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Annotation: In a remote corner of Washington State where she and her father have gone to escape her obsessive boyfriend, Clara meets two brothers who captain a sailboat, a lighthouse keeper with a secret, and an old friend of her father who knows his secrets.
Catalog Number: #5423124
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: c2011
Pages: 313 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-442-40374-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-442-40374-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2010021804
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Clara has just graduated from high school, and her intense relationship with Christian is over, but he cannot accept that reality. The more he pushes and pleads, the more she pulls away. When Clara and her writer-father go to the coast for the summer without telling anyone, she begins to come to grips with Christian's obsession. Making friends with local sailor Finn Bishop helps Clara see herself more clearly and confront the damage of the relationship. Told in Clara's clear, poignant voice, with occasional revealing footnotes from the narrator, Caletti's prose is at its best. The real Washington State locales of Deception Pass and Possession Point seem to be used deliberately, but readers won't mind the coincidence. Finn serves as a lovely foil to Christian, and a subplot involving Clara's father and dead mother adds depth. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen's books, especially Dreamland (2000), this is a moving tale of a young woman learning how to love, to live, and to forgive.
Horn Book
Clara and her father rent a summer house on the seashore to escape Clara's pathologically possessive stalker ex-boyfriend. The insightful first-person narrative eloquently articulates Clara's thoughts and emotions, and the oceanfront setting is a picturesque stage on which she sorts through the complexities of romantic attachments--both how they can go horribly wrong and how they can nurture and sustain her.
Kirkus Reviews
A dissection of an unhealthy, obsessive relationship as seen in its aftermath. Clara catches Christian's eye from across a crowded gymnasium, and they quickly become an exclusive couple. However, Clara soon realizes that exclusivity can have its downsides, as Christian's devotion takes a frightening turn and he begins stalking Clara. To protect his daughter and to give her "a place to breathe for a while," Clara's father whisks her away to a sleepy coastal town without notifying anyone of their new location. Through chapters that alternate between Clara's present life at the beach and her rocky relationship with Christian, readers bear witness to Clara's attempts to confront her fear and grow. Adding layers of depth to this text and its characters are several auxiliary relationships, including a dynamic bond between Clara and her father, that all with time are seamlessly woven together. Quirky footnotes are sprinkled throughout attempting to inject humor and tidbits of background to illuminate Clara's past; however, they are often disruptive and easily skipped. Despite salty language, sex and violence are not graphically depicted, making this a safe read for younger teens. While her story's not particularly new, Calletti knows her audience and tells it well. (Fiction. 12-15)
Publishers Weekly
To escape her obsessive ex-boyfriend, Clara and her single father spend the summer in a rented house in a small beach community called Bishop Rock. In alternating chapters, she recounts her increasingly frightening relationship with controlling Christian, as well as her attempts to recover, now that -no one back home knew where I was.- In this gripping, layered novel, Clara is stalked, first by cell phone and later in person, by Christian. Clara is also haunted by her own feelings of culpability: -The thing is, it can feel good to make someone lose all control.- She is not the only one with ghosts: the legends of Bishop Rock are full of them, and many people around her have chilling stories, including her father, a -smart-ass- writer hiding a big family secret. Clara-s unease mounts as she grapples with her emotions surrounding the past and the impending threat of Christian-s arrival. Fear has made Clara a fiercely good observer of detail, and Caletti-s powerfully descriptive prose serves her character well, as she provides insight into ideas about love, power, and who we forgive. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; Interweaving a young woman's past and present experiences in alternating chapters, this novel reveals how Clara's romance with Christian tips slowly but inexorably toward obsession during her junior and senior years of high school. After graduation, Clara and her father slip off to a Washington beach town in secret to escape her now ex-boyfriend's frightening and unpredictable reach into her current life. In this cunningly crafted narrative, readers will slowly come to understand the danger posed by the cute Scandinavian boy who swept Clara off her feet and how what feels like love can crack and crumble when an insecure and possessive guy won't accept their breakup. Her summer job at a lighthouse and the friends she and her father meet, especially Finn, who sails his family's tourist boat with his brother, make Clara hopeful about the future. The suspense rises like the tide while readers applaud the teen's healthy new life and relationships but fear that she hasn't seen the last of the unstable and unpredictable Christian. Characters and new love ring true and would make this fine chick lit in and of itself, but the looming specter of the ex-boyfriend finding Clara makes it a novel with an appealing edge. Fear tinges this summer romance and underscores the issue of abusive and claustrophobic relationships among teens.&12; Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA
Word Count: 84,024
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 143318 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.3 / points:20.0 / quiz:Q52080
Lexile: HL700L
Guided Reading Level: J

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.

Anyway.

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.

* It sounds familiar because you have heard of him. Crime writer, or, as the critics say, “contemporary noir.” Her Emerald Eyes, among others. Yeah, you saw the movie, too.

© 2011 Deb Caletti



Excerpted from Stay by Deb Caletti
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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…


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