Resource Links Review - Stay

Reviewed by: Chloe Humphreys

Millie is an eleven year old girl whose story is told in verse. Her twin brother Billy died at birth, but she keeps his spirit alive by speaking with him often in her imagination. Millie tells her brother: "You live here, in my heart, where I talk to you / any time I want." Billy is a soothing presence in Millie's otherwise chaotic life. Her parents are in the midst of a messy separation, and she feels her father's absence keenly.

Lawrence conveys Millie's thoughts and feelings through beautifully crafted poetic passages describing the thrills of an anticipated birthday party and the empty space left by her father at the kitchen dinner table. Both Millie's fears and joys are made palpable thanks to Lawrence's use of evocative and nuanced language. Like many children who have experienced a divorce or separation, Millie's deepest worry is that her parents will fall out of love with her like they did with each other. To combat the mountain of worries threatening to crush Millie, her hope of adopting a dog becomes a life raft during turbulent times, buoying her spirits when she bumps into a kind stranger who helps make Millie's canine dream a reality. In this way, Lawrence celebrates the power of chance connections and shows readers that a family can be reconstructed - albeit slowly - with the help of compassion, care, and tenderness.

Stay is a memorable and affecting novel that will resonate long after reading. It is a highly recommended middle-grade addition to all library collections.

Thematic Links: Family; Siblings; Separation; Loss; Dogs; Healing; Compassion; Love

Millie is an eleven

year old girl whose

story is told in verse.

Her twin brother Billy

died at birth, but she

keeps his spirit alive by

speaking with him often

in her imagination. Millie

tells her brother:

“You live here, in my

heart, where I talk to

you / any time I want.”

Billy is a soothing presence

in Millie’s otherwise chaotic life. Her

parents are in the midst of a messy separation,

and she feels her father’s absence keenly.

Lawrence conveys Millie’s thoughts and

feelings through beautifully crafted poetic passages

describing the thrills of an anticipated

birthday party and the empty space left by her

father at the kitchen dinner table. Both Millie’s

fears and joys are made palpable thanks to

Lawrence’s use of evocative and nuanced language.

Like many children who have experienced

a divorce or separation, Millie’s deepest

worry is that her parents will fall out of love

with her like they did with each other. To

combat the mountain of worries threatening to

crush Millie, her hope of adopting a dog becomes

a life raft during turbulent times, buoying

her spirits when she bumps into a kind

stranger who helps make Millie’s canine

dream a reality. In this way, Lawrence celebrates

the power of chance connections and

shows readers that a family can be reconstructed

- albeit slowly - with the help of compassion,

care, and tenderness.

Stay is a memorable and affecting novel that

will resonate long after reading. It is a highly

recommended middle-grade addition to all

library collections.

Thematic Links: Family; Siblings; Separation;

Loss; Dogs; Healing; Compassion; Love

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