Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 240
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: January 28, 2014
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Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

The synopsis of this book really stuck out to me. I was interested to see how Emily handled the aftermath of her boyfriend's death, and how she herself manages being in a new school. She really gets to become a new person and keep her past hidden so that she can start a new life.  At this new school, Emily begins to come into contact with a ghostly presence, that of Emily Dickinson, and she begins to learn about herself through Emily's poems.

I did enjoy the history of Emily Dickinson in this book, and how Emily saw her life in those poems and it helped her grow and try to understand what happened. Emily Beam begins writing her own poems to help let y her anger out, and these poems are interspersed throughout the story so that readers actually get a look into how Emily is feeling.

The most difficult part of getting through this book was that it is told in a third person perspective and you don't really get the full picture of Emily's thoughts and feelings. If the story had been told from Emily's perspective there would have been a better connection with the main character. Another small issue with this book was that it focused more on Emily Dickinson's life and her poems rather than Emily Beam and her guilt of the tragedy. Through her poems, readers do slowly learn what happened before the death and what was the possible cause of the tragedy.

The story was very poetic at times, and I enjoyed Jenny's writing style, I just felt that the story needed a bit more to it. I was hoping to get to know Emily Beam better and really understand her thoughts as she made new friends. I really wanted to like this story but there were just a few things that didn't work for me and made it difficult to connect with the story. 

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