Friday, 10 January 2014

Review: And We Stay

And We Stay

Publication Date:  January 28th 2014    
~A copy was provided by Random House Childrens/Delacorte Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review~

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.


I'll be the first to admit I don't get all poetry, I can get the feelings behind it, but don't ask me what they actually mean because I have no clue. I'm a lyrics person myself, and though you might say it's basically the same. It's not. Personally, I find poetry too restricting at times, I love reading it, but writing it is not for me.
And We Stay from the description is a little misleading but I really enjoyed it. Well, "enjoyed" isn't the word because it's depressing at points, but really beautiful. Emily Beam's story is not an easy one, it's not a comfortable one either. The last few months of Emily's life has been hell, and you see how it takes its toll on her, she doesn't know how to move away from it.  It's one thing to have your ex-boyfriend come into school and corner you in the library with a gun, but the aftermath isn't what Emily expected, she can't shake it off. But, that's not where Emily Beam's story begins or ends...

We're told through Emily Beams present day, what happened that led up to where she was now, to the broken but alive person she's become, the actions that led up to Pauls actions, because a person doesn't just decide one day to walk into school with a gun, there's has to be something behind that senseless  action, there's can't just be nothing, right?
Let me start off by saying that Paul was unhinged to begin with,  because what happened to him and Emily before he chose to do what he did is one that everybody goes through at some point in their lives, whether they're as young as them or older, though it did mean something more back then than it does now. You can't use that as an excuse to justify someone's actions, yes it piled it on top, and maybe things would've been a little different if they both would've handled things a little differently, but there was two people who had to make a decision, and Paul took it into his own hands.

Emily's life carried on because Paul's death was only the end of one part of her life, while a new one took place, and it's unguided territory and through poetry she's learning a different way of healing and living.  That's it's okay to hurt, it's what you do with it that matters.
What surprised me the most about And We Stay was the honesty and reality that was behind it, it's  not far-fetched, it's happened, and nor has it been sugar coated. What Paul did was an option, an easy way out. Emily didn't have an option, or a choice, until she chose to stay, to learn, to move on. Staying is a choice, and staying takes guts.

And We Stay was an intense emotional ride, full of raw honesty, ways of dealing, finding a way to move on and accept, and forgiveness.
Rating: 4/5