Stay With Me by Elissa Patrick

patrickDisillusioned with the world of music and movies, Hailey has decided to give it all up and try to achieve a “normal” life.    She leaves the glamour and glitz of her high profile life to enter college in Burlington, Vermont.   Hailey initially had no plans but to settle into college life and find herself; she finds Caleb instead.

Stay With Me
by Elyssa Patrick
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
August 2013

Hailey doesn’t plan to get involved with Caleb, she really doesn’t.  However, it seems that all her best intentions go out the window every time he’s near her.   And even though she tries to avoid him, he seems to appear EVERYWHERE.

As Hailey and Caleb grow closer, she worries more and more about him learning a major secret that she plans to keep hidden forever.  As much as they come to care for one another, she is sure that if he learned of her dark secret he’d walk away.

Sadly, that plot tension sounds much more interesting than it turned out to be.   I kept waiting for a large climactic moment with the building tension of Hailey’s secret, issues with her mother, and the seemingly perfect family to which Caleb belongs.   It never really materialized.

The start of a new series by Elyssa Patrick came off as contrived and stale to me.  It’s fine that the story wasn’t overly original.  Let’s face it, with so many books on the market, it’s tough to create something entirely new.  The issue is that the characters and the story never really developed for me.   Caleb learns her secret, and he doesn’t seem all that concerned.   Patrick continually alludes to Hailey’s relationship with her mother, and the two never enter a scene together.   I kept waiting for the tension to break with a huge reveal, and that never happened.

It also doesn’t help that this was billed as a Young Adult novel when I received the email to review it.  That was on my mind until I started the review, and I was continually shocked at the scenes written.   They are sexually explicit, and I kept wondering how this would have been able to make it to a YA rating and what parent of a pre- or early teen child would let his or her daughter read it.  The book is actually part of a fairly new genre known as New Adult.   The main characters are normally aged 18-25 (although Hailey is 17 when the novel starts) and the content is directed towards readers aged 18 to 30.

In the end, this one is not on the list to be read again.  Additionally, I am not confident that I’d be very interested in reading other books that will come in this series.

Robin Gwaro is the Young Adult and Women’s Literature Editor at Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost. where she writes about whatever comes her way.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.