Stay follows Clara, who details the story of why she came to the seaside interwoven with her story that begun there. She and her father are leaving for the summer to escape Clara's emotionally abusive and obsessive ex-boyfriend, and realise that the past will follow them, but that doesn't mean they can't create a new future.
Clara's recount of her relationship with Christian originally made their relationship feel normal, but in hindsight, she pointed out problems she didn't see at the time. Christian's obsessive behaviour worsened gradually, and Clara thinking she was always in the wrong, waiting for it to get better, was a realistic reaction. Their relationship felt so true to abusive ones in real life that I could almost believe the book to be non-fiction.
Deb Caletti's writing style is beautiful and has a poetic flow to it. Her prose is captivating and her characters' voice shines through.
Also, including a present parental figure like Clara's dad added an interesting dynamic. Is anyone else sick of protagonist's with absentee parents/are orphaned?
The book took me on an emotional roller coaster. I was completely enthralled like I didn't expect I would be about a book with a premise so new to me. The ending didn't bring complete closure, but it got as close I expect a situation like Clara's would get to being settled in real life. The ending had a hopeful tone, and I felt genuinely pleased for Clara and her father.
Stay is the first book by Deb Caletti I've read, and it definitely will not be the last. Look out for it after the 5th of April, 2011. I give it a 5 out of 5.