Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Stay by Allie Larkin

By Allie Larkin
Publication date: June 2010

My review:

Savannah "Van" Leone  has just stood up as Maid of Honor and watched her best friend marry the guy Van secretly loves. After an emotional encounter with the groom, Van goes home to a night of too much alcohol and watching Rin Tin Tin. The next day she realizes that while drunk she bought a German Shepherd puppy from Slovakia. Not only does her credit card take a major hit but Van doesn't know the first thing about taking care of a dog! Thankfully she finds help in the form of cute vet Alex.  Just when it looks like Van's life is finally settling down, the newlyweds return to town and Van is forced to confront what she wants out of life.

Van has been through a lot of painful things in her life. Her dad was not part of the picture when she was growing up. She had her mom Natalie who sounds like a truly amazing Lorelai Gilmore kind of mother. She also had the friendship of her mom's employer Diane and Diane's daughter Janie. Even though Janie and Diane are incredibly wealthy compared to the Leones, they still formed strong bonds. Unfortunately these bonds were tested over time first with Janie falling in love with the same boy Van liked and then finally breaking after Natalie's death from cancer when Van was in college. Van has understandably not been able to get over these blows. She is expected to be front and center during the wedding so she has to hide her feelings. Her relationship with Peter is reminiscent of the movie My Best Friend's Wedding in many ways though Peter is not as upstanding as Dermott Mulroney's character, Michael.

Van's relationship with Alex is much more electric and it is clear from the moment that she meets him that she will be able to get over Peter. There are obstacles to be overcome but it is obvious that the two are meant to be together. I enjoyed seeing their relationship develop and the many humorous encounters. Any relationship that starts because of a dog is bound to have a major cute factor. Joe is an adorable dog though he isn't as destructive as I pictured a German Shepherd puppy to be. Van also adapts to dog ownership pretty quickly. One of my favorite "Joe moments" in the book is when she goes to pick him up at the airport expecting a little puppy and her reaction to finding Joe waiting for her.

Stay is a cute if predictable book that somehow manages to pull on the heartstrings anyway. What makes it work is the humor and the unexpected emotional depth. I liked the exploration of friendships and family dynamics. None of the characters are perfect and that gives the story a slightly realistic touch. This would make a great movie and is a good pick for when you are in the mood for a light, humorous book. I would suggest this to fans of Claire Cook.

Readalikes: Must Love Dogs by Claire Cook, Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook, Hope in a Jar by Beth Harbison, In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner, The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer, The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen


  1. Nothing wrong with predictable as long as the read is fun and this looks like an easy cute read. Great review.

  2. I loved this one, the humour cracked me up.


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