Title:And We Stay
Author: Jenny Hubbard
Release Date: 01/28/2014
Reviewed by: Willa
Many of Emily’s secrets have come out, and she’s struggling to piece her life and her emotions together. I think that’s what is so beautiful about this book: you get to see Emily’s own personal therapy through her poems, which are so heart-wrenching and touching that you can’t help but fall in love with them. I want Emily Beam to be a real person so I can read all of the poems she writes and become a die-hard Emily Beam fanatic. As far as the actual storyline goes, it moves through Emily’s new life at ASG, the boarding school where she goes after Paul’s suicide. It chronicles her discovery of coffee, smoking, the powers of friendship, the importance of adults who understand in the moments when we don’t, and the beauties of poetry.
Pieced together by Emily’s verse and the third person prose, this story pulls you into Emily’s world of cold Massachusetts nights, and doesn’t let go. In many books, I’ve found, emotions after death can either be direct, or hidden. Emily’s were almost a combination of the two. By hiding facts of her relationship with Paul that were the most close to her heart, Emily struggles to come to terms and even try to understand his suicide. She’s plagued by the guilt and the confusion of his death, and this comes out through her poetry, along with the secrets she’s keeping from the reader about some of the events in their relationship. One of my favorite things about this book was that Emily didn’t have some huge epiphany about her feelings; instead it was gradual and natural. She questioned herself, her emotions, even what she knew about Paul, and all of that led her through her own personal therapy. And We Stay was more than I expected, in a beautiful way. It was poignant, thought-provoking, and utterly stunning. Emily Beam is a character I won’t be able to forget, and her story is one that will stay engraved in my memory for a long time.
I love dark books. I love books set in the winter time filled with secrets and characters who make you feel every emotion possible. And We Stay was one of those books. Set in Amherst, Massachusetts at the boarding school where Emily Dickinson went to school, you can imagine it would be at least somewhat dark, but when you throw in Emily Beam and her slew of secrets, it’s becomes a whole different kind of dark. It becomes eerie and touching and beautiful. Poetry speaks to me in a way that books sometimes don’t. Especially poetry like Emily Beam’s, where you’re left with this feeling in your heart that I don’t even know how to describe. Something along the lines of beauty, melancholy, and wonder all rolled into one. In summation: I’m in love with this book.