February 23, 2012

Review: Stay by Allie Larkin

Stay by Allie Larkin

Release Date: June 2010
Publisher: Penguin | Dutton Adult
Pages: 308 pages
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
Savannah "Van" Leone has been in love with Peter Clarke ever since she literally fell head over heels in front of him on the first day of college. Now, six years later, instead of standing across from him at the altar, Van's standing beside her best friend Janie as maid of honor, trying to mask her heartache and guilt as Janie marries the only man Van's ever loved.

After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool-Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin Tin Tin, and does what any heartbroken woman in her situation would do: She impulsively buys a German Shepherd over the Internet. The pocket-size puppy Van is expecting turns out to be a clumsy, hundred-pound beast who only responds to commands in Slovak, and Van is at the end of her rope... until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only living being who will always be loyal to her, no matter what.

Thoughts on Stay
I'm not going to lie, the cover totally made me pick up this book. I'm not even a huge dog lover, but I can't resist a German Shepherd puppy. The puppy, Joe, turned out to be such a lovable character that I was browsing the Internet for puppies as soon as I finished this book.

I really loved Stay. It's so much more than just chick lit or just a dog book. This is Larkin's debut, and I was so impressed. Her descriptions were spot-on and her characters were realistic. My favorite part? The humor! It was sarcastic and witty and made me laugh out loud.

I was barely into this book before I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go to bed without finishing it. I had to keep reading. I loved Savannah - she was real. I loved her strength in some moments and wanted to scream at her mistakes in others. She's still grappling with her mother's death, and she doesn't quite know how to handle her loneliness.

There were a few characters I wanted to slap, but that only made me love the book more. When you're reading a book, you've got to have a few people to hate. But there were also some people I really loved.  I won't say who - you'll have to read it to find out.

Stay examines friendship, family, loneliness and how to stand up for yourself and get the life you want. If you like books about messy relationships, hilarious dogs, or chick-lit that packs a punch, this is the book for you. I'm just hoping Larkin's next book is as fun as her first!

So Quotable
"I couldn't just decide I wanted a dog and order one off the Internet. It was crazy. Crazy! I tried to go back to watching Rin Tin Tin, but I couldn't stop staring at the picture of the puppy [...] I clicked on the link. The order form said that the cost for the dog was one hundred and forty thousand koruny, which, seven drinks in, I figured was like pesos or lira or something like that, where a thousand of them equaled a dollar. I thought about looking it up, but my vision was starting to blur, and I wanted a dog. Now. I didn't want to wait any longer than I had to. What if someone else was sitting around in their pajamas watching the Rin Tin Tin marathon, realizing they needed a dog too? What if, in the time I took to look up the conversion rate, someone else bought my puppy?"

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