Stay -- Deb Caletti
You read all kinds of books and see all kinds of movies about the man who is obsessed and devoted, whose focus is a single solid beam, same as the lighthouse and that intense, too. It is Heathcliff with Catherine. It is a vampire with a passionate love stronger than death. We crave that kind of focus from someone else. We'd give anything to be that "loved." But that focus is not some soul-deep pinnacle of perfect devotion—it's only darkness and the tormented ghosts of darkness. It's strange, isn't it, to see a person's gaping emotional wounds, their gnawing needs, as our romance?
Seventeen-year-old Clara should be spending her summer with her best friend and prepping for college. Instead, she and her crime writer father tell everyone they know that they're headed to Europe, and instead, are spending the summer at the beach.
Clara and her father are close, but they aren't there because they want to spend one last summer together before she leaves the next. No, they're there because of Clara's old boyfriend.
I won't get into the reasons—the flap copy totally gives it all away, and the excerpt I posted above pretty much does, too, but the story spins out much more slowly than that*—but neither of them feels at all safe at home, and spending a few months away seems prudent.
Like many of Deb Caletti's recent heroines, Clara is bright and very, very mature for her age—at times, she sounds a good twenty years older than she actually is—but, as usual, the storyline, romance and characters are all engrossing enough that I easily gave her** a pass. Her relationship with her father is good—things aren't remotely smarmypants-perfect between them, but there's never any doubt that they always have each other's back—and while the romance made me stretch my Disbelief Suspension muscle (Finn is the most well-adjusted, likable, issue-free, protective-without-being-overbearing, AWESOME family-having, open and honest EXACTLY WHO SHE NEEDS guy that you could imagine)—it's a purely comfortable, enjoyable read.
It'd be good paired with Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride: two stories about girls rediscovering themselves in a small, quirky beach town.
Additionally, it might provide some decent Thought Food for Edward Cullen fans...
*Possibly too slowly. At about the hundred page mark, I, at any rate, was ready to shake Clara while yelling, "ENOUGH WITH THE FORESHADOWING. JUST SPIT IT OUT ALREADY!!" But then I got over myself and ended up really liking it.
**She also is prone to footnotes. A quirk that I, of course, approve of.
Book source: ILLed through my library.