Q:could you review stay by deb caletti?
Scenario: Clara starts a quiet summer at the beach with her father after her high school romance goes sour. Even with a new start, though, the Oates find their new home is haunted by the ghosts of its past, and theirs.
- This is not a book I would have chosen on my own. The cover, while pretty, carries the hokey tagline, “Some secrets are strong enough to pull you under” and obsessive love isn’t really my thing. So I’m grateful past-ispast recommended it.
- The writing is lovely. Clara’s literary and so’s her dad, so the occasionally ornate first-person passages are believable, and Caletti walks a fine line, building suspense but adding real detail and moments of humor.
- Terrific supporting characters: Annabelle Aurora, the peculiar old lady who lives on the beach; Clara’s dad, the novelist; the warm, vaguely Weasley-ish Bishop family.
- Christian, as a character, and Clara’s reflections on their destructive relationship. He’s never made entirely to blame, and I felt real sympathy, even when he was at his most terrifying. I can also see a book like this being a good pick for girls who love the control Edward Cullen type — letting them see the other side of the coin.
- Finn was almost too good. I rooted for him, but some of his speeches just felt a bit unreal. It would take a special boy to follow in the footsteps of someone like Christian, but I don’t know if anyone is that perfect. Annabelle had her own wooden speeches at times, too.
- Another grieving girl book, though at least Clara acknowledges dryly, “Yes, this story has a dead mother. […] Dead mothers 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. […] She was no cliche and neither am I.”
- The footnotes felt forced at times, even if some were clever.
- Someone talk to me about the ending. I’m divided. Too tidy, or well-earned and satisfying?
Bottom Line: My copy comes from nearby Springfield, and when I’m back from vacation, I’ll recommend that we order a copy for our collection.