Rochester

Stay by Allie Larkin

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Hey all. OK so Steph from StephTheBookworm and I are lucky enough to live in the same city, and recently Steph asked via Facebook if any of her friends were interested in forming a book club with her. Since I’ve never been in a real life book club before, I signed up pronto. Our first meeting is at the end of this month, and the book we all chose was Stay by local author Allie Larkin.

Stay is about Savannah “Van” Leone, who just watched her two best friends Peter and Janie get married. The problem is that Van’s been in love with Peter since they first met about 6 years ago. After the newlyweds take off for their honeymoon, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool-Aid & vodka and watched reruns of Rin Tin Tin, and accidentally (drunkenly) orders a German Shepherd puppy online. Though he’s bigger than she was counting on, she names him Joe and starts to get over her heartbreak.

Joe is an adorable puppy, and my favorite parts of the book were about him. He only responds to commands in Slovak, he’s big and goofy, and he’s instantly fills the role of girl’s best friend.

Van on the other hand… she’s not my favorite character. At first, I really liked her. I sympathized with her and her night of getting smashed on Kool-Aid vodka was kind of hilarious. But throughout the book it became obvious that she kind of causes her own problems, and I didn’t see any character growth from her during the book. And here’s why she didn’t grow as a character… (highlight to read the spoilers)

Everything is handed to her on a silver platter. Van causes her own problems by constantly getting drunk and lying when she should just be honest. She “loves” Peter even though he has no real redeemable qualities and in fact acts like an ass pretty much the whole time. And any problem that Van has to face is instantly solved for her… she gets $175,000 to leave Peter alone, which she should have been doing anyways. She accidentally buys a $6000 dog, and has to move out of her condo because of it, but all of that is no problem since she has this huge check. A too-perfect vet named Alex falls for her, and hooks her up with a house at half the market price (only $40,000) and even though she lies to Alex, he of course decides to forgive her without any explanation for her behavior. She gets to stay friends with Peter (not realistic at all), she makes up with Janie, and even makes up with Janie’s mother, who she’s had issues with ever since childhood. All of this seemed WAY too easy and honestly, since Van didn’t really have to work for any of it, I don’t think deserved such a happy ending.

Anyways, I would have been happier if the book focused more on her relationship with Joe and dealing with his crazy puppy antics. Van and her personal life were just a little too frustrating for my taste.

I did overall like the book. I enjoyed the references to Rochester, my home town (YAY Wegmans!). And the book was a really quick read. I’ll gladly try out the next book that Larkin publishes, because I really did enjoy her writing. And the characters she creates were really memorable. There’s a secondary character named Louis that just cracked me up. If you’re a fan of chick-lit (I’m thinking along the lines of the Shopaholic series), then you’ll probably enjoy this. If you’re considering this because you’re a dog-lover or pet-owner, you might want to take a pass.

Sarah Says:Β 2.5 stars

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