Stay with Me

Garret Freymann-Weyr, Author . Houghton $16 (308p) ISBN 978-0-618-60571-2

After Leila's much older half-sister commits suicide, her parents go to Poland to recover, leaving Leila in the care of her more distant half-sister, Clare. Leila decides she wants "to uncover Rebecca's hidden story," and find out why she ended her life. There are rich details throughout Freymann-Weyr's (My Heartbeat ) complex novel. For example, Leila is dyslexic and often has trouble reading both books and situations; she gets involved in the high school drama department's tech crew because "plays have a structure built into them that helps me keep events and characters straight." But as she tells her story, it ends up being about her new relationship with Clare, falling in love with a much older man, and learning that, in life, there is "no narrative waiting to be put into its proper sequence." Readers may not buy some of Leila's more youthful phrases (she explains to her boyfriend that when she first met him, "I was all, wow "), and her relationship, at 17, with a 31-year-old television writer, which includes sex, may trouble some. In the end, though, small moments will stay with readers, such as Leila bringing Clare tea when she hears her crying in the bathroom. The vivid characters in Leila's extended family are all realistically flawed but tender with each other, as they learn that while they are "never to be the same... it's enough that we're each still here." Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/10/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Paperback - 308 pages - 978-0-618-88404-9
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-547-97508-5
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