When her half sister commits suicide, sixteenyearold Leila Abranel has only one question: why? That question sets Leila on a journey toward discovery, uncertainty, and love Rich with an intricate and mesmerizing family history, Stay with Me is a story of an unforgettable girl coming of age in the midst of grief, mystery, and, ultimately, awakening

10 thoughts on “Stay With Me

  1. Gaby Gaby says:

    I didn't like this book at all. I think the blurb was misleading; it made the book seem really interesting, but within the first few pages, I was bored to death. I finished the book, thinking maybe it would get better, but it didn't. Since the book talked a lot about family history and stuff like that, it didn't keep me very interested in it. There isn't much to say about this lackluster book. It wasn't that good in my opinion, I just didn't like it.

  2. Samantha Samantha says:

    Stay With Me, by Garret Freymann-Weyr was a very enjoyable book. It wasn't just a sappy teen story but had depth and mystery as well. The story focuses on a girl named Leila Abranel who experienced a tragedy: the death of her step sister. Although she didn't really know her step sister that well, the death still hit pretty hard and the whole family was affected because of also the death of the sisters mother earlier that year. The book follows Leila's life after these tragedies and shows how she copes with the loss, one example being a slightly sexual relationship with a man two times her age. Altogether, after reading this book, i was satisfied with the development of the story line and felt like this was definitely a good read (no pun intended). I also really enjoyed the authors writing style because the writing made it seem like the author was talking right to you and also, the way the book was written made it a somewhat of an easy read. I also really liked the character of Leila Abranel because i felt like she was a very complex character whose story/ purpose came full circle by the end of the book. Overall, i would highly recommend this book to anyone because of its interesting content and great writing style

  3. Wisteriouswoman Wisteriouswoman says:

    The book was so different from the normal teen romance novel that deals with hot football players and bitchy prom queens and abused geeks that I continued to pick it up again after setting it aside. It definitely isn't the right book for chick-lit set.

    It thoughtfully moseys along weaving together a story that includes unusual family relationships and wisdom that is passed down from one generation to another. The basic message of 'trust yourself to know what you should do when the time comes' isn't necessarily good advice to give a naive teenager who can't even tell her left from her right, actually and figuratively. On the other hand the story explores relationships, love and sex in such a thoughtful way that many innocent teens will take away more knowledge about how to make their own decisions when the time comes.

    The book brings up the concept that love shouldn't be limited by age differences. The question is, does it seem more unacceptable if you are 17 and the other person is 31 rather than one person being in their thirties and the other person in their forties? Having sex with an experienced man is likely to be more pleasurable than having a relationship with an adolescent boy. I appreciated the author's honesty about Leila's feeling that sex was better by herself than when she was having it with her teen friend. That is closer to the truth than many authors are willing to admit. Teens are often fooled by overly romanticized views of a girl's first roll in the hay.

    Freymann-Weyr also explores the idea that you can ruin a friendship when you have sex with someone but it doesn't emphasis what an embittering experience it can be. We never understand what is going on in her teen friend Ben's head and Leila doesn't really seem to care enough to find out. He is made out to be a villain when he spreads rumors about Leila. It doesn't really let you know how emotionally painful the end of a friendship or sexual relationship might be. This is where the fragility of Leila's innocence may make adult readers want to warn her but fool teen readers into thinking too little of the emotional consequences of getting involved with someone.

    What I enjoyed most about the book was the description of Leila's continual struggle with dyslexia. Having a reading disability myself enabled me to appreciate what was going on in Leila's head. I haven't read too many other books that explain how a person can get confused even though they are smart in other ways.

    The book was reminiscent of an English novel. If the author hadn't made a point of saying it was in New York I wouldn't have known especially with her use of words like exam and ruin. The character names were not very American and I hate it when an author chooses to tell you that the main character's name is pronounce in a weird way. The writing style and subject would make this a good book-group novel for adults as well as teens.

  4. Beth Beth says:

    There is so much to love about this book: the cake metaphors, the interesting characters, the sad but hopeful mood. Leila’s favorite stepsister, struggling with bouts of depression her entire life, has finally made a successful suicide attempt, and 16-year old Leila is certain there has to be a reason for what her much older sister has done. Months later when her physician parents leave for Poland, Leila opts to stay with her remaining stepsister, the coolly elegant Clare, who assists with Leila’s attempt to decipher the mystery that was Rebecca’s life.

    Leila begins to track down Rebecca’s favorite haunts, positive there are clues in the people she knew and the places she went. When she gets a job in the café where she last saw her sister, it’s not so much that she wants the job, but wants to be there when the man she saw her sister with walks in, to interrogate him. Only, she meets another interesting man there – 31-year old Eamon, who makes her senses hum as he gently flirts with her. Until he realizes she is way too young for him. And then, she decides she isn’t.

    Leila’s complexity is what makes this book real: her attunement to her body, her dyslexia, her relationship with the “boyfriend she was mean to,” her interest in theatre and set design, the ghost of 9/11 hovering in the NYC setting. This is a superior coming of age story about life lessons and figuring out what great love is. “I think of the things I’ve learned by accident--” says Leila, “when to accept jewelry and what to order--and know I’m glad to be learning how to negotiate the where, the when, and the importance of sex.” Supporting characters are as interestingly drawn.

    In spite of all the wonderful thing about Stay With Me, it’s going to be a book that puts censors on high alert: an adult develops a physical relationship with a seventeen year old that toes the edge. It’s tasteful, mature, carefully considered, and mirrors the real experience of some teens, but it will raise hackles. The book, which builds developmental assets though modeling planning & decision making, time spent constructively, and supportive family environments, should be able to stand on the unquestionably high quality of the writing.

  5. Paige Paige says:

    Stay With Me is a highly satisfying read. Primarily it is about how Leila reacts to her older sister, Rebecca's suicide. Leila wants to know more about why her sister took her own life as well as wanting to know more about what she was like when she was still alive. She goes on quite a few adventures to research anything she believes will tell her more about Rebecca. During this time there a few different people who take Leila under their wing. One is her other older sister who she slowly grows closer to. There is one unexpected person who Leila connects to, but the two of them have a very complicated relationship. In fact, there are many times as a reader you want to yell at the characters and tell them they are making a mistake.

    This brings up an important topic from the book. Leila talks many times about how a person sees what they want to be true, rather than the truth itself. This reoccurs in the book a few times as Leila over study pieces of Rebecca’s life. This results in her finding blame or cause for Rebecca’s suicide in places where there is none to be found. Now, in my own life I notice situations where I think in this way. I feel that itself means the book has really affected me.

    Don't think this book is a discouraging read even if there is a focus on suicide because the story line is very complex, with many different sub stories after this principal one. I found the multiple plots kept the book appealing as well as fast paced. This also allows the book to reach a diversity of readers as there are parts that make it feel like a romance, drama, tragedy and mystery. Freymann- Weyr also seems to have done some great research before writing the novel. Leila is dyslexic, and the book captures many of the struggles and frustrations she has in school very well. Unlike other books it also displays the effects this has on her job, interests, and family life. I am dyslexic and I was able to easily connect to Leila, but all teenagers can relate to wanting to do better and being embarrassed by their mistakes.

    Stay With Me is the ideal book to discuss as you read, you are bound to connect to many of the characters and develop strong feelings about their lives. The story will stay with you well after the read. It is well worth picking up.

  6. Raven Raven says:

    Leila Abranel is the youngest in her family. Her father is in his seventies and her mother is a little younger than him, while her two half-sisters, Clare and Rebecca, are in their thirties.

    Leila is a dyslexic teenager who is forced by her parents to act older and more mature. The only person her age she hangs out with, is her boyfriend Ben, who is becoming less of a boyfriend and more of a mistake.

    When Rebecca kills herself, Leila, who has a hard time figuring out the meaning of words in books because of her dyslexia, is having an even harder time trying to figure out why her sister killed herself without saying goodbye to her.

    As Leila tries to unravel the mystery, her family starts to fall apart. Her parents become even more distant, and Clare, the sister she thought didn't love her, becomes her best friend. But even in death, Rebecca still haunts Leila's life. Soon, Leila becomes obsessed with finding out her sister's secrets and that's how she meets Eamon.

    The two flirt from time to time, but when things in Leila's life start getting more confusing, the two find themselves gravitating towards each other. And once they kiss, they know that they can not stay away from each other.

    Eamon is 31 and Leila is 16.

    A lot of people cringe when they see couples who share a significant age difference, but as I was reading this, I wanted Eamon and Leila to stay together. I just felt like these two characters belonged together and after a while, I forgot that Eamon was 15 years older than Leila. I liked their conversations. The way they looked at life.

    I finished this book in two nights, because I simply could not put it down. The words that the author used fit together perfectly, and some of the things that Leila said hit me. It's a powerful read and I highly recommend it.

  7. Jessica Jessica says:

    This was a book that touched me deeply having been affected by a friend's attempted suicide. In someways the topic was more taboo than if she had gone through with it simply because it felt like everyone wanted to attach blame -- yet absolving her of any guilt -- and then forget that it had ever happened.
    I don't condone all of the plot or character's choices or even the outlook of some of the characters but the shattering loss and coping mechanisms of each character were familiar and painful.
    I read it to understand another person's viewpoint of such a topic, and Liela's character with her slightly removed innocence proved to be a very heartfelt account.
    I know that someone who contemplates suicide rarely would read a book about such a topic but I think that such a person should take the responsibility to see what affect their selfish actions could cause. In this way I would recommend this book to anyone who feels helpless and depressed as well as to anyone who has been affected by such a loss so they too might know they are not alone.
    We are not pages that can be cut out from a book but more of a thread in a tapestry. If ripped out we leave gaping holes, snags, and tears; leaving those around us weaker and wanting. Each person who knew them -- in passing or in deepest confidence -- would, if warned scream out those three simple words: Stay With Me.

  8. Lisa Lisa says:

    Once I started reading, I couldn't put this book down. It is a beautiful and compelling portrayal of a teenager trying to navigate her way through the new now after one of her much-older sisters commits suicide. Protagonist Leila is interesting and likable, and there's a good cast of well-fleshed-out supporting characters. It's a wonderful story of love and loss and family and learning to trust yourself.

    There is sex, but it's not graphic, and the focus is on the emotional aspects rather than the physical. There is also a romantic relationship between a 17-year-old and a 31-year-old, but it was so well done that I didn't actually disapprove (this is definitely something that I would almost certainly disapprove of in real life!). But perhaps it's not the best book to recommend to younger teens. Then again, Leila's process for making decisions, whether sexual or otherwise, is so wonderfully healthy that perhaps this is the perfect book for younger teens! She has some wonderful adults in her life, she goes to them for advice when she isn't sure what to do or how to do something, and they help her figure out her own mind.

    (Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Houghton Mifflin!)

  9. Miss Kitty Miss Kitty says:

    Whoa, this was way better than I thought it would be. I read After the Moment and while I thought it was well-written, with intriguing characters, and involved a serious subject (like an Afterschool Special but actually good), I thought it kind of dragged and didn't keep my interest. I had to make myself finish it. I would say that the pacing of this novel is similar. I can call After the Moment snoresworthy but I'll be nice about Stay With Me and say it's deliberate or careful. Freymann-Weyr deserves super brownie points for taking a potentially really nasty subplot of our 17 year old heroine falling for and having sex with a man who's 31. Honest, it didn't make me queasy at all because F-W is such a kick-ass writer who very carefully describes their meeting, subsequent twitterpation (to use a word from Bambi), angst over their age difference, and resignation that sometimes a good thing is too wonderful to pass up. Yay F-W! I'm going to the library tomorrow to get all her other stuff.

  10. Aubrey Aubrey says:

    I liked the writing itself, the way Leila's dyslexia translated into a metaphor for the difficulty in understanding relationships and people around one - especially in adolescence.

    I wasn't particularly a fan of Leila or her sister Clare. I was curious to know more about Rebecca, but it felt like the author gave up on that mystery towards the end of the book - as Leila fell more in love with her 31-year old boyfriend. (I also wasn't so much of a fan of the 17 year old/ 31 year old relationship. It feels like too much of a gap in life experience, as well as maturity.)

    It was an interesting read, but not one I'd go back to.