I’ll Stay by Karen Day

My review

The story goes thus: during college break 4 friends take a trip to Florida for partying, where they behave stupidly and two of them Clare and Lee end up in a dangerous situation leading to the entry unsavory characters, and Lee offers herself allowing Clare to escape. Clare manages to get help and somehow rescue Lee, but something happens to her that day. The whole book then follows the life of Clare with Lee and other friends in bits and pieces.

First book by author Karen Day and probably my last book, unless there is improvement in the future books. I skim read the entire book in one hour. The story in the blurb is the only good part. They form the barebones which could have been built up into so much more. The author did try to create an air of mystery, but it became an air of boredom.

That event in Florida is the backdrop on which the story is built upon. But neither the event nor the after-effects of the incident are dealt with properly or sensitively. The book goes into routine life of Clare — where is the story in that, I wonder?? The book is written in 3 timelines — why is it needed, I wonder?

None of the characters show any growth.. They only keep on wondering amongst themselves as to what happened with Lee that night in Florida. Is the mystery supposed to be generated from that??

Clare, as the caretaker, does not come across as helpful or caring. The parts which I managed to read had her either crying or avoiding Lee due to her guilt. The rest of the time, she was comparing herself to a fictional character of her mother’s book.

The author to her credit tried to make the book suspenseful—

What happened to Lee at Florida? (I came to know the secret in the last 8%of the book, I skim read the novel for the ending)

Who wrote Clare’s mother’s book really? (there was actually a secret in that, but dealt quite poorly)

Who is the Phoebe character? (that turned out to be a no-brainer, she was a character in the book)

What genre is this book?? Family saga?? Suspense?? Contemporary?? Thriller?? Women’s fiction??

It doesn’t fit any category. I have no idea why I finished this book!! Ah yes… I wanted to know what happened to Lee and I did not want a DNF in the beginning of a new year.

What a pity! This book could have been written so well, with strong characters, stronger friendship and a suspense which should have been exhilarating.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Kensington Books and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating : 2 stars

About the Author

Karen Day is the author of three middle-grade novels: Tall Tales, No Cream Puffs, and A Million Miles from Boston. I’ll Stay is her first adult novel. In addition to teaching at the Cape Cod Writing Center conference, she also teaches at Boston’s Grub Street, various SCBWI events, and workshops across metro Boston

Book blurb

During her senior year of college, Clare Michaels takes a spring break trip to Florida with three other girls, including her best friend, Lee. A string of bad choices leads to a horrific encounter, and Lee offers herself up so that Clare can escape.

In the weeks and months that follow that fateful incident, Lee, once so dynamic and ambitious, flounders and withdraws. Clare was the only person to whom she’d ever confided about her troubled past. For Clare, that role felt like an honor—until it became a burden.

Years pass, circumstances change, and contact between Clare and Lee ebbs and flows, but the events of that night in Florida are impossible to escape. They keep dragging Clare back—forcing her to confront what really happened, and her part in it, in hopes of untangling guilt from loyalty and earning forgiveness at last . . .

Product Details

Publication date : 30th January, 2018

Publisher : Kensington Books

Language : English

Available on Amazon

What did I read & why

37 thoughts on “I’ll Stay by Karen Day

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