Author: Jenny Hubbard
Rating: ★★ / ★
Synopsis: Sent to an Amherst, Massachusetts, boarding school after her ex-boyfriend shoots himself, seventeen-year-old Emily expresses herself through poetry as she relives their relationship, copes with her guilt, and begins to heal.
Huge thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this advanced reader copy. Saying thank you with an honest review
River’s Review (2 Stars)
Well… this book was not what I was expecting it to be. I can’t really say much without going into spoilers, but there was a topic that I LOVE to read about and a topic that I HATE reading about. So there was that. I was REALLY into the story until the reason for Paul’s suicide was reveled then I was just… ugh. Why did it have to go there? And the way of it all… not cool and I’m not even totally sure I understand the mechanics of it all… like, just… how?
I did enjoy the writing a lot. I loved the imagery and some of the lines were brilliant. The poems were really well done, but I got a bit sick of them towards the end and started skipping them. I felt a little bad about that, but I really just wanted to get on with the story.
For a book dealing with the aftermath of a school-gun-assault-suicide-something else I was really surprised that there wasn’t a bit more… emotion in Emily’s voice. She just seemed to detached and emotionless. Maybe it was the way she dealt with everything, but I really would have liked a lot more emotion.
Wow, this review is really hard to write. I just… wanted more and less at the same time.
Sam’s Review (1 Star)
The topic of suicide is never an easy one to approach. It’s definitely a topic that has to have a lot of care and thought put into it — to give people a reason to react. While I feel like And We Stay does the former correctly in terms of creating a thoughtful story, it’s one that couldn’t be more devoid emotional impact.
Considering the topic, I expected an emotional read out of And We Stay. What I ended up with was a dull read with awkward transitioning between instances of Emily’s brother being alive and dead. A lot of the writing just failed to get me to care about a lot of what happened to the characters in this story because they were written without personality. I found myself often forgetting names, though oddly never forgetting what each character was a victim of. Every character, particularly Emily, comes across so detached and yet I found myself unable to care about her detachments, which made me pretty damn sad considering the way the story is built, you feel like you SHOULD care and DON’T.
I’m also all for poetry, but this book got too excessive with it and to the point where I found myself skipping them. I thought they were great until they started to get gimmicky. These were the only instances of Emily’s real emotions (or emotion even in the story as a whole), but to me that’s not a way to pull at my heart-strings, but in fact, do the opposite — make me feel like I wasted my time.
There’s just nothing that makes And We Stay a book to invest in. There’s no emotion, the writing is bland and uninspired, the poetry is all right but gets to be too much as the story goes on… I just can’t recommend this book. If you want to read a better book that deals with the topic of suicide, check out Me Since You by Laura Weiss. That’s a book that does so much right on the topic and makes you feel like what you’re reading actually matters.