Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Stay With Me

Author: Paul Griffin
Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: Text Publishing
Add it: Goodreads
An urban romance that will capture your soul, break your heart, and restore your faith in the human spirit

Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn't expect to fall in love. She's a sensitive A student; he's a high school dropout. But soon they're spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfect. Until. Until. Mack makes a horrible mistake, and in just a few minutes, the future they'd planned becomes impossible. In this stark new reality, both of them must find meaning and hope in the memories of what they had, to survive when the person they love can't stay.

From award-winning writer Paul Griffin, Stay with Me is both heartbreaking and uplifting, filled with characters (both dog and human) that will forever change the way you look at the world.

I went into this book expecting a romance akin to Alex and Brittany in Perfect Chemistry. Good girl/bad boy, starcrossed lovers, etc. I was wrong. While I love that book, Stay With Me completely blew me away. It surprised me in this most moving way possible. It is a story of first loves and growing up, dealing with the consequences of your actions and finding redemption in even your darkest moments. It's honestly one of the most touching novels I've read in a long time.

Mack broke my heart. His confidence has been beaten down so damn much. He's lived a hard life and it's rare that this kid has ever caught a break, even believed in himself or had reason to truly be happy. But he has an amazing heart. He might not be able to spell a word correctly or know where exactly Boston is, but if he was down to his last penny, he'd give it to you if you needed it. He has an incredible bond with dogs. No matter how broken a dog is, Mack Morse can fix him. And gosh, I adored Céce. She's funny and strong and loyal and insecure, but not in a annoying way - it's so sweet and she's such a  relatable character.

Paul Griffin is a stunning writer. His prose, storytelling and ability to dig deep into the heart of a character is incredible. Céce and Mack are two of the most dynamic protagonists I've read. On paper, they couldn't be more different. But when Céce's brother, Anthony, pushes these two teens together, a beautiful seed of love is planted and it grows into something so breathtaking and pure. And we're swept up in this sweet romance between two unlikely teenagers. Until... everything changes. Mack does something terrible and what follows is a heartbreaking story of redemption. Céce and Mack shared something special and rare before a darkness came and ripped it apart. But there is always  hope, always forgiveness. Things will never be the same as they once were, but life goes on and you have to learn to make the best of what's left behind in the wreckage.

I was sobbing like crazy when I finished reading this and it's still playing on my mind days after. It's tragic and uplifting and so remarkably genuine. These characters touched me in a way I wasn't prepared for. I laughed out loud at some of the interactions between characters or else their quirks, like Céce's endearing belief in her ESP They are so lovable and honest and flawed - every single one wormed their way into my heart. Mack and Céce the most, but the secondary ones just as much. From Carmella and her holiday themed cornbread that nobody actually likes, Tony's ever insistent belief in the human spirit, Vic's 'all-knowing' and Boo. Oh god. Boo. I want that creampuff of a dog.

Stay With Me is raw, it's beautiful, it's gritty. It's not a fairytale, it's a honest depiction of something that could easily happen in life and Paul Griffin has captured it's essence with true heart. These are the kind of books that set a whole new bar for contemporary fiction. It will move you and force you to see the world in a whole new light. People do bad things, but does it always mean they're bad people?

Please do not let this one pass you by, you'd truly be missing out on a rare gem of a book!

5/5 Golden Apples!

You can also check out Lisa's amazing review at Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me. When she told me she pretty much bawled her eyes out over this, I knew I had to read it!


  1. Oh my god Brodie! You've done it again, I NEED this book like now. Wow. It sounds SO AMAZING. And SO my type of book! I'm curious to see if I'd cry. Cause I never do lol!!! Anywho, amazing review Brodie... If I was the author I'd hug you... I'll still hug if you want haha.. :)

  2. With a review like this, how could I pass on this book? It sounds beyond amazing and I definitely look forward to picking up a copy in the near future.

  3. Ah! Fab review, as always! This is such a magnificent book that everyone needs to read <3

  4. This sounds EXACTLY like my kind of book! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy :-)

    So...I'll need a box of Kleenex. Right? "I was sobbing like crazy when I finished reading this and it's still playing on my mind days after." -- I'm going to be an emotional mess!

  5. I've read a lot of good reviews for this book. Might check it out. Great review.

  6. Wow this sounds awesome. When a story actually has you sobbing then it must be good, and I love a good cry. Fantastic review!

  7. I'm glad it's not like the Perfect Chemistry books, because I didn't really like them--they felt very stereotypical, which annoyed me. It seems like there's a lot of books like Perfect Chemistry out there, and I thought Stay With Me would be one of them, so I'm glad to hear that it's not. I will definitely be adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for the review!

  8. This sounds like a special story, one thing that scares me is the crying part..

  9. Hi Brodie! I'm (sort of) back! :) I'm glad that you liked this one. I'm starting to love contemps! And I trust your book taste - I'll try this! Great enthusiastic review!

  10. If I were to describe this book with a few pop songs, it would be For The First Time by The Script meets Lose My Mind by The Wanted meets I Never Told You by Colbie Calliat meets You and I by Secondhand Serenade.

    Amazing book.


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