Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stalkers Beware...

I've been meaning to write about Deb Caletti's Stay for several months. And the issue is becoming pressing, as my library copy is EXTREMELY overdue AGAIN. As in I checked it out, read it, loved it, meant to post on it, and then had return it and check it out again. True confessions time - together Elizabeth and I are singlehandedly funding a librarian position at the amazing Seattle Public Library due to our extraordinary ability to rack up overdue fines. At least it all goes to a good cause!

Stay. Guys, it was great. For two reasons:

1) It was set in the Pacific Northwest and it actually felt like it was set in the Northwest. I checked the cover flap and Deb Caletti apparently lives in Seattle. Well you can totally tell, as she gives such awesome local landmark namechecks. From El Corazon to the Deception Pass bridge, she does a wonderful job of weaving the setting into the book. And more than just name checks - she describes the varying parts of Washington state well and evocatively, from Seattle to the Skagit Valley to the Olympic Peninsula where Clara and her father retreat for a summer.

2) And while I put this second, it's actually my number one reason for loving this book. In
Stay, Deb Caletti destroys the extremely disturbing trend in YA fiction (represented most prominently by our most favorite of books, Twilight) of making stalkers seem like good boyfriend material. However, I am getting ahead of myself.

Stay operates on two timelines. In one our heroine, Clara, is spending the summer with her father on the Olympic Peninsula, away from their Seattle home. Her father, a well-known mystery writer, is using the time to finish his latest book, but they're primarily away because of the second, earlier storyline, in which Clara meets Christian. Christian who seems like the perfect boy when she meets him at a high school basketball game - good-looking, foreign, and, most of all, super into her.

Caletti does an excellent job of spinning out their story, told by Clara's future voice, so that you understand how she got caught up in the heady rush of their relationship. But as she details the pretty charming beginning, Clara also points out signs that she herself missed, signs that indicate that their relationship is headed for deeper water. I don't want to spoil how the story unfolds, but I will say as the narrative progresses it becomes truly creepy. And not in a paranormal sort of way, but in 'wow, that could happen to someone I know' sort of way.

Anyhow, I'd highly recommend
Stay for anyone who loves a good Northwest setting, found Edward to be a bit of a creepster in Twilight, and, most of all, for anyone who DIDN'T find Edward a creepster in Twilight.