Stay With Me

 
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Age Range
14+
ISBN
0618605711
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What It Means to Stay
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"Stay with me," I say, wishing I'd said it to my sister but also wanting to hear it from him.

"Stay with you?" he asks.

"No," I say. "You've messed up the pronoun."

Leila is the product of her father's second marriage. Her parents are still happily married, and she is their only child. She has two half-sisters from her father's first marriage, but she is not as close to them as she would like to be. Rebecca and Clare were in their twenties with Leila was born, so even though she is now approaching the age of seventeen, Leila still feels like a kid in their presence.

Even more remarkable than her parents' loving marriage is Leila's other source of adult support: Janie, her father's first wife. The book begins with Leila's memories of Janie, and the loss she felt when Janie passed away. It continues with the revelation that Rebecca has committed suicide, causing those familiar feelings of loss and regret to rise to the surface but in a new way. As Leila attempts to figure out what would cause Rebecca to do such a thing, she makes startling discoveries about her family members - and herself. What she thought she knew may not be true at all.

"There's such a gap between the images I carry in my mind and what can actually be found in the world."

Among many other things, Leila learns that nothing valuable is easy. Her life is as complex as that of any real person, and the book seamlessly weaves together various plotlines that touch Leila's life, with each given appropriate weight and attention. In Freymann-Weyr's best novel to date, the author has created characters who are intelligent, each in his or her own way, and realistically flawed. The first-person narrative is poignant and poetic, offering many memorable scenes and exchanges of dialogue.

"For me, they are one more thing that belongs in someone else's story."

This book is something to savor and share. Leila's story with stay with readers long after they finish the last page. Highly recommended to adults and older teens.
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This book stays with you
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I hadnt previously read anything by Garret Freymann-Weyr, but after reading Stay With Me , Ive got the feeling I really need to pick up her other books. Theres a lyrical beauty to her words that works its way inside you and wont let go.

Leila (pronounced lee-la and not lay-la like the song) is a child of her fathers second marriage. Shes sixteen and years younger than her successful and interesting half-sisters, but she has always been fascinated by their lives (and even the life of her fathers first wife). When Rebecca commits suicide, Leila and the rest of the family are left reeling. Most of all, Leila wants to understand why.

Leila winds up moving in with Claire, her remaining sister, while her parents travel off on a humanitarian project. Though she had been closer to Rebecca than Claire before, Leila soon finds herself warming up to her newly discovered sister. Through Claire, she learns more about Rebecca and herself.

During her search to learn more about Rebecca and the why of things, she takes a job in a café that she had once seen Rebecca eating in with a stranger in the hopes of meeting the man in person. While she ultimately does see that stranger again, it is her meeting of Eamon that really changes her life.

At thirty-one, Eamon tries to distance himself when he finds out exactly how old Leila is I dont date teenagers he tells her, but ultimately they are drawn together like magnets. Their relationship is a delicate balance of needs and wants and desires.

Now, I imagine you might be thinking whoa! at this point. Sixteen/seventeen year-old protagonist + thirty-one year-old lover. Parents that disappear for a year after a daughters suicide, leaving behind their underage daughter. I should have, perhaps, mentioned in the beginning that this is not your conventional family and Leila is not your average character. While some may see shades of Lolita in the age difference, it really isnt anything like that. Youll have to just read the novel yourself to see.

This is a novel of self-discovery and also the many faces of love love for your family, your friends & significant others, yourself... I recommend it for readers aged 14 and up. I think youll enjoy this one.
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