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And We Stay

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Senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then takes his own life. Soon after, angry and guilt-ridden Emily is sent to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where two quirky fellow students and the spirit of Emily Dickinson offer helping hands. But it is up to Emily Beam to heal her own damaged self, to find the good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

224 pages, Hardcover

First published January 10, 2014

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About the author

Jenny Hubbard

4 books145 followers
A former high-school and college English teacher for 17 happy years, Jenny now practices what she preached: the discipline of rewriting, which, in her humble opinion, is the key to a writer’s success.

Jenny is represented by Jonathan Lyons of Curtis Brown, LTD, New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 921 reviews
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
909 reviews13.8k followers
July 13, 2015
2.5 stars

I'm rather disappointed with this. Going into it knowing that it won the same award the same year as I'll Give You The Sun, my expecations were huge. But the plot was a bit dragging, the characters were bland, and it was very forgettable. Nothing about this was special or made me feel like it was deserving of an award. It is nowhere near as great as IGYTS. I would not recommend this, and I feel like I kinda wasted my time tbh.
Profile Image for emma.
1,821 reviews45.3k followers
July 13, 2021
everything about this book takes me back to 2014. the skater dress / patterned tights combo. the weather-inappropriate outfit. the abusive boyfriend who is a school shooter plotline. the phrase "two quirky friends" in the synopsis.

a simpler time.

not a better one, though. at least for YA contemporaries.

part of a project i'm doing where i review books i read a long time ago and if you did not already know that flee while you still can.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,363 followers
January 17, 2014
And We Stay is a book that will resonate with some, and left others feeling detached. It's a very poetic writing style which on one hand gives us a beautifully written novel, but on the other hand it makes it hard to embed yourself into the main character's thoughts and emotions.

The main reason for this detachment is due to the fact that it's written in 3rd person present. This tense always makes it hard for me to feel anything but indifference towards a story and its characters. It does make for a pretty writing style - and it is - but Emily's emotional turmoil is kept out of reach as a result. It felt like she was telling someone else's story, not reliving her own. This writing is also more poetic than I'm used to and I can't say I was a big fan of it. This is clearly personal preference, though, and I'm sure it will reach some fans who will fall in love with it. Unfortunately for me, it left me feeling bored for the most part.

The blurb is what attracted me to this novel: Mentions of boyfriend suicide and boarding school had me immediately intrigued. I love boarding school settings (probably because it's so foreign to me), and gritty stories with damaged characters are right up my alley. What the book ended up being was really not what I was expecting. It was more about Emily Dickinson's life story, and how our protagonist was inspired by her. Aside from the 3rd person present tense, I'm not a big fan of poetry in general. I guess I should have known this wasn't for me seeing as it mentions Emily Dickinson and verse/prose writing, but having found out recently I'm actually a fan of verse novels it didn't raise a red flag as it should have. On that note, I have to disagree that this is a story "told in verse" as the blurb made me believe; it includes a poem between each chapter and a few mini poems scattered throughout, but they only echo the story that was being told. I even skipped most of them and still got the full picture. I'm new to verse novels, but that is not how I would describe one so I found it a bit misleading. I bring this up because it was one aspect that pushed me to read it; having finished Ellen Hopkin's Glass recently had me in the mood to try out more verse books.

I do think people who are Emily Dickinson fanatics should check it out. It's as much Dickinson's story as it is Emily Beam's. I believe my failed relationship with this novel is more a case of "it's not you, it's me".

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
589 reviews1,031 followers
January 27, 2014
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

This is how they will go.
This is how she will go: on.
The light almost speaking,
and March halfway gone,
the green fields beyond,
and the staying.

Jenny Hubbard is a fantastic writer. I'll give her that. She can form sentences out of nowhere and still make it sound poetic and beautiful and grand. The poems that are inserted here and there are just another example of her talent. I really wanted to love And We Stay because of that. The prose and verse--I don't think I've read something as magnificent.

Unfortunately, And We Stay, no matter the brilliant writing, I could not like. Here is a list of reasons why.

- Número uno: the point of view and tense just did not click with the novel. It is written in third person, present. I've never been a fan of third person narration, it is difficult to make me connect to the characters and nearly always is the author going to be telling and not showing. And We Stay is not an exception. This book was predominantly weighed down because of the narration (even though the prose was achingly gorgeous). The tense made this book feel off. I'm not utterly sure how to describe what I mean, but it just did not sit well with And We Stay. Perhaps it would have been better with past tense? Just a suggestion.

- I couldn't care less about any of the characters. This pretty much links up with my previous point. Due to the narration, I was completely detached from the characters. We don't really get to go inside the main character's head much, either. I do like the Emily Beam's story line, but it's awful hard to feel for her and comprehend her emotions if they are barely shown. Moreover, I wanted to know more about Paul--the ex-boyfriend. I think I was meant to feel sorry for him, but if you ask me to give my opinion on him, I could not say anything good or bad. He was just there. A bland character.

- The pacing felt slow. And We Stay is a relatively short novel. 240 pages. Yet I still felt myself wanting to rush through it because it was like everything in slow motion. I get that this book is a novel about recovery and moving on. I get that it takes a long time. I think I just wanted something else to go on along--a sub-plot. Anything to make me feel more attentive.

I know I am the black sheep here, and I tried so hard to enjoy this. I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of poetry (or Emily Dickinson).

~Thank you Delacorte Press for sending me this copy!~

Profile Image for Cortney -  The Bookworm Myrtle Beach.
805 reviews100 followers
January 31, 2019
Quick, easy read...

But at the end of the day, I am just not a fan of poetry, and this book really centered around that. Emily Dickinson's poetry, Emily the main character's poetry, there were even a lot of Emily's actual poems in the book. It was just not for me.

Other than the poetry aspect, I liked the story of her background with Paul, but that was such a small part of the book. I had to give it 2 stars
Profile Image for Ellis.
445 reviews232 followers
June 25, 2016
"So. You're a poet." Emily shakes her head. "No," she says, "I'm just a girl who writes poems."

It's weird for me to think of And We Stay as the story of an ex-cheerleader who starts afresh at an all-girls boarding school after her jock boyfriend shot himself in the school library, but that is the gist of Emily Beam's situation. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those elements, but they make the story seem flashier than it actually is, and flashy is one word I wouldn't associate with And We Stay. To me, the overall atmosphere is very subtle and understated, and quite beautiful in its sadness.

I think part of that has to do with the perspective this book was written in. Many have mentioned that the third person POV is what kept them from fully sympathising with Emily. I agree that it creates a sort of barrier between her and the reader. I'll be honest. I struggled with the first chapters. Somehow I expected this story to be written in first person, and when I couldn't adapt to the fact it wasn't, I decided to start over again. The weird - and good - thing is that the POV did work for me the second time around. I don't know. Maybe it won't be a problem once you're warned or fully prepared or something.

Read the rest on The Random Transliterator.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,606 followers
February 23, 2015
I was just talking to one of the booksellers at the King's English about the Printz Awards and YA fiction in general. We were discussing how many of the books lately seem to have lots of crude language or sex in them, not because it's part of the story, but almost to show off. I said that it reminded me of a rebellious teenager fighting with her parents, yelling,"That's right! I drink ALCOHOL! And HAVE SEX! This is my LIFE, MOTH-er! DEAL WITH IT!" And you want to pat the book on the head. "Okay, sweetie, we get it, you're all grown up." They're edgy for the sake of being edgy. They're trying to shock the prudes and the grown ups, and it's just becoming tedious.

But then there's this book.

This book was the real deal.

Emily Beam feels like a real teenage girl. She thinks and talks and acts like someone you truly believe you could meet on the street. She could be your friend or your daughter or your roommate or your student. She's not a caricature of a Cool Teen Girl. She's a girl. A real one. She's done things that would get you grounded for life (and do get her grounded, or "campused" at her new school). But she didn't do them to prove anything to anyone. She did them because she made that choice at that time. Some choices she regrets, others she doesn't. Some she doesn't yet know how she feels about. She starts writing poetry. Some of it is okay. Some of it is beautiful. She's real. And the people around her are real. They feel real, they say things real people would say.

This was a great book, and it truly deserved to get a Printz Honor. The only reason why I'm not giving it 5 stars (and I've been debating this for two days) is because it was almost to . . . light. I would have loved to see more of her past, or her parents' reactions to things. It's very focused on Emily, and that's great, but I think there could have been a bit more here and there, without it being padding.
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,538 reviews33.9k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
February 19, 2014
DNF a few chapters in.

On page 6, the main character references how the decision to send her to boarding school was "very Brothers Grimm." Really? I don't remember any of those in my fairy tales. I really just didn't care for the writing style and structure, though, and would not have picked this up had it not randomly showed up at my door. The dramatic subjects, somewhat heavy-handed style, and verse sections are just not my thing.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
2,981 reviews362 followers
February 9, 2018
This was a bit of a different kind of read. Both sad and somewhat..strange maybe? Hard to describe. I did like the poems throughout the story and the bit about Dickinson was very interesting but other than that, I didn't find myself connecting with the story at all like I wanted to. That being said though, I think this maybe was more of a case of, it's not you, it's me. I seem to be having a hard time lately finding a really great read.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,857 reviews1,048 followers
November 15, 2015
I read this a couple of years back at the end of the year and am just now writing a review for it since listening to the audiobook version. This will be a brief review/summary because I'm reacting to the overarching story itself. "And We Stay" is a difficult book to read (and rate, to be honest with you). It touches on quite a few sensitive topics, from suicide to depression to issues regarding teen pregnancy and abortion. Emily Bean is a character I followed well throughout the narrative - having moved from her old school and home into a new boarding school and adjusting to life there while thinking back to the events that lead her there in the first place. It switches between past and present (well, the present being 1995), though I found the transitions smooth and unemcumbered, and it's told in third person present tense (which in longer narratives would probably bother me, but since this was such a short read, I thought it was fine. Plus the audiobook translation ended up being really, really well done).

Poetry is one of my first loves in writing, so I actually loved the poetry incorporation and the chance to learn a bit about Emily Dickinson's life in grief parallels made with Emily Bean's character. Emily Bean is a young woman who's searching for her identity, so it would make sense that she's trying to find something to connect to in the scheme of this story, between the poems she writes and the life of Emily Dickinson. On a psychological level, it makes sense that she's finding something to hold on to when it feels like she doesn't have an identity between the bouts of grief brought on by her experiences and trauma. I did like that Emily found other connections, including her relationship with K.T., that were showcased in the book.

But this book did hurt to read because of what happens to Emily, and there's - I feel - a fair handling and responsibility of address in the sensitive topics it chooses to showcase in Emily's experience. But I think what made the narrative stand out in my mind ultimately was the gradual coming to terms and unveiling of it all, if even in such a brief narrative and in a symbolic way.

This narrative may be a hit or miss given the way it chooses to tell Emily's story, but I thought it was well worth the read.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.
Profile Image for Sandra Deaconu.
657 reviews102 followers
January 7, 2019
Pentru 10 lei este o lectură drăguță și scrisă frumos, mai ales că e scurtă și nu pierzi mult timp cu ea, dar eu am fost cam dezamăgită pentru că nu am primit doza de emoție la care speram. Mă așteptam la ceva mai profund și poetic, poate chiar și la un mister învăluit în ceață. Mi-au plăcut câteva lucruri la carte, cum ar fi poeziile și una dintre prietenele lui Emily, dar nu suficient încât să-mi mai amintesc de ea în viitor. E ciudățică și cred că intră în categoria cărților pe care le iubești sau le urăști, fără cale de mijloc. S-ar putea să nu fi fost atât de impresionată și pentru că am citit-o după Scandalul lui Backman, care m-a făcut să simt că nu o să-mi mai placă multă vreme atât de mult. Recenzia aici: https://sandradeaconu.blogspot.com/20....

,,Oamenii încearcă să nu lase
întunericul să le pătrundă în suflet -
Deși întunericul nu e altceva decât noi înșine
Înainte ca lumina să se fi aprins.''
Profile Image for Katie.
Author 13 books3,372 followers
April 21, 2017
I'm caught between 3 and 4 stars...
Profile Image for Perla The IB Teen Book Blogger.
498 reviews35 followers
December 27, 2013
I will remember And We Stay and Emily for a long time after having put it down last night. I felt Emily residing somewhere in my chest as I read her story. It felt so personal, so ethereal, so damn sad it broke my heart. Paul broke my heart- the wonder of his thoughts, the confusion, and how damn alone he must have felt at the end. How terrible Emily's experience directly following his death & how patronized and bulldozed she was by her family- by her sense of fear and guilt.

But mostly I will remember those walks with Emily as she worked her way through her grief, made some kind of sense of her feelings, and discovered a new life. Half woman, half girl, discovering coffee and cigarettes this new amazing grown up things- after having discovered sex, pregnancy, death and disillusion. I will remember these walks with Emily much like I remember my walks with Holden Caulfield. So real I could taste these walks.
Profile Image for BookNightOwl.
972 reviews168 followers
March 25, 2020
And We Stay is about a girl who is dealing with pain of losing her ex and other personal issues in her life. She puts a lot of pain into her poetry which is written out in these pages. I enjoyed the story and the way it moved a long.
Profile Image for Simona Stoica.
Author 16 books709 followers
August 7, 2017
Pe la 4 dimineața citeam poezii de Emily Dickinson, cu gândul la versurile unei alte poete, (o) altă Emily: Îi sărută linia vieții/Pecetluindu-i acolo secretele.

Acțiunea este aproape inexistentă, însă Jenny Hubbard încearcă să vindece un suflet rănit, ce își găsește oaza de liniște în versuri și în poeme despre trecut. O lectură sensibilă despre regăsire și pierdere, mult prea scurtă pentru gustul meu, dar un YA perfect pentru cei ce caută un roman diferit, aproape „poetic”.
Profile Image for Sharon L.
595 reviews88 followers
March 25, 2014
For more reviews visit The Accidental Reader

Do you love poetry? If so, you might want to give this book a chance.

But for those of you who don't like poetry or don't feel anything particular towards it, well, you might want to hear me out.

(Those who love are welcome to join as well, of course)

When I started this book I was awed at the beauty of the writing. But as the story progressed I found myself thinking that I might give this book 5 stars despite not liking it at all because the writing was very beautiful.

I sobered up.

I do not like poetry in general. Maybe I do not possess the gentle soul required. Yes, I read poetry every once in a while. Yes, sometimes a poem, a paragraph or a phrase cut through me in a violent way- just like the waves that crush on the beach. Sometimes I listen to a song and something touches me so deeply I'm rendered speechless.

But more often than not I simply go on with my life.

I appreciate poems, I appreciate anyone who write poems. Poems can be short or long or come in so many different ways, sizes and shapes just like people do. And you need to convey something, a short message in them. This, IMO, makes it all the more difficult. In a novel you have time to build you message, a poem requires a much more direct approach.

I like that.

The problem starts, once again in my humble opinion (I am no expert nor do I intend to be), when you try to write things in such a unique and beautiful way that the message eventually is 'lost in translation'. [this, I think, can be told on most versions of art]
Perhaps my figure of speech is no adequate, but I feel this is the best way to convey it. While we might all read something in the same language the way we understand it is different. And I'd like to think of that as another sort of translation.

Now, back to the book.

And We Stay is a book about a girl (aka Emily) who deals with a trauma; her boyfriend killed himself in front of her eyes. The reasons remain to be explored as the book progresses. I am happy to divulge that as you continue reading you realize there is nothing simple here, like most stories, there was more than one right choice.

We meet Emily as she starts her life in a new school, and soon she deals with her grief, her blame and her trauma through poetry and two nice girls she befriends. Emily learns how to move on.

What is the problem then?

The writing, the very thing that I thought will make me give this book 5 stars ended up the reason why I'm giving it less. And why I DNFed the book (I did skim through, so I know it all, but still…)

The writing is so beautiful, so poetic you might want to claim this whole book is just one huge poem.

But sometimes beauty is empty.

Maybe that's a cruel thing to say, but I find it to be true. While beauty may come in many variations, something remain empty no matter how beautiful they are.

You see, Emily's story was the kind that might have broken my heart. I might have cried. But I didn't. no sting to the eyes….I felt only some vague notion of pity once in a while. And even that faded as the book progressed.

The book was written so beautifully so lyrically, that the feelings; the pain, the hope, the cries. And ultimately everything (I dare say even the characterization) have been sacrificed in the name of the beautiful prose.

I don't need my characters to be likeable. Or sympathetic. I don’t need the story to be gut wrenching. But when I feel empty most of the time and confused the rest of the time because the sentence is written so damn beautifully that I can't comprehend what the fuck the writer wanted to say I feel that something is very very wrong here. [Forgive my language and yes, pun intended in case that was a pun].

In the end, I think it's a question of taste, if you like a beautiful prose you might like this book.

a review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I can't. I just can't.

Since I read half, I will still review it. But I can't keep on reading so I dnf this.

I complained about the book the other day and my friend asked me why do I keep on reading, my answer was because I got an arc.

The thing is that I don't want to pick it up. So I think I just shouldn't.

Profile Image for Debbie.
295 reviews128 followers
January 28, 2014

1.5 Stars

When I read a novel where the main character has gone through some serious shit, I expect a few things. I expect a relatable/likeable character who has quite a few flaws. I expect a lot of emotion and confusion and above all, a lot of sympathy. I expect to love this book and feel as if I am apart of the story, that, this horrible thing that happened to the protagonist actually happened to me. I want to be in their shoes. And We Stay gives me a narration that left me more tired than anything.

And We Stay is written in the worst possible way. It's third person present tense for crying out loud! It's so simple and detached, the events that Emily goes through didn't feel real to me in any way. Everything is told instead of shown and I couldn't feel anything towards Emily and her life, even when she has sudden flashback about Paul, Albeit beautifully done, felt too simple and boring for me to care about too much.

Jenny Hubbard does know how to write beautiful poetry though. At the end of each chapter, readers are left with a beautiful poem that's probably the most touching thing about the novel. The idea for this story is also very creative and intriguing. It was the mention of a shooting that initially drew me to the story and I enjoyed the few flashbacks where Paul is mentioned and the shooting because they are so very interesting.
Overall, Emily's life is horrible. And my biggest problem with the novel isn't the actual story idea but the execution of it. If the story was told in first person and maybe if it was all told in verse, it could have a great novel. I absolutely love gritty novels about horrible events that happen to teens. The story idea is awesome but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone because I felt so apathetic towards most of it.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 6 books1,204 followers
January 19, 2014
I spent far more of this book wondering why 1995 than I did thinking about how gorgeously written it was, how wonderful the way Emily works through her grief is, how incredible the friendship between her and KT is, and how many really nice feminist/female-empowering messages were woven in without becoming Messages. This is a tougher read -- it will have a more limited appeal to teen readers -- but it's worthwhile. At heart, it's about grief and loss, and it's about grief and loss not just on the human-death level, but on a bigger, broader scale.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like the incorporation of Emily's poetry between chapters was a bonus, rather than a detraction. The number of books that try to incorporate a character's writing and it just feels stilted and over the top, rather than a genuine means into who they are greatly outnumbers books like this where it really works. Hubbard also does a really fantastic job of weaving backstory into the present without info-dumping or making things heavier in weight and meaning than they really are.

Longer review to come. But I would have loved this so much more if the things that were done so well here -- especially the notes on friendship, on female support systems, on growing and learning and accepting yourself and owning your decisions, hard as they sometimes may be -- were done in a timeless, rather than timestamped, manner. There was no reason for 1995. Everything would have worked without that date.
Profile Image for JenacideByBibliophile.
208 reviews126 followers
November 18, 2015
As a book reviewer, I have a list of books that have been sent to me by the author or a publishing house AS WELL AS a HUGE (and I mean ginormous people) stack of books that I have already purchased on my own or plan to. And We Stay was one of the books that I purchased on my own, and I wasn’t entirely sure I would enjoy it. I always read reviews before I purchase anything (which is probably what lead me to reviewing) and I was getting a lot of mixed feedback about this book. Some reviews praised the beautiful writing and poetry, while others expressed disappointment for a book that they couldn’t even finish. For someone who has a weird fascination with books on suicide, I decided to go ahead and buy this book. After FINISHING the book, I have concluded that I LIKE this book but I don’t love it.

This is probably the only book I won’t be giving an extended plot summary for, because frankly I feel that it is already very straightforward. I will be honest, I was expecting more out of this book, and it is probably only because it was given an award (OH, the irony). I have been having a hell of a time writing this review, typing and deleting. Typing and deleting. So I am just going to start with my favorite topic, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. *sigh*…I feel like a broken record for saying this in so many reviews, but it’s a big part of a book! I think that is the biggest aspect of this story that is lacking, the fact that I don’t emotionally feel for Emily’s tragedy and her sorrow. I can understand it and grasp the sadness, but I don’t feel anything for her. I read while she put her grief into her poems and saw how her memories made her feel, but even that doesn’t seem very realistic to me. The memories of Paul did not do his character justice either, that would have been a great time to show the reader exactly what kind of person he was. I felt like I got bits and pieces of him, but not enough to build my own idea of him.

I wanted to see the creative writing aspect in this story more as well. The poems were beautiful and haunting all in their own, but I think more description in the emotions Emily felt would have been positive. For example: how Paul killing himself could have made Emily feel as if her heart had exploded into so much tainted blood that it overflowed from inside her body and started bleeding from her eyes (over the top I know…but you get it). Where is the overwhelming description of her pain and guilt?! If I was Emily Beam and had experienced something so tragic at that age, I would have been a mess.

Trust me when I say that this really is NOT a bad book, it is a great YA story about a girl dealing with tragedy. The poems are placed throughout the book, but it isn’t necessary to the reader that they are read. The idea of working Emily Dickinson into the plot was clever and different, there was a definite tie between the late Emily Dickinson and the main character Emily Beam. I even found myself doing some research on Emily Dickinson after reading this story. The relationship between Paul and Emily proved to be an innocent first love turned into sorrow and rejection. Emily gives the reader memories of their time together as well as the day of Paul’s suicide. Reading as Emily felt forced to end her relationship with Paul and to say whatever was necessary to save herself, gave this character a complicated outlook. Not only was she guilty for possibly being the reason for Paul’s death, but also quite possible the cause. I can only imagine how it must feel to have that weight thrown onto your shoulders at such a young age. Overall, you should give And We Stay a chance if it sounds interesting to you. I think that anyone who appreciates a YA book about suicide, acceptance of past mistakes, and letting go of guilt can connect with it. Don’t let negative reviews sway your own opinion of it, after all, reviews are just personal opinions ;)
Profile Image for Tanja (Tanychy).
588 reviews249 followers
January 24, 2014
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

The first thing I learned about this book was it had some parts of it written in verse and as soon as I heard it also has some connections to Emily Dickinson and that it deals with emotional issues - basically it sounds like a perfect read for me. So I grabbed a chance to read it. Luckily I got approved for it, but sadly I expected too much.

Firstly, I must say that I really enjoy books written in verse so I hoped I'd enjoy this one for that but things weren't that great. Our main character here Emily (Beam, not Dickinson) is a girl that's been though huge trauma. Her boyfriend killed himself in front of her. Emily is angry at him and also feels guilty for that so her parents decide it's best for her to change the school. They send her to Amherst, a place where Emily Dickinson is from. Soon enough our Emily finds inspiration and tries to deal with guilt and her songs and writings help her deal with everything in her life.

The biggest problem for me in this book was point of view. I don't mind third person narrative in general but when a book is dealing with tough and emotional issues I don't think it's a right fit. For that reason it was hard for me to connect with Emily. I did understand her suffering and pain but sometimes it was hard to understand her actions and behavior.

Don't get me wrong the writing was beautiful and the words are crafted nicely and each was on the right place but it wasn't meant for this type of story. Sadly, it was the reason that kept me away from this book and that made me struggle with it.

***NOTE: Copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, Random House Children's, via NetGalley. Thank you!
I'm not paid for writing this review - I do it as a lover of written word. All opinions are personal.
Profile Image for Jen.
746 reviews7 followers
January 28, 2014
Emily Beam is attending a new boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, in order to recover from a horrifying event at her old school-- her ex-boyfriend brought a gun to school and shot himself in the school's library because Emily was breaking up with him. Emily is also a poet, and writes poems in order to help heal from her past and feels a connection to Emily Dickinson, a local celebrity of sorts.

This book just didn't do it for me. I kept feeling like the character Emily in the story-- in many ways, she's just going through the motions because she almost seems numb to her pain, but as a reader, the last thing I want to feel is numb to the story. As she goes through her time at the school, the events blur together-- the current events, some of Emily Dickinson's life and then to the past with Paul, her ex-boyfriend, and then a poem or two. The narrative felt so blurry, and without a strong connection to Emily, I just felt like I was floating along too. As a protagonist, Emily was just hard to appreciate and like; even with the poems, it was still hard to get a sense of her as a character, especially during the flashbacks with Paul. The author had to keep explaining how and why Emily and Paul liked each other, but I never really saw the connection or attraction.

I can see some readers getting a lot out of the book if they were possibly going through a cathartic, meditative period in their lives, but otherwise, this might be a slow read for many teens, and I probably wouldn't recommend it to many.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Trisha.
4,606 reviews159 followers
November 6, 2018
"He kissed her lifeline
and sealed his secrets there."

I thought this was a wonderful story - about the struggle to survive and the will to endure. I think the synopsis typically gives too much away so I just bought this one without reading it and I'm so glad I did. I let the story unfold without knowing the details and it was scary and real and so very sad.

I loved the interwoven story of Emily Dickinson and how poetry was a part of every chapter. I think it added a depth to the book that would have been missing without it. A deeply moving book.
Profile Image for Linda Lipko.
1,904 reviews42 followers
December 20, 2018
Well written, the author captured the angst of teen aged relationships and the drama, the mistakes, and the prices paid are all included in this story of 17 year old Emily Beam.

Emily developed a relationship with Paul, and all too quickly it became consuming. When Emily discovered she was pregnant and told Paul, she also noted that she was not going to keep the baby and was not going to stay in the relationship with Paul.

Unfortunately, Paul didn't handle it well and found a gun. He killed himself, but thankfully no others. Emily is left with the severe emotional pain not only of aborting a baby, but of all the repercussions that happened.

She is sent to a New England boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts. Home of the well-known poet Emily Dickinson, Emily Beam works through her grief by reading Dickinson's poems and writing some of her own poems.

The girls at this private school are like most teen aged girls, bitchy, nasty, back stabbing and distrustful. Emily has a lot to deal with.

The story might have fallen apart in the hands of a less skilled author. This Michael Printz award-winner is worthy of the honor.
Profile Image for Layla (Between the Lines).
604 reviews905 followers
January 6, 2019
“It does not have to define who Emily is, was, or will be.”

This is a difficult book to review because it is a difficult book to read. Although it doesn't get into graphic detail, I want to put a content warning for suicide, depression, and abortion.

Emily has just experienced a traumatic event, and she suddenly finds herself in an all-girls boarding school where she is forced to confront her feelings on her own. She uses poetry to find her solace, so there are verses throughout the book that are written by her. Overall it is a very quick read, a hard read, and it's probably not everyone's cup of tea. This is actually my second time reading it and I think I like it even less now. Read at your own discretion.

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Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,220 reviews1,650 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 16, 2014
Amount Read: roughly 30%

And We Stay isn't bad. I don't hate it and I debated with myself whether to actually DNF this one. The narration of the audiobook is good and I predict this would end up a 3 if I finished. At the same time, though, I have a lot of review books coming up, and not enough days on which to post them, and I'm under no obligation to review this. Plus, I really just do not care what happens to any of the characters. I don't hate them, but I'm not curious about them. They don't feel real to me and I'm not engaged.

The real kicker is "libary." Emily, the main character, refuses to say the word library because of the terrifying thing that happened to her in one. Fair enough. I'll accept this. What I will not accept is the third person narrator calling it a libary. In Emily's dialog, sure, but not in the narration. Nope nope nope. I cringed every time and it comes up a lot.
August 26, 2016
The cover is really good. But what I like most about this was the poetic writing style the book had going.All the while poems were intertwined with the story. It did get sad at times but also had moments when it was good. Like the growing friendship of Emily and her classmates. Reminded me a bit of another book, A Breath of Eyre, what with the literary theme. Quick but good read.
Profile Image for Kailyn Kausen.
65 reviews51 followers
August 5, 2017
First posted here: https://kailynkausen.wordpress.com/20...

Full review below:
2/5 stars

I recently attended a writer's conference down in Santa Barbara. One thing we did there was workshop and the workshop mindset seems to be, "What is vital here? What is absolutely essential to this story and what can be removed? What is the reader going to skip over?" When reading And We Stay, I held these questions in my mind. What was essential to this story? I guess parts of it were important - a story was told - but I didn't feel the story. Emotion was failed to be expressed successfully in this one. The part that was meant to hold the reader, the question of why Emily was sent to boarding school and later, what exactly happened with Paul in the library, is explained on the back of the book, in italics above. There isn't much left to the shadows.

That said, I didn't hate this book. The characters were fairly well defined, mainly K.T. She was spunky and had some great, funny lines. I've known girls like her. Emily was a decent character too. I wanted more from her though. Boyfriend. Poems. Depression. Unable to make phone calls, probably from anxiety caused by the depression. Who else is she? Who is Emily? Her notebook, of course, was a moleskin. Okay, Emily Beam - Who are you? I want you to have dropped this notebook in the toilet. I want this notebook made at home. I want this notebook to have been given to her by Paul - but it isn't a moleskin. Heck, it doesn't have lines, which frustrates Emily. The paper is crap. All her pens seep through to the other side so Emily either, can't read what she wrote on either side, or she uses double the amount of paper that she should. But this didn't happen. It was a classic moleskin, and yes, a lot of writers use the classic moleskin, but still. Some individuality to this girl, besides her being an exact replica of Emily Dickinson. In most cases, I'd probably be fine with the definition given to Emily Beam, but the problem with this book is that the book is mainly driven by the character and how she develops as a person rather than a plot driven by action, where the characters react to the situation. I mean, all characters develop throughout the story, but an action/plot driven story is more focused on that than the character, like a book such as And We Stay.

Now we have got to talk about Emily Dickinson and her involvement in this novel. First off, Emily Dickinson is the one author YOU DO NOT want to quote in your book. It. Is. Expensive. She is the most expensive person to quote. A professor of mine once said $300 PER LINE. This book had whole poems. Easily several thousand dollars went into purchasing Dickinson lines for this novel (Although I tried to look up the numbers and was unable, with a quick search, to get numbers here).

Then we have the whole, "My name is Emily and I love Emily Dickinson and my hair is the same color and I wasn't intentionally named after Emily Dickinson - oh wait guess what I am also the same height and weight as her and happened to get sent to boarding school right next to her house after my boyfriend did a bad thing." I'm sorry, I thought this was set in the real world, not an alternate dimension? Albiet, 1995. And then this girl thinks she has a chance at getting into Harvard??? Maybe back then. Maybe. But now? In 2017? With a B? Maybe because of what happened with her boyfriend. But if she doesn't have a family alum or hadn't invented the newest popular social media site by the time she was 15 - fat chance.

I have some more issues with this whole school thing. Mine basically told me I had to apply to the JC closest to us as a backup and I was like, "Yeah, no. If I can't get into one of the 6 UC's I applied to, there is a SERIOUS problem here because I am your best student. Also, why aren't you encouraging me to shoot for the stars???" They were always like, backup, backup, backup. They didn't encourage anything. "Oh you want to go straight into an AP? You don't think you should take the intro class first?" Anyways. I'm salty about my school system, probably always will be. But - Harvard. Okay, I see all these books where kids have B's, aren't anything special (oh, yes, but you are, reader, because your mom says so), and they think they have a reasonable chance to get into Harvard. It has a 5.4% acceptance rate (in 2016 - thanks Google). That's five out of every one hundred. So lets break this down. That's probably two smarties with parent alums, two kids for sports or band or whatever, then who do we think the other one is? Someone with a B? I seriously doubt it. This is the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs guy inventing stuff in his backyard. This is the kid who created a charity when they were 12 who we see on CNN Student News today. This is the kid who held a full time job, maintained straight A's, took online college classes, cared for his mom who should've been on hospice, and was president of ASB, Key Club, and the Recycling Club - all at the same time. I mean, I just pulled those numbers out of thin air, and it is probably not quite that hard to get in, but still. I went into my admissions process thinking I could get in anywhere. I would have to, right, considering I was the Valedictorian of my school and if I couldn't get into a school, nobody else could? Especially because my school didn't offer as many AP's, so I didn't have the ability to get as high of a GPA. Well, fat chance. I got waitlisted at Berkeley. Their acceptance rate was 17.5% in 2016 (thanks again, Google). So, anyways, the whole point of this rant was to show my frustration at these books that make it seem so easy to get into a school like Harvard. I believe this can cause high schoolers to not work as hard as they possible could because they believe it takes less to get into schools than it does.

Also, I wanted to know more about the parents of Emily. Sure, they weren't major players in the story, seeing as Emily is away at boarding school, but there are some things that happen to Emily (this is the one secret the book manages to keep until the halfway point, so I'm not going to spoil it here) and her parents don't really seem to mind. Are they the ones wanting her to go to Harvard? I think they'd get onto her more because of this thing. Why was Mrs. Beam so chill about the whole thing? Why did they think it was a good idea to separate themselves from their child who was obviously going through a rough patch?

Another character I want to know more about - Hannah. This is the person who got kicked out of Emily's boarding school, opening a spot in K.T.'s room, allowing Emily a spot to jump in on. Everyone had some beef with Hannah, and we get that she got around with all the boys in town, but there is so much beef hinting there is more we don't know.

I might certainly be playing into stereotypes with this one (sorry, not sorry), but I don't know many cheerleaders who are obsessed with reading or poetry or Emily Dickinson. Let me try to explain this better - the shy poet that Emily Beam is would not be one to try out for a team sport, much less one so involved and public as cheerleading. And maybe the Emily Beam we read about is not the same Emily who tried out for the cheerleading team, seeing as she went through a tragedy, but still, this didn't strike me as the most realistic character. I get that cheerleaders can be into poetry. That's not what I'm trying to say. I mean that someone so shy she can't talk on the phone, someone so shy she doesn't know how to ask for help, someone so shy that she doesn't know how to make friends anymore - that is not someone who would voluntarily sign up for a team sport, much less the possibly most public one: cheerleading.
Profile Image for Samantha (A History of Books).
160 reviews15 followers
August 10, 2016
Book: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Start Date: January 26th, 2014

Date Finished: January 28th, 2014

So I finally have an ARC review for you guys! Its not really advanced at this point because the book was published TODAY! I really wanted to get this book read and a review put up for the release date, and I made it in the nick of time with 15 minutes til midnight. I’d say thats cutting it close!

The book I’m review today is called And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard. This is her second book. She has another book out called Paper Covers Rock. I haven’t read that one, but after reading And We Stay, I am intrigued to read it now.

This story is a tragedy. Or rather a story of a girl learning to deal with a tragedy. Emily Beam is a straight A student with a relatively normal life. However, her life is changed forever when her boyfriend Paul kills himself in the school library in front of her. In order to deal with her tragedy, Emily goes to a boarding school where Emily Dickens once went to school. Emily herself is a poet as well and thus the book is told partially in poetry. From there, Emily begins her healing process with her two quirky friends.

Now, I can see that some people will be put off by the poetry aspect. I thought it was a really good insight to the book because it showed Emily’s feelings a bit better than the prose did. Authors are always being told to “show rather than tell” and I think that the poetry was Hubbard’s way of showing. Some people like to express themselves in poetry rather than speaking or writing prose. Poetry was Emily’s way of coping.

There are issues in this book that are tough, but they are still a part of everyday reality. In the news today, we see so many flashes of school shootings. Those reports will focus on the victims or the shooters. But what I think is important about this book, is that it gives light to the people that tragedies like these leave behind. Many people are left reeling with the consequences and emotions. And We Stay doesn’t promise anything of a complete happy ending in which Emily overcomes her grief entirely. I, personally, think this is a good thing. Tragedies like these take people years to get over and its not going to be resolved within 200 pages. I honestly thought that Emily handled her situation in a mature fashion considering what she was going through. One other thing that I was extremely happy with was the the fact that Emily didn’t overcome her grief by jumping into another relationship. That there was some guy who would make her problems all go away. No, I’m glad that this was a much more of a personal journey for Emily and that she decided to connect with two quirky girls from her dorm and Emily Dickinson.

Speaking of pages, I thought that the book was a little on the short side. I was hoping for a more finished ending. It seemed to have ended abruptly. But I think that this story was meant to be a short glimpse into a young girl’s struggle with her own tragedy. I don’t want people walking away from reading this review thinking that this story will be about a major character development with Emily riding off into the sunset towards her dream college.

I recommend this book if you’ve ever dealt with some sort of tragedy. Even though Emily dealt with something that was majorly traumatic that most of us can’t even comprehend, there are still some relate-able emotions for everyone.

Profile Image for Jenny / Wondrous Reads.
435 reviews76 followers
December 20, 2013
It's been quite a while since I read a book by a new-to-me author and immediately wanted to read everything they've written so far. I'm happy to say that this was the case with Jenny Hubbard's And We Stay and, upon finishing it, I quickly hotfooted it to Amazon to purchase a copy of her debut novel, Paper Covers Rock.

I fell in love with And We Stay from the very first page. Something about it spoke to me straight away, and I almost read the book in one single sitting. It's written beautifully, with care and understanding, and is part prose, part verse. I'm a sucker for verse and poetry being included in YA novels, so this book was basically perfect for me. The poetry is used in such a great way, and integrates a lot of history and facts about Emily Dickinson, one of America's great poets. Before reading this book I only knew of Emily Dickinson because she was mentioned in Season 1 of Buffy, but now I know a lot more about her and actually really like her work - I did some research, thanks to Jenny Hubbard and her obvious like of this lady!

The Emily in And We Stay is also a poet, using her words as an outlet to get through a tough time in her life. Her boyfriend killed himself in her old school library, and she's still reeling and picking up the pieces. Obviously an event like that affects everybody differently, but for Emily it's worse, because she knew him best and she knows what the reasons for his actions could be. There's a ton of guilt on her shoulders, not to mention sadness and grief. Changing schools and going to a boarding school is the best thing that could have happened to her, and her healing process is all documented in this book, through poetry and words and Emily Dickinson.

I took to Emily right away and found myself with an overwhelming feeling of empathy for her. I don't know why; I've thankfully never been in a situation like hers, but I can imagine it all too well. Her quiet personality and gentle thoughts made me love her, and I was honestly sad to say goodbye to her at the end of the book. She's such a strong character, dealing with everything going on in her life and still managing to write it all down. Some of the verse written by Emily is haunting and understated; a real highlight of the novel for me. I bookmarked several pieces and went back to read them over again. They're filled with emotion, standing out like a streetlight on a dark road.

I wish I could say more about this book, but to do that would be to spoil it for other readers who have no idea what's about to unfold on the pages of And We Stay. This is one of those books that utterly gripped me and got inside my head, and I'm so glad I was given the chance to read it. There honestly isn't one thing I disliked about it, not even the dark themes running through it that made it anything but a perfect Christmas read. Seriously though, if this is the kind of book that January has to offer, then 2014 looks set to be a very good year indeed.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
920 reviews40 followers
January 19, 2014
Original review can be found here/.

And We Stay is such an inspirational and heart-wrenching book. It inspired me to purchase a book of Emily Dickinson poems and it showed me that the heart can heal but it will never be whole again. I know I cannot do a review that would ever do this book justice but I'm going to try.

Jenny Hubbard's writing is touching and captivating. She has a way of making a fictional book seem extremely realistic.

Emily Beam is such an amazing girl. She went through so much in a matter of weeks and she was still able to keep herself at a functioning level. I am still trying to figure out if Emily was possessed or maybe a reincarnation of Emily Dickinson. That part wasn't explained nor did I see anything that had to do with a real ghost.

I am curious as to whether Emily would have kept the baby if it wasn't for her parents forcing her to do it.

Paul seemed like a very unique person. I would have loved to have gotten to know him before all the horrible things happened. I also think he would have been a good father despite everything. Not many teenage boys would stick by a girl after he got her pregnant. Emily was the one to leave, not Paul.

The girls school was a good place for Emily. I think starting over was the only way she was going to have some semblance of normal. K.T. was a strange but good friend. Emily wouldn't have gotten as far as she did without her.

The poems throughout the book were amazing and well written. The metaphors used were brilliant and well used.

I still have a few unanswered questions but the book left me very emotional and sensitive.

One quote I took away from this book is "Because God didn't write the Bible. Men did, probably uneducated ones." I love this statement. And We Stay will definitely be on my list of books to buy for my personal collection.

This isn't all I have to say and I know I will probably add more to this after I let the book sink in for a few days.

Overall, I gave the book stars.
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