Stay With Me

Stay With Me

4.0 16
by Garret Freymann-Weyr

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Sixteen-year-old Leila Abranel was born some twenty years after her sisters. Her elegant sisters from her father’s first marriage have lives full of work, love affairs, and travel. Leila doesn’t know either of them very well, but she loves hearing about them—details of Rebecca’s ruined marriage, Clare’s first job, and the strings of


Sixteen-year-old Leila Abranel was born some twenty years after her sisters. Her elegant sisters from her father’s first marriage have lives full of work, love affairs, and travel. Leila doesn’t know either of them very well, but she loves hearing about them—details of Rebecca’s ruined marriage, Clare’s first job, and the strings of unsuitable boyfriends.

When Rebecca kills herself, Leila wants to know why. She starts by spending time with Clare and finally comes to know her as a person instead of a story. With Clare’s reluctant help, Leila tracks down Rebecca’s favorite places and tries to find her sister’s friends. Along the way, Leila meets Eamon.Eamon is thirty-one and writes for television. He thinks Leila is beautiful and smart, but he does not, he tells her, date teenagers. And yet, the months go by and Leila turns seventeen and learns that you can love someone you are not dating.

Maybe letting Eamon love her back is a mistake. Maybe she’ll never know why Rebecca did what she did. Maybe, Leila, decides, most people have a hard time figuring out which way is left or knowing when to let go and when to stay.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Briana Devaser
Leila Abranel, an Egyptian-American young adult, tries to understand her half-sister's suicide by learning the story of her family. She forms a strong attachment to her father's former wife so that she can learn more. In the end, she realizes that everyone has a different version of the story and that stories change over time depending on the teller's current perspective. Leila realizes the importance of family lore in continuing traditions and keeping loved ones alive in some small way. Young adult readers will identify with Leila's hunger for family identity and enjoy the way Freymann-Weyr weaves the different stories into one. The author's engaging writing style is well-suited to this story of a girl's search for answers through family stories. Young adult readers who have experienced trauma or negative experiences in their families will identify with Leila's poignant and real struggle to understand her sister's decision to die. Reviewer: Briana Devaser
Leila Abranel is sixteen when she begins to tell her story. The offspring of a second marriage for her father, she has two sisters who are twenty-plus years her senior. When Rebecca, the one to whom she is closest, kills herself, Leila is determined to find out why. She searches for answers slowly and methodically, a manner in which she has trained herself because she is severely dyslexic. As she remarks, "Deciding quickly on an answer or conclusion-about anything-makes me wrong more than is already necessary." Leila's quest brings her closer to her other half-sister, Clare, and introduces her to Eamon, a thirty-one-year-old who thinks that Leila is smart and beautiful, much to her amazement. Leila's passion lies in theatre and set designs, whereas Eamon works in television, so they connect on several levels despite their age gap. As their relationship develops and Leila continues to ask questions, she finally comes to the realization that although she is determined to see things through and persist, Rebecca simply gave up-on life itself. The outstanding strength of this book is Leila's narration. Her deliberations and thoughtful contemplations on the huge questions about love, life, family, and friends ring with sincerity and truth. Although parts of the family interrelations seem overly complex, Leila is a character readers will care about and want to know. It is a perfect book to hand fans of Sarah Dessen or Laurie Halse Anderson. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Houghton Mifflin, 320p., $16. Ages 12 to 18.
—Mary Ann Darby
Freymann-Weyr writes about privileged New York teenagers; she makes all those popular books (Gossip Girl series, etc.) about the same young people seem like light fluff. Her characters are brilliant, with fascinating families. In Stay with Me, the narrator is Leila, the youngest of three sisters. She struggles in school because she is dyslexic, but she is especially gifted at understanding relationships. As the story begins, Leila's family is in disarray: Leila's 30-something sister Rebecca has committed suicide, and no one understands why. Each person is grieving. The girls' father and his wife, Leila's mother, decide to spend a year in Poland where they will be immersed in work at a hospital; Leila will stay in NYC to finish school, living with her sister Clare in the apartment Clare and Rebecca shared. Many characters are fully realized, including the adults, and Leila is observing everything, awash in her own feelings. Leila takes a part-time job at a cafe where she had caught a glimpse of Rebecca sitting with an unknown man just before the suicide?—?Leila thinks perhaps she will discover who that man was and what he might know about Rebecca's despair. In fact, she does eventually solve that dilemma, but in the meanwhile, at the cafe she meets a man in his early 30s (Leila is just turning 17) who is exciting?—?much more exciting than Ben, Leila's sometime boyfriend. To summarize the plot any further doesn't work well. What I need to convey here is Freymann-Weyr's ability to bring this world to her readers?—?a world in which adolescents and their families and friends have meaningful conversations. Leila is reflective, loving and caring. She stumbles through life,as do the people around her, but always tries to understand what is happening. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2006, Houghton Mifflin, 308p., Ages 15 to adult.
—Claire Rosser
From the Publisher

"Elegant and sophisticated. . . . Readers often feel awkwardness coupled with anticipation in the adult world, and capturing this duality is one of the book's many strengths . . . this novel pushes the market of YA fiction onward and upward." —Booklist, starred review

Booklist, ALA, Starred Review

"Leila is a character readers will care about and want to know...Her deliberations and thoughtful contemplations on the huge questions about love, life, family, and friends ring with sincerity and truth." VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
780L (what's this?)
File size:
305 KB
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

Garret Freymann-Weyr grew up in New York City and often sets her books there. She went to college at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and received an MFA in film from New York University. She has written four books for young adults, including My Heartbeat, which won a Printz Honor for excellence in literature for young adults. Her books have been published in numerous countries including the Netherlands, Japan, and China. She currently lives outside Washington, D. C., with her husband. She has said that the best way to get ideas is to read a lot. “That gets you thinking in terms of story, character, and image.

Garret Freymann-Weyr is the author of My Heartbeat, a Printz Honor book, as well as Stay with Me, The Kings Are all Here, and When I Was Older. She lives in North Carolina.

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Stay with Me 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
TeamJacob4ever567 More than 1 year ago
I am not even halfway through this book right now and I am already bored with it. My advice, if you are going to read this book, read it when you are bored and have nothing else to read. The characters are interesting, but the plot is so dull. The idea of trying to find out why someone committed suicide is so overused :(
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Leila is the youngest of three girls, two of which are her half sisters that she has idolized for years.  The girls lose their mom and a year of high stress begins. Leila must navigate a year with a half sister who she knew little about with her parents out of the country working all while dealing with a load of grief.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
katiesbookblog More than 1 year ago
The book Stay With Me is a wonderful story about love and loss and how one can lead straight to the other. Leila Abranel feels that she has been left behind when her much older sister, Rebecca, decides to take her own life. Rebecca was 20 years older than Leila and they had just truly begun to get to know one another. Leila was beginning to feel like she could talk to Rebecca about things that she couldn't talk to her parents about and then she overdosed on pills and ended any chance of a relationship Leila thought they might be able to have.
In the midst of the mourning and grief, Leila's parents decide that it might be best if they went ahead as planned and moved to Poland for a year, only with a slight change. Since Leila is only 16 she was going to be staying with Rebecca while they were gone but now they must ask her other sister, Clare, if she could take care of her while they are gone.
Leila never really felt like she fit in with her other sisters but she felt like she fit more with Rebecca because Clare was more the smart, workaholic type. Leila is dyslexic and so has always had trouble fitting in and feeling like she belongs but once she moves in with Clare, they start to learn new things about the other and form a close, sisterly bond.
Raphael also helps take care of Leila while her parents are in Poland. His mother was married to their uncle before she met his father and so he is their semi-cousin. Raphael and Clare once had a relationship but it didn't work for reasons that weren't really mentioned. Shortly after Leila moves in with Clare, Clare breaks up with her boyfriend and then once again starts a relationship with Raphael, forming a type of family for Leila to rely on.
While, Leila has tried to move on from her sister's death, she still feels like she is missing something and decides that she should try and find the reason Rebecca killed herself. In her quest for answers she gets a job at Cafe Acca, the last place she saw Rebecca. In a way Rebecca led Leila right to Eamon. Eamon is a 31 year old writer for TV shows and he immediately takes an interest in Leila, not knowing that she is only 16. Throughout the book Leila and Eamon go through many different phases and finally settle on dating even if other people think it is wrong of them.
In the end, Leila realizes that maybe Rebecca didn't really have a reason for killing herself, maybe she just gave up. She knows that what Rebecca did was selfish and inexcusable. Rebecca was only thinking of herself, not the people she would be leaving behind. Leila finally learns that she doesn't really need to know everything about her sister but that in her own way Rebecca led Leila right to her love, if not her great love then her great love for now.
Stay With Me is a story about coping with the sudden death of someone you love and how maybe you don't get over that, maybe you just find new ways to shape your life around it.
Theresa816 More than 1 year ago
The book Stay With Me by Garret Freymann Weyr, in my opinion was a good book; it is a book people can relate to. The book talks about coping and understand the sudden death of a loved one. The book is mainly focused for women/female teens. The book deals with losing a loved one and having to find answers to questions you are left with. You can relate to the characters and the fact that you could relate to the characters helps to get you interested in the book. The struggle that the main character Leila went through was a very realistic situation that had you relate with the character. Leila if left with many questions after the sudden suicide of one of her sisters and the passage of discovering the truth behind the mystery is an interesting one and once you start reading you don¿t want to put the book down. I like this book because it is a book that helps you reflect and it puts you in another person¿s situation that will in the long run help you understand people better. People who are into real life situations and for young adults and maybe even adults would like the book and I recommend that people read this book because it will open your eyes to a different situation and it will help you reflect on your own life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When Leila's much older sister, Rebecca, kills herself, it changes the lives of everyone who knew her, and many people who didn't. But did anyone really know Rebecca, or just the face she showed them? This is just one of the questions that Leila can't help but ask herself in the months after her sister's death. Did she know Rebecca? Or did she only know Rebecca through her interactions with other people? Leila knows her father. She knew her father's first wife, Janie, who died before Rebecca. But if she had really known Rebecca, if anyone had known Rebecca fully, wouldn't they have been able to figure out Rebecca's reasons for doing what she did?

It's for that reason that Leila is searching when she meets Eamon. At first he's only a customer in the café where she once saw Rebecca with the mysterious T., a man she thinks might know something of the reason Rebecca had for committing suicide. Later, though, he becomes something much more.

Clare is Leila's surviving older half-sister. Clare has her own life: a boyfriend, a career, and an apartment--suddenly one occupant short. Rebecca lived there, and now that Leila's parents are moving to Poland for the year, she will move in with Clare. During this year, Clare and Raphael, their unrelated "cousin," will become much, much more important in Leila's life. She will get to know them, maybe in the way she never got to know Rebecca--the way she is still trying to get to know Rebecca, even after her death.

STAY WITH ME is a very powerful, moving story about love, loss, and life. It's about the way life keeps going on, even after a tragedy. Since it takes place in New York and since Rebecca dies right after the attacks on the city on 9/11, the characters are healing from their own personal tragedy, but also, along with everyone else in the city, from the attack on them all. That's not the focus of the novel, but it's definitely a part of it.

Garrett Freymann-Weyr is brilliant at creating wonderful, three-dimensional characters. I've read two of her previous novels (MY HEARTBEAT and WHEN I WAS OLDER), and that's something that can be seen in all of her work. It's a talent, and I was glad to see it shows just as much in STAY WITH ME as in the other two novels. We learn plenty, even about the characters only glimpsed in the novel. The character I felt I knew the least was Leila's mother, but she was not really a part of this story. She hardly knew Rebecca, whose death is what sets off the whole story (though Leila chooses to start the telling of it with her visits to Janie, her father's first wife). There are so many parts to this story, but Rebecca, her life and death, is what ties it all together so marvelously.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was good. Eamon draws you in, but then when you find out more it's kind of creepy. And it's creepy how okay her parents are okay with it. Also I feel like the story would have been better if it were placed in either europe or an earlier time period. The way everyone speaks just does not fit with this time period.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really like this book. I related with almost every aspect of it until i got whole relationship with the 31 year old. It blew the realism[sp?] of the characters. Otherwise, I enjoyed it a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book 'Stay With Me' because it is about real life experiences. I felt the emotions of the characters when I was reading it. I felt like I could relate to the main characters through their struggles and overcomings. I would recommend this book to everyone. It was very enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A girl's dyslexia, relationships with a father and stepmother, and determination to investigate romance, cheating and death makes for a vivid multi-faceted story in Stay With Me, which follows her evolving sense of self in the face of disability and changes. Stay With Me is a recommended pick for mature teens who will find plenty of interest in a story of love which keeps on changing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it will change the way you look at things for life. Lelia's character will keep you more and more drawn to the book, page after page.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this over the week end and was glad to have spent time with these characters. I liked how grief and joy were depicted and captured in questions rather than answers. This is a YA novel that treats its readers like grown ups. How nice. And there was no message at all -- good or bad. Just a story about love, suicide and sisters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed Freymann-Weyr's books in the past and as a children's bookseller recommended them many times, but was so disappointed in the latest. Liked the topic and approach until Eamon entered the picture-17 year old in 'love' with a 31 year old? Something is wrong with this picture-the same message could have been developed without the age difference or even this part of the story line. When do parents of a girl this age decide to leave a decision of dating an adult up to her-wrong message & I am so very disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was perfectly crafted, a mixture of poetic thinking, love and loss, and powerful takes on reality. It is a perfect book for a mature young adult, and poses unanswerable questions that leave room for unhindered thinking.