Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.


Stay - Allie Larkin Most of the books I pick up are things that look interesting at the library or a friend recommends. I'm never one to read bestseller lists or New York Times reviews, but I started hearing some pre-release buzz about Allie Larkin's Stay, and added it to my Amazon wishlist to track it. When I realized she was from the same city I am and an alum of my college, it bumped up to a must-read, and I ordered it right after it was released.::: The Plot :::Savanannah Leone has lost everything. Her father took off when she was a toddler. Her mother died of breast cancer right before Van graduated from college. And now her best friend from back home in Westchester has married the guy Van was in love with through four years of college and beyond. Life sucks.Then right after the wedding, Savannah gets drunk and orders a dog online from a Web site in Slovakia. This far-fetched Internet purchase leads Van to a whole new group of people, and a realization that what she wanted may not be what she needs.::: Just a Brilliant Debut :::I'll be honest; I wanted to hate this book. I really did. The author is younger than me. She's published. And the book has so much great buzz you hope that it's another Twilight, a book that's okay, but just not as great as the hype. I'm happily disappointed to tell you that Stay is even better than the buzz.So many stories that involve the best friend being left behind when the guy marries a girl who's prettier or more accomplished fall into the realm of cliche, but Stay surpasses it. Larkin has made Savannah a sympathetic character that the reader will be rooting for. The sections about Van's mother are enough to get you teary without being maudlin, and there were actually times I found myself shouting at the characters, something I rarely do with a book. The funny sections will make you laugh without veering into the dreaded "zany" territory, and the characters have enough dimension to keep you turning pages well after bedtime.If I had a single complaint, it's that the beginning of the novel was a little bit of a struggle for me. While I loved the Rochester references (I often found myself trying to guess what parts of the city the characters lived in and looking up names of places to see what might be imagined versus real) right away, the beginning had me a bit worried that Stay was going to be too formulaic, bringing to mind movies like My Best Friend's Wedding and Must Love Dogs. Instead, Larkin has done what every writer dreams of doing successfully: teaching an old dog a new trick, and she does it brilliantly. Stay is a must-read.This review was originally published on Epinions:

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