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Stay with Me by Paul Griffin

Stay with Me (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Paul Griffin

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1242197,109 (3.7)1
Title:Stay with Me
Authors:Paul Griffin
Info:Dial (2011), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Read (Young Adult)

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Stay With Me by Paul Griffin (2011)


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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you like happy endings with hearts and flowers…this is not a story like that. It had its fair share of hearts and Cece and Mack fall deeply in love, which was beautiful. They were both deeply scared individuals who had a rough life up to finding one another. To see so much hope, possibility and optimism about a future that seemed at best unsure before they met each other was joyful. But it’s amazing how fast things can change. A person’s whole life can hinge on a moment. This book illustrates the frailty of life and the pain of paying for wrong choices. In reality none of us gets any “do-overs”.

Mr. Griffin creates characters that you genuinely care about and want to see succeed. He also includes gritty reality and truth. You see the characters short-comings, their broken places and you celebrate their growth and mending too. Stay With Me gets 5 sloppy puppy dog kisses from me! ( )
  lisagibson | Nov 7, 2012 |
Boy, I haven’t read a tear jerker in a long time, but Stay With Me by Paul Griffin brought tears to my eyes. Mr. Griffin was nice enough to come to our library and give a writing workshop and now I’m sad that I missed the opportunity to see/hear him.

Cece and Mack are made for each other and they know it. They are truly in love, even if they’re only fifteen. Cece doesn’t care about Mack’s prison record. If her brother Tony says Mack’s OK, then he’s OK, because Tony is never wrong. He knows people. But sometimes being in love requires the utmost sacrifice.

Griffin has created a cast of characters that you love, warts and all. Vic ‘knows what he knows’ and is willing to give people chances, including Mack. Cece’s mother, Carmella, might drink a bit much, but she loves her kids ‘like a crazy person’. Cece’s brother Tony has a heart of gold. And Mack. Despite a hard life, he’s a good person and has a special way with dogs. He can train any dog, but has a soft spot for pit bulls (as does Griffin). This may be his undoing and his salvation.

I need to give you the first paragraph: “A Hundred and Two Days: That’s probably about average, but it didn’t seem close to that long, especially in the beginning, that first month or so. It was just getting to that sweet spot, where everything is perfect for a while. A short while. Before it starts to fade-little by little, usually. Not for them, though. For them, it was ripped away in the middle of an ordinary summer afternoon, in a little less than a minute and a half.”

Very powerful. Stay With Me is told by both Cece and Mack. They are strong characters. This is a strong story. Stay With Me is definitely one of my 10 best books of 2012. I’ll be reading more of Paul Griffin. ( )
  EdGoldberg | Aug 27, 2012 |
Fifteen-year-old opposite's Céce (pronounced Chee Chee) and Mack fall in love and their story is told here over 102 days. She's an A student; he's a high school dropout with a troubled past and a gift for training dogs. They bond over a rescued pitbull and are soon spending all their time together. Mack suffers from a learning disability and anger management issues and hears 'static' during these episodes. One day he makes a terrible mistake, and their lives are turned upside down.

Griffin has written a touching story about the gritty realities of life. What shines through is that the author has a deep understanding of and empathy for the type of teenager's depicted in this book. I really enjoyed this story. Recommended for older teens. ( )
  boppisces | Jul 24, 2012 |
Our library is lucky enough to have Paul Griffin conduct a writing workshop for us in July and we are so thrilled to be welcoming him back for another program. He is such a warm and engaging person and it comes through in the stories he tells. They are harsh realities of a grittier life than most, but tempered with memorable characters and sweet moments too. The dialogue is believable and you can tell Paul writes from the heart about what he knows. The time he has spent working with incarcerated youth (and dogs!) comes through in his authenticity and attention to detail. There are moments in Stay With Me where you are standing on a cliff with the characters hoping they don't make that jump and hoping they make the right choice, knowing that they won't. You want to take them under your wing and guide them, knowing that you can't. It's a frustration born of caring too much. His books make you care too much about the characters, which is a really great problem for an author to have. ( )
  SharonLong | May 30, 2012 |
Over a span of one hundred and two days, two fifteen year-olds fall in love as quickly as their relationship is destroyed by one rash decision.

Mack, a high school dropout with a rap sheet and an incredible way with dogs, finds and rehabilitates stray dogs, usually discarded fighting pit bulls. He calls them all Boo, and his gentle yet dominant manner and firmly believes that every dog can be helped.

Cece works way too hard at Vic's Too, a restaurant, as well as at school and studying for a gifted & talented test to help further her education. Her brother, Anthony, sets Mack and Cece up, and the two fall for each other hard and fast. Mack finds solace in spending time with Cece and his current Boo, a female pit he plans on giving to her, even after Anthony leaves for boot camp.

The quick romance is interrupted when Boo is poisoned by a neighbor. When Mack returns to his space (a small area above the elevator shaft where he and Boo spend most of their time, avoiding Mack's alcoholic father) and finds Boo dead, his rage is uncontrollable and he murders the neighbor with a six-pack of Sprite. Mack never denies his guilt and accepts his consequences with his jaw set firm, refusing to contact Cece, despite her many attempts to see him in prison. Despite Mack's continued refusal to see her, Cece doesn't give up on him, returning to the prison frequently in hopes he will speak to her, and she can return the words ​I love you​ to him.

Mack catches the eye of a kindly guard after he stands up for a fellow prisoner, and is offered a place in a new program. The program trains dogs to work with suffering veterans returning from Afghanistan. Mack is given a new Boo, and six weeks to train him. As he works with the new Boo, who refuses to pee anywhere but on top of the training room table, Cece learns that Anthony, though still in boot camp, has been in a terrible accident and is coming home with serious injuries and amputation.

Through a series of coincidences orchestrated by the kindly guard, Mack and Cece reunite one last time to officially end their relationship and provide closure, Boo is given to Anthony for his rehabilitation, and Mack becomes an official dog trainer for the prison's dog rehab program.

All of these emotional ups and downs, violent actions, and teenage decisions happen within one hundred and two days, which, despite dated chapter headings, seems like a short period of time. The novel, however, does not suffer here, rather, it is strengthened. Mack's strong belief in dogs' rehabilitative abilities shines as Mack enters the prison system, guilty of violently murdering another man, yet Cece remains steadfastly in love with him, assured he could never lose control of himself like that again. A wonderful novel, detracted only by sex scenes too graphic to recommend younger than eighth grade, and too cheerful of a cover.

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  kaledrina | Feb 18, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803734484, Hardcover)

An urban romance that will capture your soul, break your heart, and restore your faith in the human spirit

Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn't expect to fall in love. She's a sensitive A student; he's a high school dropout. But soon they're spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfect. Until. Until. Mack makes a horrible mistake, and in just a few minutes, the future they'd planned becomes impossible. In this stark new reality, both of them must find meaning and hope in the memories of what they had, to survive when the person they love can't stay.

From award-winning writer Paul Griffin, Stay with Me is both heartbreaking and uplifting, filled with characters (both dog and human) that will forever change the way you look at the world.

"From its opening paragraph, this wonderful novel for young adults promises searing honesty and gut-wrenching heartache - and rarely has a book delivered with such desperate and terrible beauty upon its promise. A truly remarkable piece of writing that stays with the reader long after the last page has been turned." - Dani Colvin, The Sunday Tazmanian

"A memorable tearjerker written with rare grace." - Cameron Woodhead, The Saturday Age

"A beautifully written, emotional roller coaster of a love story that I could not put down." - Chris Lloyd, ReadPlus

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Fifteen-year-olds Mack, a high school drop-out but a genius with dogs, and Cece, who hopes to use her intelligence to avoid a life like her mother's, meet and fall in love at the restaurant where they both work, but when Mack lands in prison he pushes Cece away and only a one-eared pit-bull can keep them together.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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