[eARC Review] And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Title: And We Stay
Author: Jenny Hubbard
Genre: YA Contemporary, Social Issues
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: eARC received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review

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When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

When I read the synopsis of this book I knew I wanted to read it. The idea of the ghost of Emily Dickinson helping a young girl with the tragic death of her boyfriend. But I have to say that this book was not what I expected.

What I think my issue with this book was the way it was written. There was prose, that was told in a 3rd person omniscient, which is really not my favourite point of view, and then there were poems written in between chapters. The poems began to explain what happened to her and her boyfriend and what lead to his eventual suicide. I honestly think that I would have liked this book more if the entire book was written in poems because, since Emily Dickinson was a large part of Emily's life at the boarding school, it fits. And to be honest I think I got more out of the poetry than I did the prose.

What I did like about this book was the subject matter. Teen suicide is something that is getting more and more attention in YA and I think that is a good thing. But in this story it seemed a little far fetched. But I still think the subject matter was needed, I just think that the manner in which it was delivered needed to be changed.

Although the subject matter was what I liked most in this book, I still found myself extremely disappointed in the overall book. I wanted more chemistry between characters, and more backstory so that I would feel more for Emily and what she went through, because when I finished the book I felt no closer to her then when I started the book.

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