Monday, February 27, 2012

Realistic Reading

What? You mean there are no fairies, no ghosts, no vampires, no angels, no otherworldly beings of ANY KIND? No end-of-the-world scenarios, no mysterious super-powered heroes, no trips into outer space? Yes, that's right, occasionally a young adult author DOES write unadorned fiction about real people going about their real lives in the present day! One of the better ones is Deb Caletti, and I just read her newest book, Stay.

Clara and Christian lock eyes at a basketball game (they go to different high schools), and are irresistibly drawn to one another. Clara, who has always been a bit shy around guys, finds herself being bold enough to seek him out and initiate a relationship, which at first is wonderful in every way. But when this book begins, about two years later, Clara and her father are on their way out of town for the summer, and they're telling no one--not their friends, not their relatives, and especially no one who knows Christian--where they're going, because, well, can you say stalker? The rest of the book is told partly in the present (will he find them? will Clara gain back her self-esteem and lose her fear? and will she be able to connect with anyone in the same way ever again?) and in the past (the story of how we got to this place with Clara and Christian).

I really liked this book. The relationships felt genuine, and I like that Caletti makes room in her book for others besides those of the teen protagonists--Clara's dad's back story and present entanglements add to the suspense surrounding the whole summer.

I also liked that this was a stand-alone book, with a beginning, a middle and an end--no sequels needed, no obvious loose ends dangling, and with a satisfying conclusion! Read it and see what you think...

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