, alone, and ends up kissing him right away. From this point, I started to get a bad vibe from this Christian character. I couldn't help but notice that throughout the book they never once have a real substantial conversation and their relationship slowly turns into something dangerous. Christian exhibits domineering character traits and often plays the victim. I couldn't stand this character and I suppose that is really Caletti's point. I liked that Clara had a good familial support system with her dad. I also really liked the writing style of this book. The author jumps from past to present and back again. It allows us to see snapshots of Clara's life now and this gives us insight into her life in her recent past. I think that while this book may be disturbing to some, it is important that teen girls read this book. It showcases just how dangerous certain relationships can be. Caletti does not make it seem easy to leave such relationships and that is the point. Once you are in something that dangerous it is difficult to leave. I also like the fact that Caletti doesn't make Christian's character to be over the top physically violent. This type of abuse is mostly psychological and in my opinion not many people take that as seriously as they should. Overall I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I believe that it sends an important message not just to teens but to any woman who reads this book.
  • (4/5)
    When Clara and Christian lock eyes at a busy basketball game, they feel an instantaneously intense connection to one another. Their subsequent romance is equally intense, but soon Carla realizes that things are less than perfect, as Christian displays more and more his suffocating obsession and his desperation to keep her with him.Two summers later, Clara and her father have escaped Christian’s constant presence by moving to a small ocean town. As Carla gets to know the townspeople, some of whom have a connection with her father’s past and some with his (and her) future, she can’t shake the terror that Christian may be just a few steps away from knowing where she is, and tracking her down again.Wow. Wow wow wow. I think I’d use the following words to describe STAY: disturbing. Beautiful. Painful. Delicately strong. STAY eloquently captures the tremulous aftermath of an emotionally harmful relationship, told in a beautiful and not overbearing prose.The sad and scary fact is that people go through Clara’s situation every day. I know several friends who are in such relationships. And the terrifying thing about it is that there is only so much you can do to help those people. I wish I could give them all a copy of STAY. Deb Caletti’s latest offering spins a heartwrenching portrayal of Clara and Christian’s relationship, and Clara’s subsequent healing process. We feel the intensity of Clara’s attraction and caring for Christian, despite the fact that we know from the start that he is Bad News Bears. The horrible spiral that the relationship goes down is spun out subtly and convincingly.The characters in STAY are lovely. Clara is a fairly relatable protagonist, not knowing exactly what she wants from her future, but smart enough to know what she does NOT want from her past. The thing is, any one of us could easily be Clara: there’s nothing about her that makes her stand out, that labels her immediately as a target for such a type of relationship. Clara handles the things within her control as best as she can, and I have to respect her for that.I also love Clara’s relationship with her father. Clara’s father, a famous writer, is one of the most well written parent figures I have read recently in YA lit. He has a personality! He has his own interests and dreams and aspirations! He has his own quirks! Awesomeee.I was less impressed with Clara’s new romance. Come on: the girl just went through the most difficult thing she’s had to go through in her life; doesn’t it make sense for her to take a break from romance? The romance just felt like it was in the story only because it is expected of YA stories to contain a romance. So, yeah. Not impressed. Clara also discovers shocking revelations about her family history, which was a side plot that wasn’t set up as well as the main one. It’s not bad, per se: it just felt like a lot of drama that didn’t entirely live up to its shock value.Overall, however, STAY is one hell of a read. It’s beautiful, moving, and sometimes hurts to the bone to read. But at the end of it all, it is powerful and important—and best of all, it’s written well. Pick it up or buy it as a present for someone, please.
  • (5/5)
    Originally posted at Girl about BooksI am madly and deeply inlove with this book. Stay is an engrossing, inviting and beautifully written novel.I knew Stay is something very special when I read the first chapter. I seriously can't put into words on how utterly amazing this book is. The storyline is so compelling that it's relentlessly pulling you in. My favorite aspect of the book, perhaps, was the beautiful and inviting way it was written. It's so soothing and deeply engaging and gripping all at the same time. Deb Caletti's distinct and emotional writing was like hypnotizing me, drawing me in and I love it!Another thing I adore about this book is the vivid and radiantly expressive way of Deb in portraying each and every character in the story. Every word in every page seemed to have their own life, breathing and ready to be consumed by you. The characters are all very well-written, so stirring and strongly developed. I instantly felt emotionally invested in them. The footnotes were also really interesting and unique.I haven't read any of Deb Caletti's books before but after reading this, I am aching to read all of her books. ASAP.I can say that I'm obsessed with this book! I'm giving this 5 of 5 stars and I heartily recommend this to everyone because this book is a definite MUST-READ!------*I received this galley free of charge from publisher, Simon & Schuster via Galley Grab in exchange for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    Most of us can relate somehow to Clara and her relationship with Christian one time or another, even if not to their extreme. What happens when you feel a immense connection with someone, something so strong that it quickly becomes mad? When jealousy and the feeling of inadequacy starts coming into play because you are so fearful of losing the other person. Clara and Christian lock eyes at a basketball game and from there they are inseparable. At first everything is going great until Christian's jealousy causes him to verbally abuse Clara. Christian is also fearful that he isn't enough for Clara, that he will lose her. In the beginning Clara misses the signs that something is not right with the relationship. It becomes a sick, and abusive, then frightening.I really loved the story Deb Caletti tells. It's written so well, the prose is haunting. It's a very intense read. She allows readers to get into Clara's head, we go through the ups and downs with Clara. As a parent I also could relate to Clara's dad. He was willing to do whatever it took to keep Clara safe. I think it's a serious matter, and i'm sure a lot of women are in situations similar to Clara's, which makes this a even more compelling read.
  • (4/5)
    Have you ever known someone who guilted you into staying somewhere where you knew you should not be? Like when a family starts to fight and you want to excuse yourself? Or when you have an awkward moment between your friend, her boyfriend and you? I have been there and one that, even in a relationship. I can honestly say that I have had a relationship before that was bad. And Stay, definitely covered the essence of a bad relationship and more.I loved this book! I found my self nodding my head a lot because I knew and could tell how this guy would react. I have been in this type of relationship before and it was very hard to get out of. If I tried to leave, he would threaten to kill himself and blame me. I, in turn felt guilty and stayed. Only to find out I had yet made another mistake. And I blame myself for being stupid and falling into his game. The way the relationship was described in all its glory, the hurt, the games, the threats, played out really well. I like seeing the whole relationship from where it started to where it went. It fell in smoothly and so did the reader.The healing part of the book I felt was surprising to me. Clara learned a secret only to find out how it affected her now. I was sadden by this and I'm glad the reader got to see Clara learn from it. But it also says that not everyone is the same. Some people can be pushed to certain limits and take it, while others can't.Stay is a captivating book with lots of love, hurt, and betrayals. The relationship was told very well from beginning to end. The switching of time frames is written smoothly which allows the reader a great insight of where things are going. Everything about this book makes you stay and finish it.
  • (4/5)
    The first time Clara sees Christian at a basketball game, she immediately feels something that pulls her to him, and Christian feels it, too. A few weeks later, their schools are playing each other in the playoffs, and they bump into each other again. This time they talk, they flirt, they kiss. That’s all it takes. Soon they are talking on the phone, going out on dates; completely smitten with one another.At first Clara finds Christian’s insecurities cute. He loves her, and she him. Of course he would be afraid of losing her. Soon the insecurities turn into obsession and Christian becomes more and more possessive. After dating him for two years, his insecurities become something Clara can no longer handle. She doesn’t feel safe anymore, so she breaks things off with him, but Christian won’t let go. The summer after graduation, she and her father go away to a small coastal town. She doesn’t tell her friends or anyone where she is going. She hopes that three months away will make Christian move on, but it isn’t that easy. When you love someone, you’ll do anything to get them back.When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. It seemed to move very slowly. For about the first half of the novel, the chapters alternate between the present and the past. We see Clara settling in at the beach house, trying to move forward, but we’re not quite sure what she is trying to get past. We also learn about her relationship with Christian. Once the novel picks up, it moves full steam ahead. I can honestly say that I was breathlessly reading the last few chapters. The author does a terrific job of building suspense and making the reader feel the unease that Clara feels.I also really liked the stories of the ghosts that are believed to haunt the small coastal town. It is said their spirits can’t move on because of love, which closely mirrors Christians feelings for Clara. In turn, her fear of him becomes an entity that haunts her every step.My only problem with the book was the ending. I was happy with the outcome, but something about it seemed too neat and tidy. I’ll leave it at that so as not to give anything away. For that, I give it 4 stars. It was an enjoyable read, and I did enjoy the author’s writing style, but it didn’t quite give me the “punch” at the end that I was looking for.
  • (5/5)
    Ms. Caletti has written a very strong and powerful story in Stay. Although I've never been in a situation like Clara's, I can very easily see where this work of fiction may ring true to women.In Stay we meet Clara who is leaving behind her home, friends and especially Christian for the summer. Her father believes that by not telling anyone where they are headed she'll be safe and provide the space needed for Christian to get over their break-up. Through alternating chapters we learn of Clara's present and her future. We see how she's dealing with her break-up and how she's moving forward, but we also see how she met Christian, how they fell in love and how it got to the point where she had to run away from him.I think the cover of this book is perfect for it. Because in ways that is the way the story is told. Although the story mostly has a light feel to it, there is a dark overcast throughout most of it. You always have this niggling creepy feeling of impending doom so you can never truly enjoy the moment. Ms. Caletti did this so expertly. She was able to invoke so many feelings into her story and pass them on to me as the reader (i.e. the confusion, frustration, and eventually fear). I also really enjoyed the setting... on the coast, the lighthouse, the sudden changes in weather. It provided the perfect atmosphere and exactly what was needed for such an emotional roller-coaster type read.In the end, I think Ms. Caletti believably captures the intricacies of relationships - not just the abusive one between Clara and Christian, but that between father and daughter, the camaraderie of best friends or two brothers and even that of a budding romance. Her writing, character and plot development are phenomenal and very relateable.If you are a fan of Ms. Caletti and/or contemporary young adult fiction I recommend you get yourself a copy of Stay. You will not be disappointed.