Kira Stann's Reviews > Stay

Stay by Allie Larkin
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Aug 08, 2010

it was amazing

Book Review: Stay, by Allie Larkin
The characters spring to life from the first sentence in Allie Larkin’s debut novel, Stay. Savannah “Van” Leone has sacrificed other possible relationships and put all her hopes and dreams in one basket. She is devastated when her ultimate love blindsides her, begins a romance with her best friend, and marrying Janie instead of Van. There are always consequences to alcohol consumption, as Savannah soon finds out. She orders a dog from the internet to assuage her loneliness and heartbreak. Though she does not realize it at first, her vodka blunder may have been the catalyst to the most wonderful moments of her life.

Van is a typical college graduate, a pretty girl who enjoys a party, and has a close relationship with her mother and her best friend Janie. She is fun loving and a bit on the snarky side, at least in her own head, though sometimes she gives voice to it. She is somewhat insecure about ho w she appears compared to her ultra-perfect best friend. This feeling only intensifies as Van alternates between wanting to be happy for her best friend, and her heart breaking because Janie stole Peter away from her.
Peter is a narcissistic confused man who is dissatisfied with his life, and influenced by his rich parents. He is a handsome college graduate who has his life all planned out to step into his father’s business shoes. Peter is so self-absorbed; he does not see what is right in front of him. He passes over Van, who believes she is head over heels in love with him, for Janie, who is more appropriate since she also comes from a wealthy background.
Joe is a plush coated purebred German Shepherd. He is large for a puppy and his youthful exuberance leads to troublesome escapades. Joe is one perceptive dog, even though he is in a strange environment. He is sweet, funny and kind, traits that we all wish our own animals possessed. He helps give a reader insight as to what it is like to own a large breed of dog and the situations an owner might encounter.
Alex is a handsome caring veterinarian who has made a niche for himself in the community and his neighborhood. He exhibits patience and kindness, and even though he is experiencing hurt feelings himself, he is able to set that aside to help others. He is the epitome of a small town rugged outdoorsman. He also has a past to deal with that very nearly overcomes his ability to take a chance and trust again.
I joined Van’s roller coaster ride of life with the first page and never looked back. I had a definite connection to the characters in this novel. They were familiar to me because though they were quirky, they were the type of people I know and speak to every day. This immediately gave me a comfort zone, and I felt like I was reading a favorite, relaxing book I had known my whole life. Allie creates a well rounded character in Van, and voices through Van’s internal dialogue, the mental wavering and questioning we ask ourselves when we have a situation we are trying to repair. Van speaks to the reader, opening her mind and heart to us and to her new dog, Joe, who may or may not understand a word his new owner says. Van reaches the pinnacle of disparagement, realizes the way her life is going and tries an improvement. I was compelled to cheer Van on through her tribulations and anyone would wish for a dog as kind and patient as Joe. I identified with the portion of the book that describes Van’s little “shopping spree.” It is human nature to try to compensate for what we have lost, sometimes culminating with the most unexpected items. The message behind Stay is one of fortitude, survival and fulfillment of dreams. Stay grabs you by the collar and drags you right through the story with no lull in the middle, which I often find in books. You cannot possibly experience life’s highs, if you have not delved into the lows. This book represents so beautifully the knowledge that a person cannot possibly experience life’s highs, if they have not delved into the lows.
I have read quite a number of books, and this is one of those novels that will have a reader speculating if the author had possibly experienced some of the trials and tribulations in the story herself, because of the realistically detailed descriptions. I have recommended this book to teenagers as well as adults, as it usurps the spectrum of age. Stay is my choice pick of all the novels I have read this summer. The novel is available in several formats such as audio, e-book, hardcover and paperback.
Stay, by Allie Larkin
Available at: ie-Larkin/dp/0525951717/ref=sr _1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1280094710&sr=1-1

Author Bibliography rkin/e/B002T3TWGE/ref=sr_tc_im g_2_0?qid=1280094489&sr=1-2-ent
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