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4.1 87
by Deb Caletti

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Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and 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


Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and 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....

Editorial Reviews

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.)
From the Publisher
"I LOVED it. Stay is masterfully written and so powerfully honest, it is just an absolutely brilliant read....
I wish I could go back in time and hand this book to my teenage self, it was the kind of book I needed and one I think all teenage girls should read.... The writing is beautiful and full of raw emotion.... The characters are exceptional. Clara is definitely one of the most realistic characters I have read in a while.... Overall, this book is amazing. I highly recommend Stay to all fans of contemporary fiction. Definitely a favourite read for 2011." —Nic at irresistiblereads.blogspot.com

"The way [Caletti] describes things - the characters, settings, the small details - is simply breathtaking. The author has such a talent with words that everything becomes so vivid and alive in front of your eyes.
The plot is gripping! The tension builds up chapter after chapter. As the story progresses, we get to know more of Clara's history with Christian. The characterization is excellent! The author makes you really feel for Clara. I felt her pain, her happiness, her fear and confusion. I could feel her turmoil like it was mine.
One of the best YA contemporary novels I have read.
I read Stay in a day and it was worth it. I believe it's an important book for older and younger readers alike. Stay is dark, moving and hard-hitting."
—Misha @ books-love-affair.blogspot.com

"Caletti’s prose is at its best. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen’s books, this is a moving tale of a
young woman learning how to love, to live, and to forgive."

"My heart was pounding through several chapters... Stay is an emotional masterpiece. It ended up being even better than expected, and is a must read."
—Shanyn @ chickloveslit.com

"Ms. Caletti's writing was gorgeous. There were so many unique and beautiful observations... The way Ms. Caletti was able to push through the norm and dive for something beautiful underneath the current was incredible. Stay is gripping—one part beauty, one part obsession... it's absolutely a novel to check out."
—Amber @ Down the Rabbit Hole (http://amberinblunderland.blogspot.com/)

"This is the best book I have read. Never have I felt more a part of a story, never have I been so involved, so unsure of the outcome, so tentative as Clara moved ahead with her/my life. I wouldn't have Deb Caletti change even one word in this novel. It isn't entertaining. It's more than realistic. It's real."
—Heather @ buriedinbooks.blogspot.com

"The heavens must have opened and sung a beautiful song while Deb Caletti wrote Stay, because this book straight up gets it. Her style is similar to Dessen, as in you know the story is going to be honest and make you feel all sorts of emotions. I felt a genuine connection to Stay."
—April @ goodbooksandgoodwine.com

"Taking an honest look at the dangers of obsession and stalking, Caletti writes a beautiful story that somehow remains hopeful even when the plot takes a sinister twist. Through the story, all characters come to life and become understandable, if not likable. Recommend this book to every teen and parent. This is a danger often overlooked until it is too late because of its subtlety, and the guilt and shame involved."—VOYA

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)
Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
Clara Oates has a boyfriend problem. Last year's boyfriend was a slacker. This year's is so dangerously obsessed with her that, as the book opens, Clara and her father, a crime writer, are escaping from their home in Seattle to a small fishing town on the coast. The novel is told in chapters that alternate between flashbacks of her relationship with Christian during her senior year of high school, and the present, the summer following graduation. Although readers learn in the second chapter that Clara has safely extricated herself from Christian, suspense remains high. How badly did he mistreat her? How will she recover emotionally from a relationship that was both alluring and frightening? Caletti speaks directly and convincingly to her readers about the obsession that the teens feel for each other. And, as narrator, Clara speaks directly also through first-person narrative and clever footnoted asides. A sub-plot concerns her father and his growing relationship with two women in town, especially Sylvie, for whom Clara works, both of whom he knew many years ago. Clara senses that they know something about her mother's death, which she has been told was caused by an aneurysm. When her father confesses that he had an affair with Sylvie and that Clara's mother committed suicide, she does not want to listen. But, because untold stories have a weight that can drown you, she knows she must. By the end of the summer, following a harrowing (if trite) scene with Christian on a stormy beach, father and daughter decide to stay in the small town as each pursues healthy new relationships and Clara decides what to do next. Dialogue includes some swearing, and there are references, though no explicit descriptions, of sex scenes. This is a rich, believable story with important but not heavy-handed lessons. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—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.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)
HL700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Stay 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.


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.

Meet the Author

Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include Stay; The Nature of Jade; and Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book Award and the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone and her latest release, The Secrets She Keeps. She lives with her family in Seattle.

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Stay 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
I read Deb Caletti's The Nature of Jade a couple of years ago and was completely blown away by it, but every other book of hers I've tried to read after that I have failed to finish. Though, with Stay I rediscovered just why I fell in love with Deb's writing and world building all those years ago. Stay is intense, startling, beautiful, and well written. It has a fabulous setting, easy to relate to and likable main characters, and a premise's execution that is nothing short of brilliant. This book is simply contemporary fiction at its absolute best, and I can't wait to suggest it to others come its April release! Stay tells the story of Clara, a girl who's on the run from the the boy she thought she loved, the boy she thought was perfect for her... When Clara first meet Christian she fell hard for him. He was handsome, eye-catching, and he made her feel special. Though, soon after their relationship began, he started to show a side of him Clara never expected to see...a side that's possessive to the extreme to the point where it's even a bit abusive, and after a particularly bad episode Clara's heads to the beach with her father to start over. But will she truly be able to run away from the past she most wants to forgot? And when she's faced with her past demons, will she be able to come out on top? Only time will tell in this read of one girl and her path of recovery. Clara... She's a girl who constantly kept me on a roller coaster of emotions as more was reveled and developed about her past and her current state. At times, I wanted to congratulate her on her current strength to pull away from a guy who was abusive, to say she was fearless and brave and strong, but at other times I wanted to yell at her past self for getting in this huge mess to begin with. Though, that made her character even more more real to me, because as anyone knows, everyone makes mistakes. They see the good in people they shouldn't, and they get in bad situations because of it, but what counts is if they able to break away from everything before its too late, which Clara did and I give her props for that. What I most enjoyed about her story was seeing her develop a future for herself without Christan, because not only did it lead to her getting to know some pretty amazing people (*cough* Finn *cough*) but it brought great development to her character. I also loved her reading about her relationship with her father, because not only where they hilarious together, but it also brought many touching, heartwarming as well as heartbreaking scenes to the table. As said before, the premise's execution of this story was brilliant, because not only did I love how Deb constantly switched the reader so seamlessly between past and present, but she did so in a way that kept the reader on their toes, wondering if Clara would ever truly be able to get away from Christian, as well as come over her internal struggle of getting over the fact she still kind of loved him. Last but not least, Deb's writing in this was fabulous! As I'm sure you can tell by my review, Deb did a fantastic job with world building, character development, and plot development. Best of all, I loved how she created such a vivid setting! In all, Stay is a stunning and intense read of one girl's path to recovery. If this isn't contemporary fiction at its best I don't know what is. Highly, highly recommended. Grade: A+
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
Before I review this, I want to clarify: I did not go and request Stay to review. I haven't read anything of the author's before. I had no interest in it prior to getting it in the mail. In fact, if I hadn't gotten it in the mail with the release being recently (it was about to be released when I started reading it), I probably never would have picked it up. This is important, because most books I pick up I think I'll like. I'm even harder on books I start reading that I don't think I'll like. With that in mind, Stay may be one of the best books I've read since I started blogging. Anybody who reads WORD regularly knows I don't often say I adore a book, and if I do, it sure as hell usually isn't a contemporary novel. But Stay is one of those books I will recommend to anybody - boy, girl, old, young, new to YA, an old blogging pro. It's absolutely brilliant. Clara's voice comes through strongly; it's less reading a book and more being in a person's head, or even their diary. I laughed out loud when something funny happened - my roommate will testify to this, as I kept stopping her from doing homework to read aloud the bits I thought were funny - and was genuinely terrified when Clara was. Cried when she cried, laughed when she laughed - I don't say that often about books. And the rest of the cast of characters were so fantabulously developed. From her dad and the back story with her mom to Christian himself, you knew a bit of each character. (Though how well can you know a person? Oh, the questions this book makes you ask.) There's no typical villains here; you won't find a Mary Sue in this book, folks. The way it was written was absolutely brilliant as well. I normally hate footnotes in anything, especially novels, but the few used in Stay were funny, stayed in character, and added to the book. Then there's the fact that the story moved in the two different directions - you're watching Clara run from Christian, and at the same time she's flashing back and you see how they got to know each other and everything that happened. And the most brilliant thing about this is that it's a true story. Sure, it's not a true story for Deb Caletti, or maybe even for anybody she knows. But it's true for some girls out there who go through it every day. And it makes you feel it. It shows that obsession is nice in thought, but when it comes down to it, you're not going to want somebody stalking you and watching you while you sleep. And I have a favorite quote, but it's rather long - anybody who reads this and gets to page 233, it's that giant paragraph.
Silent-Book-Worm More than 1 year ago
I liked the book, matter of fact it was a good book. I liked how slowly the possession of Christian progressed even to the fact that he became harmful not to just Clare but to himself as well. I didn't like how gushy cliche the book was, it was in fact VERY annoying to hear her thoughts on her love interests' lips, body, hair in the wind, stupid stuff like that. She was annoying feeding into Christian's clinginess. I like Christian's phyco behavior, very convincing. The ending is dumb not very supporting. Really love the scene how when Christian found her and started chasing her because of his sad and sick obsession.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was all around a good read and kept you guessing. It's romantic but also has its scary stories with it :) Very good, a definite must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book could have been so good if the focus was just on Clara & Christian there was exciting suspensful parts, but the story was so drawn out & the switched from past to present & the ending was bad too. 200+ pages Not worth $9.99!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read by Caletti. The tension between Clara and Christian is intense and as the story unfolds it is hard to put down. I didn't want Clara to make the wrong choices or overlook something that could be so important to her view of love.
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
STAY is a contemporary novel that is different to many other YA prototypes. It has romance and at the same time suspenseful elements. The title STAY is really appropriate, because this story is all about the balance of right and wrong decisions, leaving and staying (safe), being with someone or leaving that one you once loved so you can become the person you really are. This novel talks about the serious topic of a love that turns into an obsession and the consequences of making the decision to end it. Chapters of real-time actions alternate with flashbacks, so that the origin to our current situation is revealed piece by piece. We are given the info that our heroine is headed to a place she shouldn't leave unless she doesn’t want to stay safe. It are mostly the flashbacks that keep feeding us with more background information about characters and story. It's a fast read thanks to this narrative technique and a really good writing. STAY is made up of only a few relevant characters, which was totally ok since this type of story doesn't need that many to convey meaning. Caletti did a good job in constructing the characters, because they appear real. I noticed that I didn't care that much about the characters itself, but more about the outcome of the story in general. I was surprised how easily Clara, our protagonist, throws herself into another romance, considering that she is still followed by her ex-boyfriend. Still I liked to see her opening up for a new love. Clara was ok, but her dad was just a bit rough and with his cussing all the time very inconvenient. Caletti also included footnotes to mention some random extra facts, further ideas and explanations. What could be a funny and original idea, really bothered me, because the additional notes were often useless blather and reminded me too much of a scientific work. THE VERDICT I give it 3,5/5 stars. This is a serious novel about the delicate balance between love and hate, staying and leaving. STAY is a book that definitely promises a high emotional involvement.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely amazing! I couldnt stop reading it. This book draws you into it and accually makes you feel emotion for the characters. It is worth every cent!!!
Nattjo More than 1 year ago
An intense story that you don't want to put down!
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Having read the author's other books, Nature of Jade, Six Rules of Maybe, Honey Baby Sweetheart and now Stay, I liked this one as well. I was drawn by the cover and story. This was interesting. Moments where it got a little creepy and other times, you wondered what will happen with that character and how the story gets resolved. I liked some of the characters, especially the relationship of Clara and her writer dad and what their going through. Their moments were adorable. The character development was also good. Finn and his family were also adorable. While it does deal with Christian and Clara, you have the present where Clara and her dad get away for a while, as she meets new friends. The descriptions of the beach were nice. I was in the mood for a beach type read. Near the end it did get intense, I mean there were others as well, but still. Looking forward to the author's next book, so need to catch up on her other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stupendous summer read! Read this in 2 days and fell in love with this author its a must read especially for teens!!! YA readers welcome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a must read couldnt let go from the start love
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started off really enjoying this book, but it become too much meaningless dialogue. I feel like there should have been more to Christian's story. Was very disappointed by the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This Book is dumber than a box of rocks! If you like books where everything that you expect to happens happens then be my guest. Overall, this book was stupid with a twist that didn't affect anything....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a talented author! I enjoyed her storytelling, her innovative word choice, and her honest portrayal of teenage love. Four stars instead of five because of the frequent use of the f-word. It was disappointing for such an obvious talent to rely on such an unimaginative word so often.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book book was great. There was no dissapointments. The story was just so great I couldnt put it down. I was on the edge of my seat the whole entire time I read the book.The desription in the book is just so great that you feel like youre watching a movie. I love this book. Very intersting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago