By: Melanie | January 23, 2014 | (25) Comments

Review: And We Stay be Jenny HubbardAnd We Stay by Jenny Hubbard
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Verse, YA
Pages: 240
Source: Received in exchange for review
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When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life.

In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

My Review

This is how they will go.
This is how she will go: on.
The light almost speaking,
and March halfway gone,
the green fields beyond,
and the staying.

Jenny Hubbard is a fantastic writer. I’ll give her that. She can form sentences out of nowhere and still make it sound poetic and beautiful and grand. The poems that are inserted here and there are just another example of her talent. I really wanted to love And We Stay because of that. The prose and verse–I don’t think I’ve read something as magnificent.

Unfortunately, And We Stay, no matter the brilliant writing, I could not like. Here is a list of reasons why.

– NΓΊmero uno: the point of view and tense just did not click with the novel. It is written in third person, present. I’ve never been a fan of third person narration, it is difficult to make me connect to the characters and nearly always is the author going to be telling and not showing. And We Stay is not an exception. This book was predominantly weighed down because of the narration (even though the prose was achingly gorgeous). The tense made this book feel off. I’m not utterly sure how to describe what I mean, but it just did not sit well with And We Stay. Perhaps it would have been better with past tense? Just a suggestion.

– I couldn’t care less about any of the characters. This pretty much links up with my previous point. Due to the narration, I was completely detached from the characters. We don’t really get to go inside the main character’s head much, either. I do like the Emily Beam’s story line, but it’s awful hard to feel for her and comprehend her emotions if they are barely shown. Moreover, I wanted to know more about Paul–the ex-boyfriend. I think I was meant to feel sorry for him, but if you ask me to give my opinion on him, I could not say anything good or bad. He was just there. A bland character.

– The pacing felt slow. And We Stay is a relatively short novel. 240 pages. Yet I still felt myself wanting to rush through it because it was like everything in slow motion. I get that this book is a novel about recovery and moving on. I get that it takes a long time. I think I just wanted something else to go on along–a sub-plot. Anything to make me feel more attentive.

I know I am the black sheep here, and I tried so hard to enjoy this. I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of poetry (or Emily Dickinson).

~Thank you Delacorte Press for sending me this copy!~

2 Stars
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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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25 Responses to Review: And We Stay be Jenny Hubbard

  1. If I don’t care about the characters, I cannot like the books. It’s that simple. Too bad about this one, it sounded good.
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Guest Post: The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe (Blog Tour & Giveaway)My Profile

  2. Great review Mel, sounds like the characters and story were sacrificed for the poetic writing. Thanks for your honest review hun!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Shadow Kiss: The Graphic Novel Review – See VA come to lifeMy Profile

  3. I’m not really a fan of poetry….but I DO love third-person-present. I think I requested this (oops, mental blank), but I (obviously) haven’t got it yet. If I don’t get it, maybe just as well! XD I really hate not connecting with the characters though. Gosh. It feels like such a waste of time to read a book you don’t like, eh?
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…I don’t have a skull, discussions, and great Disney hairMy Profile

  4. Hm. I read poetry for poetry and prose for prose, and mixing the two doesn’t sound too appealing. Besides, I doubt third person present tense would work for me either, it’s just not a narrative mode that works in YA. And how odd that it was slow, when it’s only 240 pages long.
    Ah, well. Can’t win them all.
    Lovely review!
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Review: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1)My Profile

  5. Rashika says:

    I am definitely a fan of Emily Dickinson which is probably why I wouldn’t touch this book with a ten-foot pole. It just seems so unrealistic that Emily Dickinson’s ghost is helping this person out. I have to agree though, beautiful prose doesn’t always a good book make. I am really sorry you didn’t enjoy this more. πŸ™

    Great review, Mel!! πŸ™‚
    Rashika recently posted…Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra HarveyMy Profile

  6. Shamara says:

    I’ve never read a book in verse. I love the concept but I don’t think that it would be something I would enjoy

  7. I have this coming up for review and now I think I might give this one a skip. I hate 3rd person POV, but 3rd person present tense POV? That would be weird. And that’s such a shame you couldn’t connect with any of the characters.
    Great review, Mel.
    Nick @ Nick’s Book Blog recently posted…Review : Kiss the Sky by Becca & Krista RitchieMy Profile

  8. The prose sounds lovely it is such a shame that the third person, present narrative made the tale awkward at best.
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Uninvited by Sophie JordanMy Profile

  9. I just saw a fairly positive review for this one so I’m sorry that this one wasn’t for you, although I can definitely see why. That type of narration sounds really hard to read through. I already have a hard time getting through third tense at times so the fact that the pacing and narration took away from the book makes me think I may have to skip this one after all. Fantastic review, Mel! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Into the Still Blue by Veronica RossiMy Profile

  10. Rachel says:

    Beautiful prose is lovely, but a book needs characters you are invested in to truly enjoy. Sorry this didn’t work for you, Melanie. Great honest review. πŸ™‚
    Rachel recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #24: What I Thought Was True by Huntley FitzpatrickMy Profile

  11. Candace says:

    That stinks that this one wasn’t better. I don’t think I’ve read anything by her. Third person present POV can work for me, but it depends I guess. It’s not a preferred style though.
    Candace recently posted…Adult Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn BennettMy Profile

  12. Melliane says:

    you’re right the third person can be tricky sometimes… I’m sorry it wasn’t for you, but it’s really difficult when you can connect with the characters… it’s the same for me.
    Melliane recently posted…Bitten by Treachery by Shawntelle MadisonMy Profile

  13. Tanja says:

    My review for this one is scheduled and it was so hard to write it, because I thought I’d be the only one having these issues with this book. But good thing is that I’m not. The point of view really didn’t fit the whole story and not to mention the characters. Not something I enjoyed. Great review, Mel πŸ˜‰
    Tanja recently posted…Blog tour: Escape from Eden by Elisa NaderMy Profile

  14. I hear ya, I am not the biggest fan of poetry and prose in books. It just feels overly ambitious sometimes. I was curious about this, but I don’t think it is right for me.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review: Into the Still Blue(Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica RossiMy Profile

  15. This does seem to have a weird point of view…I think first person would have worked better, so you could really get to know Emily. I’m sorry this didn’t work for you! I’m still curious, but it sounds like a library read.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Behind the Cover with Jennifer QuintenzMy Profile

  16. Even without this negative review, I don’t think that I would pick this up because it’s written in verse and I don’t have patience for that type of writing…no matter how beautiful. Hahahaha.

    I am really sorry though that the beautiful prose wasn’t able to rescue this book from becoming a total flop. I really don’t have issues about third person POVs but I understand that I am only one of the few who isn’t bothered by it. And yikes, I also hate walking books, Mel. I can completely relate with what you went through while reading this book.

    I hope your next read will be better.
    Charlotte @ Thoughts and Pens recently posted…My Blogging FearsMy Profile

  17. Emily Mead says:

    From the blurb, this sounds like a really interesting book (I’ve heard the name before but have never really looked for what it’s about). Third person present annoys me too, most of the time. Maybe a book to borrow from the library rather than buy πŸ™‚
    Emily Mead recently posted…Book Review: Allegiant (should be renamed ILLOGICAL)My Profile

  18. Damn, this book sounded good. I’m not too big of a fan of poetry, so I’m not sure how much of the prose I would have liked. The bland characters are definitely a turn off though!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1) by Ransom RiggsMy Profile

  19. Stephanie B says:

    Ah, that’s too bad you didn’t like it! I haven’t been all that interested in this one but the story sounds interesting itself. But it’s written in verse? Maybe I’ll check it out at the library. Great review!
    Stephanie B recently posted…Friday Couple: Pip and RosieMy Profile

  20. Giselle says:

    I already read your review on GR but I thought I’d come give me some comment lovin here too. Very disappointed with this one I expected it to be something very different and not so… emily dickinson-ish. But the 3rd person present tense was my biggest issue with this one!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Red Rising by Pierce BrownMy Profile

  21. Siiri says:

    My friend Tanja reviewed this yesterday on her blog and she basically said the same. She said that she didn’t form connections and that the third person POV really didn’t let her connect to anything and I do agree with you guys even though I haven’t even read the book. I think 3rd person POV suits more to dystopians and fantasy–like Under the Never Sky which I’m currently re-reading. She didn’t say anything about pacing, but I’m more of an action-packed-plot girl, or if it’s a contemporary than I need the pacing to just be good and not slow. I get bored easily. Oh, and even though I’m not a fan of poems (weird, because Slammed and Point of Retreat which have some very meaningful (non-verse) poems are some of my favorite books), this sounds gorgeous. I’m so glad that you included it in your review–I feel like I might even want to try this someday, which is still highly unlikely, but I love the poem nevertheless.
    Siiri recently posted…Excerpt and Giveaway: Kiss the Sky by Krista and Becca RitchieMy Profile

  22. Lily B says:

    Bah second bad review on this one I read in the past two days, makes me sad, was really looking forward to it.
    Lily B recently posted…Review: Ruined (The Eternal Balance #1) by Jus AccardoMy Profile

  23. I started this one but put it aside to return to later as the story wasn’t doing it for me at the time. It looks like I won’t be returning to it, though, as the issues you brought up are ones I’d have a hard time getting past. Thanks for such a helpful review, Melanie! πŸ™‚
    Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings recently posted…Novella Review: Neverfall by Brodi Ashton (Salute Your Shorts, #5)My Profile

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