Stay Where You Are and Then Leave

Featured
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
2528 0
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave
Author(s)
Age Range
9+
Release Date
March 25, 2014
ISBN
1627790314
Buy This Book
      
The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight—but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by—a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock. Alfie isn't sure what shell shock is, but he is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place. . . .

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Slow to Start But Moving Portrayal of the Effects of War
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
What I Liked:
Putting it all out there, I actually really struggled with this book in the beginning. It’s slow-moving, not particularly character-driven, and there’s something about the narrative style that just made me feel sort off somehow. One hundred pages in, I was toying with DNFing, not because it’s bad—it’s not—but because I wasn’t engaged. Then I realized I was almost halfway through and decided to push on through to the other side. And you know what? I’m glad that I did. The second half of the book moves a bit faster, because Alfie’s older and actually doing things.

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave starts on Alfie’s fifth birthday, which also happens to be the day that WWI begins. Needless to say, there have been better birthdays. Alfie’s dad enlists on that first day, overwhelmed with patriotism and a need to “do his bit.” The story pretty much just covers Alfie being five and then jumps to age nine, during which time Alfie opens up a shoeshine stand in the train station to help his mom earn money and learns about the secret of what happened to his dad.

Part of what didn’t work for me also made Stay Where You Are and Then Leave really special. Alfie’s the main character in that he’s in every scene, but it’s omniscient narration and the book is more about what happens around Alfie than about him. Like, the bulk of the scenes hardly involve Alfie at all; he’s overhearing conversations or witnessing something or listening to someone talk while he shines their shoes. Usually, a middle grade book is about a personal journey of growing up, but Stay Where You Are and Then Leave is more atmospheric, capturing a picture of the war’s impact on one little boy.

Through Alfie’s convenient location at the train station, Boyne is able to acquaint the reader with a lot of experiences through a young kid. As he shines their shoes, men unload their stories, their troubles. Alfie also witnesses numerous disturbances in the neighborhood, like the rough treatment of Joe Patience, a conscientious objector and the Janá?eks, of Hungarian origin. In fact, these story lines were perhaps most compelling to me, since they’re covering bits of WWI history I didn’t really know about. The way women would give any men who looked like they should be at war feathers to shame them? Wow.

Then there’s the Janá?eks. Kalena is a girl and his best friend. Her father runs a shop. When the war breaks out, they’re shipped off by the government under suspicion as spies, even though they’re not German. Kalena was even born in the US, but they’re apparently not to be trusted. I knew that stuff like that happened in WWII, but I had no idea there was that level of anti-German and -Hungarian sentiment during the first World War.

What Left Me Wanting More:
Boyne ultimately focuses on both the effects of the outbreak of the war and the end of it as well. He puts a focus on the fact that, though a number of men do make it back alive, and maybe even uninjured physically, that doesn’t mean they’re well. The traumas of war are myriad, and Boyne conveys this well, without actually diving into anything gruesome or violent. So, basically, I think Boyne does something very cool, but the style sort of lessened my personal enjoyment at the same time.

The Final Verdict:
Ultimately, I’m glad that I read Stay Where You Are and Then Leave, though it got off to a slow start. Boyne looks at WWI through a very unique lens, and if that is something that interests you, then it’s well worth checking out.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 2 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black...
All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The thrilling sequel to instant New York Times bestseller All...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of the Selection series by Kiera Cass....
Born Royal
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
Imprisoned and experimented on since she was twelve, Princess...
Born at Dawn
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Half-human thief Neva Roberts, 17, has always hidden her...
I'll Be the One (I'll Be the One #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The world of K-Pop has never met a star...
The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In a full-color dog book unlike any other, acclaimed children’s...
Unchosen
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Katharyn Blair crafts a fiercely feminist fantasy with a...
Watch Over Me
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that’s why...
The Safekeeper
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Her job is to keep their secrets safe. ...
City of the Plague God
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents CITY OF THE PLAGUE GOD,...
The Shadow War
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inglourious Basterds meets Stranger Things in this dark and thrilling...
The Valley and the Flood
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rose Colter is almost home, but she can't go back...
Don't Tell A Soul
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stay up all night with this modern day Rebecca! Perfect...
58 Farm End
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
58 Farm End: a twisted romantic crime thriller series (Book...
The Connection
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Beatrice Walker thought she lived in a normal world—that is...

Latest Member Reviews

All the Tides of Fate (All the Stars and Teeth, #2)
 
5.0
"ALL THE TIDES OF FATE picks up Amora's story a season or two after the previous book ended. She is..."
Watch Over Me
 
4.7
"Eighteen-year-old Mila has just graduated from high school and aged out of the foster care program. So when a job..."
American Royals II: Majesty
 
3.7
"With her father gone, Beatrice must step into her role as queen. To do this, she has to let her..."
Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter
 
4.0
"Teen Mary Shelley is the many times great granddaughter of the legendary writer. Everyone in the Shelley lineage has become..."
The Obsession
 
4.7
"THE OBSESSION is a creepy and riveting YA thriller. Delilah lives with her mother and her mother's abusive boyfriend, a..."
The Project
 
4.3
"Lo Denham, magazine assistant and loner, is looking for her sister, Bea. Six years ago, Lo's parents died in a..."
The Night Circus
 
4.3
"I couldn’t begin to express how much I adore this book. This book, magically, soothed my temper and let me..."
Wings of Ebony (Wings of Ebony, #1)
 
4.7
"WINGS OF EBONY is a beautifully crafted YA fantasy. A year has passed since Rue's life was irrevocably changed. Her..."
The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)
 
4.3
"THE GILDED ONES by Namina Forna is a YA fantasy novel and the first book in the Deathless series. The..."
Unchosen
 
5.0
"UNCHOSEN is a fantastic and completely captivating YA apocalyptic fantasy, filled with feminism, friendship, sisterhood, and romance. Charlotte is the..."
In the Penalty Box
 
4.0
"IN THE PENALTY BOX is a cute YA contemporary hockey romance. Willow is a figure skater heading for the Olympics,..."
The Afterlife of the Party (Afterlife, #1)
 
4.7
"THE AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY is a YA vampire book for anyone who doesn't want to make out with the..."
The Alcazar (The Cerulean, #2)
 
3.0
"THE ALCAZAR wraps up an intriguing YA fantasy duology. The book continues to follow four main characters in alternating points-of-view,..."
Super Fake Love Song
 
4.0
"Super Fake Love Song is about Sunny Dae, a Korean American teenager who is a mega-nerd trying to survive at..."
Hot British Boyfriend
 
4.3
"Ellie lives in Washington D.C. and attends an elite school, even though the tuition is a stretch for her single..."
The Cerulean
 
3.3
"THE CERULEAN is an intriguing start to a YA fantasy duology. The book begins with Sera, a Cerulean who has..."
Tales from the Hinterland
 
5.0
"TALES FROM THE HINTERLAND is an enchanting, haunting, and deliciously creepy collection of fairytales. Completely new and unlike anything I..."
You Owe Me a Murder
 
3.0
" *Connor is Deaf and has implants *Alex has light brown skin..."
Across the Green Grass Fields
 
4.7
"I love the Wayward Children series, and the latest installment, ACROSS THE GREEN GRASS FIELDS, is no exception. Here are..."
DEV1AT3
 
4.7
"Feedback What a difference between book 1 and book 2. I enjoyed this one so much more, and I..."