Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay
By Jenny Hubbard
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Source: Publisher
Summary: 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.

Review: I've been wanting to read this book for while now, but I knew that I had to be in a serious mood to read it. Based on the summary, it seemed like this one would have a lot to do with dealing with suicide and handling the grief and guilt that follows. 

The last thing Emily expects is for her boyfriend to come into the school library with a loaded gun and ultimately kill himself. Ridden with grief and guilt, Emily leaves for Boston and is sent to an all girls boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts. There, Emily discovers the legacy of Emily Dickinson, who had attended the school many years ago. Emily soon discovers her own love for poetry, and how much easier it is to express her emotions through written words than to other people. Using her poetry to deal with her past, Emily attempts to accept life and move on. 

It's no surprise that my favorite part of this book was how inspired it was by Emily Dickinson. I loved how Emily was so infatuated with Emily Dickinson, and shared so much about the poet's life and how it connected to her own life. Then, the poems that Emily shared were so beautiful. I don't know how Jenny Hubbard did it, but boy can she write a good poem. I loved how the poems weren't too overwhelming and captured exactly what Emily was going through or thinking about at the time. 

Like a lot of serious books, there wasn't a whole lot of action going on, just a lot of thinking. I guess that's necessary, though, with how much Emily has to think about what she went through in the last year with her boyfriend's suicide and their relationship. So while some parts were slow, I think that the emotion and relationships Emily forms at school make up for it. Also, I'm not quite sure why this one takes place in 1995, but it works either way. 

In the end, any poetry/literature fan will love the poetry Emily writes and all of the references to Emily Dickinson. If you're in the mood for a serious, yet beautiful book, then you should pick up a copy of And We Stay.


  1. Ahh this seems like a book I would love and the cover is beautiful!
    Great review.

  2. Wow, this is so interesting! I haven't heard much about this book before, but it sounds beautiful. I love poetry! :) Great review!

  3. I love Emily Dickinson too so I'll definitely have to put this on my "must read" list. The cover is gorgeous too. Thanks for sharing.

    Peace & Love
    Crystal @ YA Society

  4. I had no idea that this takes place in the 90's!! I kind of love that. Maybe the author didn't want cell phones to be a big part of the book (because in 95 the only person that had a cell phone was Zack Morris from Saved By the Bell). I love boarding school and issues books, so this one is definitely a must-read for me :)

  5. I recommend this book for readers who enjoy a thoughtful, well-written story built on a firm, worthwhile foundation. And if you don't like poetry, that's okay. You may find you have a little more appreciation for it after you finish the book.

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