Title: And We Stay
Author: Jenny Hubbard
Genre: Young-Adult, Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Page Count: 240
Publication: January 28th, 2014
“Senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then takes his own life. Soon after, angry and guilt-ridden Emily is sent to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where two quirky fellow students and the spirit of Emily Dickinson offer helping hands. But it is up to Emily Beam to heal her own damaged self, to find the good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.”
I actually didn’t seem to expect much of this novel — the synopsis sounded decent so I thought why not. Oh, and the cover was pretty nice as well. However I think at the time I read the synopsis I may have misunderstood it because when I was reading I found myself asking in my head, “why am I reading this?“
Okay so this novel was really not that bad, but it wasn’t too great either. Like I said before, I think I misunderstood the synopsis or something because when I was reading I kept asking myself why I would read this novel. Or why this novel is what it is. I guess you could say I had some other expectations about it? I don’t know. However, it wasn’t entirely horrible, I can tell you that.
Firstly the perspective the whole novel was told in was seriously the most irritating aspect of the entire book. I usually am not picky about this stuff, but if a novel is supposed to be about a person’s personal experiences and such, I think it should be told in their perspective. Instead, the novel was told in third person and I really didn’t understand why. My connection with the main character wasn’t very strong and I wish I could have had one with Emily. She was fairly unique in her own way — she wrote interesting poetry & had a strange addiction to Emily Dickinson. So I think I would enjoy her character a lot more if the perspective were different.
Another thing about the writing was that it was very poetic. Alongside the occasional actual pages of poetry, the writing was…uh. I don’t even know how to explain it. But there were times where I would literally skip a few paragraphs because I felt simply distant. Some people may enjoy the writing and it could resonate with them, but for me I felt drained at times. However, the poems itself did add to the novel instead of taking interest away. I usually don’t read a ton of novels with poetry, but for this one I will say some of the poems were great — it was original & the emotion was definitely there.
As for Emily herself her thoughts were REALLY deep/thoughtful and I enjoyed gradually getting to know how she felt and how she dealt with what she went through. Her situation was prettttyyy “unique” — “unique” as in surprising and a little weird. But I liked reading about other characters and how they impacted her at ASG. I really enjoyed K.T.; she is probably my favorite character because of her personality. But besides those two characters, the rest weren’t too important to me.
Also, this may just be a personal issue but in the novel there was occasional dialogue that was said in FRENCH. Like, come on, I don’t speak French! Yes, there were some where the author translated it, but most she did not. So I was utterly confused in times like those. Again, some people may understand the text, some may not (like me).
I hope it seems like I am not completely bashing on this novel because the novel as a whole was unique & a quick read. Character development, dialogue, conflict..it was all there. However, like I said, the format in which the novel was written was unlikable and for me that’s a huge part of a novel that I have to enjoy.
So what’s my rating?
I gave Jenny Hubbard’s, And We Stay, a…
3 out of 5 stars
Let me know down below your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this novel!
Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…