This is one of those books where I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words, so I'm going to bulletpoint this review.
- I was really, really to...moreThis is one of those books where I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words, so I'm going to bulletpoint this review.
- I was really, really torn about how to rate this one, but more on that later.
- This is definitely for mature readers. Some of the events discussed are not for every audience. I don't want to say too much, because, well, spoilers.
- This is not an easy or a light read. It is heartwrenching, and you can feel Emily's grief and confusion. I can't say that I necessarily related to Emily, but I definitely felt for her. In fact, my heart ached for her. I can't imagine going through what she went through.
- However. I have seen that a lot of people felt disconnected with Emily while reading. I think this partly has to do with the tense--Jenny Hubbard writes in third person. It might have been a stronger narrative if it was written in first person, but then again, Emily's poems gave a glimpse into her thoughts.
- And We Stay was told using prose AND poetry, which I thought was unique. Usually you see either one or the other.
- The poems that were included were one's that Emily Beam "wrote." I really enjoyed them. They were simple, but had so much feeling.
- I've always been a fan of Emily Dickinson, so I thought her inclusion in the story was awesome. I loved the duality of the two Emily's--the setting, the poetry, the fact that Emily Dickinson's house meant so much to Emily Beam. I just loved it.
- With all of the poetry plus Jenny Hubbard's talent for writing, I have to say if I weren't reading an e-galley from NetGalley (thanks!), I would have been making highlights all over the place. I love when I'm reading and a sentence or two gives me pause and takes my breath away. And I thought Jenny Hubbard's writing was that beautiful.
- I found myself thinking about this story A LOT when I wasn't reading. I talked about it with my boyfriend on several occasions. Emily's story just wouldn't leave me alone.
- Despite being dark, it wasn't an entirely hopeless tale. Emily develops and deals with her grief throughout, and by the end, I was feeling pretty hopeful about her future.
- My only complaint was that I wish that the supporting characters were more developed. I wanted more! I know it's Emily's story of grief and recovering, but I wanted to know so many things, like what was up with Amber? What was it that compelled her to steal things? Did she ever stop? And K.T.! There was so much potential with her storyline. What happened with her last roommate, Hannah? It seemed like she was involved, so what was the story there? And what was her involvement with the local "mean girls"? I wanted to see so much more than what we got.
- And what about the poetry contest?! I was so frustrated that there was no resolution with that. It seemed like a pretty big plot point, especially when we found out what the "mean girls" did towards the end. I wanted to know how it all turned out!
- That was why I was so torn about what to rate this. I bounced back and forth between 3 and 4 stars at least a dozen times. On one hand, I really loved the writing and the poetry and Emily Dickinson and my heart ached for Emily, but on the other, there was SO MUCH left unresolved and so much untapped potential. I went with 4 stars on this one because for me, the good outweighed the bad.
This is a moody read, that is definitely not for everyone. It's poignant, and it is one that will stick in your heart and in your thoughts for a while, so I would definitely recommend it if you're a fan of contemporary YA and Emily Dickinson and poetry. It's not an easy read, though, so be warned.
As for me, I really liked it, and I definitely want to buy a copy when it comes out on January 28th!
(I received a free e-galley of this through NetGalley and Random House--thank you! This in no way affected my review.) (less)