An unforgettable novel about the power of friendship and kindness by the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward.
In the summer of 1969, fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter carries a huge weight on his shoulders. His brother is fighting in Vietnam. His embattled parents are locked in a never-ending war. And his best friend, Connor, is struggling with his own family issues. To find relief from the chaos, Lucas takes long, meandering walks, and one day he veers into the woods.
There he discovers an isolated cabin and two huge dogs. Frightened, he runs. And the dogs run with him. Lucas finds unusual peace in running with the dogs, and eventually he meets their owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Closed off and haunted by a tragic past, Zoe has given up. She doesn’t want to be saved. She wants out. But Lucas doesn’t want her to go, and he sees an opportunity to bring more than one friend back into the light. It’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had, but Lucas isn’t giving up on Zoe or Connor.
Their unexpected connection might be the saving grace that Zoe thought she’d lost, that Connor needs, and that Lucas has been running toward.
Stay is the story of Lucas Painter. One morning in 1969, 14 year old Lucas goes running. He encounters two big dogs at a remote cabin in the woods. To his surprise, the dogs run with him. This leads to Lucas meeting the dogs' owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Zoe has chosen to live as a virtual hermit because of her tragic past and notoriety. During the same time, Lucas is concerned about his brother Roy, who is serving in Vietnam, and his best friend Connor, who is battling depression. This is the story of how one act of kindness sparks another, and another ... and lives are changed.
I wanted to read Stay because of the setting. I love anything related to the 1960's. I will admit that I also was curious about the dogs in the story!
I'm so glad I picked this book up. It is really an uplifting, life affirming read, about friendship and kindness and caring for others. Although this book is marketed for adults, I think it would be a fine young adult read, and I think teens would find this story very powerful.
The author captures small town life in the 1960's perfectly. The small town setting is very important to the story; several times news is seen traveling through the gossip grapevine from person to person in this little town.
Lucas is a wonderful character. He is such a good kid -- kind, compassionate, putting the needs of others first. I really cared about his story, and about the people he cared about (Zoe, Roy, and Connor) by extension. I was especially moved by the story of Lucas's brother Roy, and the strong bond between the two brothers.
The author's writing style is simple and direct and immensely appealing. The book begins:
"Is it just me, or does everybody have a day in their life like the one I'm about to retell? I'm talking about those days that act like a fulcrum between everything that came before and your brand-new life after" (p. 3).
The characterization in the book was also strong. I loved a lot of Zoe's homespun wisdom, like the words she shares with Lucas:
"Look ... Kid. Believe me or don't. It's up to you. But there's a better reason why you can't sit here on the porch for the rest of your life. Because you can't control other people. You can't be responsible for somebody else. Not if it's a fully grown adult human, you can't. Sooner or later you have to go home, and you know it" (p. 67).
These words, and the message of much of the book, harken back to the idea of the Serenity Prayer, although it is never directly mentioned -- doing what you can, but also knowing when to accept the things you cannot change.
I could go on and on about what a beautiful book this is. It's one of the most heartwarming, positive books I've read in a long time, and I recommend it highly to other readers.
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than thirty published and forthcoming books. An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 Days of Gratitude: Photos from a Beautiful World.
Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Book for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages for distribution in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015.
More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for the O. Henry Award and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in The Best American Short Stories.
She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.
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One lucky reader will win a copy of Stay. The giveaway ends at midnight on 12/12/19. The giveaway is open to U.S. readers, who can enter at the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be notified by email, and needs to respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn.
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