Thursday, 15 September 2011

Review- Stay With Me by Paul Griffin

Stay With Me
Paul Griffin
Publication date: 8th September
My rating: 4 out of 5

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.

Stay with me is one of those thoroughly readable books that completely sucks you in with it's gritty urban setting, wonderfully lovable flawed characters and heartbreaking story.

Cece and Mack are 15 years old, she's smart, takes care of her alcoholic mother and worries about her older brother going off to war. Mack has had a troubled upbringing, despite being painfully shy he has huge anger management issues but is the kind of kid who you know has a good heart. Mack has amazing dog whisperer skills and rescues pit bulls who have been trained to fight but left to die when they loose. He cares for them, re trains them, calls them all Boo and finds new homes for them. Despite his initial inability to look anyone in the eye, Cece and Mack fall head over heels in love. He helps her overcome her fear of dogs and she helps him control his temper and open up a little until one day after the most horrific and heartbreaking provocation (as a dog lover I was horrified by what happened) Mack snaps and his violent actions change his life forever.

On one hand, I absolutely felt for Mack his upbringing was horrific, he had spent time in jail after being caught breaking into a house and stealing frozen pizzas after his dad left him starving and neglected. His anger issues are hardly surprising when you realise how he has been brought up and his crippling shyness made me feel even more sorry for him. Things are just starting to get a little bit better with Cece and her family in his life, and has also has a job with Cece and her mother at the restaurant which means he can give small amounts of his money away to those he considers more needy than him. Ultimately I knew Mack had a good heart however, the action he took in anger, although understandable, was wrong and he has to pay the price. There is no nicely wrapped up happy ever after in Stay With Me, it really is heartbreakingly sad however, we do get to see Mack deal with the consequences and the bittersweet ending for both Mack and Cece was much more realistic and fitting.

It's a difficult review to write as I don't want to give anything away, it really would spoil it. I had no idea the story was going to turn that way when I started reading it but I'm really glad I read it. Stay With Me is much much more than a YA romance, it's about family, surviving, second chances and that one moment or action that changes the direction of your life forever.


  1. I just saw this one last night at goodreads. Looking forward reading this one.

  2. I wasn't sure about reading this one, so I'm so glad you reviewed it!! Good to know it's better than it seems!

  3. oh, Ive not heard of this one before but I'm very intrigued by your review. I shall add to the wishlist!

  4. Thanks for this review, this sounds just like what I am loving at the moment + I love books which take a direction you never see coming!

  5. This book will kill you. So, so brilliant writing. Shocks you to the heart. Unforgettable characters so real it's like you could touch them. If you don't read this book, you will SO regret.

  6. 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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