And We Stay, by Jenny Hubbard
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
Publication: January 28, 2014, by Delacorte Press
Format: Hardcover Edition (borrowed)
Goodreads Summary: 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.
"This is where her story
begins and ends. This is where
her story ends and begins.
In her story, the telling
is not linear. The telling
is a circle, the shape of earth."
Poetry is rarely incorporated with a book, but when it is, it's truly something worth reading for. I, in fact, adore poetry. Some people believe that the message is unclear, or it's confusing, but I see the meaning like it's crystal clear. Having the author get the protagonist of this book, Emily, to have a love for poetry is beautiful. For Emily, poetry was her only way to escape the world, to escape the troubles that she went through not too long ago. This is a stunningly written book, and poetry is just one part of it, truly.
This is written in a third-person narrative, which usually confuses me. Coming from this story, I was okay because the story was very powerful and imperfect, which in Emily's case, is capable of handling. Emily is sent to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, after the wakening of the tragedy that she went through not too long ago--Emily got pregnant with her boyfriend, Paul. She breaks up with him and two days later, Paul pulls up a gun at Emily, and takes his own life. Emily was left damaged, and her parents believed that boarding school will keep her away from the memories that broke her, and the ones that saved her.
If I were you, I'd seriously take a note to self to keep in mind: this is a very depressing read.
This is not a bright, cheerful read. I got really sad after finishing this book. It's a story that you really need to think deeply about and to understand it, you'll need to read between the lines. Powerful stories like this are always amazing and are the hardest ones to rave and talk about because the message is so glorious and moving.
So yes, the concept of this book was beautiful. It had a mix of everything: romance, boarding-school, suicide, depression, poetry, and death. Jenny Hubbard has just done it right. I recommend this book to lovers of contemporary books and ones who are ready to get out of their comfort zone. Also, if you've read Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, go for this one. It's a little more milder, but totally great.
The only thing that upset me with this book was the fact that it didn't really go anywhere. We can tell that there's a strong idea and message being pushed out into the reader, but I didn't see the book being moving. The message was, but the plot wasn't. There weren't any plot twists or moment when we just wanted to scream at the author for making something horrible happen. It was very slow and the book was just showing Emily's recovery. It was fast-paced (especially since the book is fairly short) but I wanted events.
Like I said above, I love the fact that this deals with poetry. Emily has really inspired me to read more poetry, and especially from Emily Dickinson.
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." -Emily Dickinson
Yeah, that really describes Emily's poetry. Emily was such a bold, special, amazing protagonist. I felt so much sympathy for her because of everything what happened; she was a gorgeous person with an unique personality and didn't deserve everything. And after everything what had happened, she was still broken inside and out.
But my favourite character of them all was K.A. This girl was unbelievable. She was so kick-ass and daring. She truly was Emily's best friend by the end, and that meant a lot to me because we rarely see book friendships. :)
This book was fabulous, special. It's one that you'll never hear about ever. It's something unique and amazing. I recommend it 100%, despite the disadvantage.