Book: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publish Date: January 28th, 2014
Start Date: January 26th, 2014
Date Finished: January 28th, 2014
Senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then takes his own life. Soon after, angry and guilt-ridden Emily is sent to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where two quirky fellow students and the spirit of Emily Dickinson offer helping hands. But it is up to Emily Beam to heal her own damaged self, to find the good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.
*I recieved an ARC of this in exchange for an honest review. This did not sway my opinion in any form!
So I finally have an ARC review for you guys! Its not really advanced at this point because the book was published TODAY! I really wanted to get this book read and a review put up for the release date, and I made it in the nick of time with 15 minutes til midnight. I’d say thats cutting it close!
The book I’m review today is called And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard. This is her second book. She has another book out called Paper Covers Rock. I haven’t read that one, but after reading And We Stay, I am intrigued to read it now.
This story is a tragedy. Or rather a story of a girl learning to deal with a tragedy. Emily Beam is a straight A student with a relatively normal life. However, her life is changed forever when her boyfriend Paul kills himself in the school library in front of her. In order to deal with her tragedy, Emily goes to a boarding school where Emily Dickens once went to school. Emily herself is a poet as well and thus the book is told partially in poetry. From there, Emily begins her healing process with her two quirky friends.
Now, I can see that some people will be put off by the poetry aspect. I thought it was a really good insight to the book because it showed Emily’s feelings a bit better than the prose did. Authors are always being told to “show rather than tell” and I think that the poetry was Hubbard’s way of showing. Some people like to express themselves in poetry rather than speaking or writing prose. Poetry was Emily’s way of coping.
There are issues in this book that are tough, but they are still a part of everyday reality. In the news today, we see so many flashes of school shootings. Those reports will focus on the victims or the shooters. But what I think is important about this book, is that it gives light to the people that tragedies like these leave behind. Many people are left reeling with the consequences and emotions. And We Stay doesn’t promise anything of a complete happy ending in which Emily overcomes her grief entirely. I, personally, think this is a good thing. Tragedies like these take people years to get over and its not going to be resolved within 200 pages. I honestly thought that Emily handled her situation in a mature fashion considering what she was going through. One other thing that I was extremely happy with was the the fact that Emily didn’t overcome her grief by jumping into another relationship. That there was some guy who would make her problems all go away. No, I’m glad that this was a much more of a personal journey for Emily and that she decided to connect with two quirky girls from her dorm and Emily Dickinson.
Speaking of pages, I thought that the book was a little on the short side. I was hoping for a more finished ending. It seemed to have ended abruptly. But I think that this story was meant to be a short glimpse into a young girl’s struggle with her own tragedy. I don’t want people walking away from reading this review thinking that this story will be about a major character development with Emily riding off into the sunset towards her dream college.
I recommend this book if you’ve ever dealt with some sort of tragedy. Even though Emily dealt with something that was majorly traumatic that most of us can’t even comprehend, there are still some relate-able emotions for everyone. This book reminds me a lot of The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan. They had a lot of the same elements of a tragedy in the winter time, a boarding school, and a teenager having to deal with that tragedy. The Tragedy Paper is more of a love story than And We Stay, but I recommend both!