by Katherine Lawrence
Millie is eleven (going on twelve) and enjoys doing what kids usually like to do: riding her bike and dreaming of the day she can convince her family to get a dog. She also writes in her diary daily. But instead of writing to herself, she writes to her twin brother Billy, who died before he was born. Alright, so it's not totally normal, but it's manageable.
Millie's life as she knows it comes to a screeching halt, however, when her parents decide to separate. Her mother gets a new boyfriend, and her father moves into a new place - an apartment - with a big sign on the door that says NO DOGS ALLOWED.
As she struggles to get her parents back together - not just for her sake, but for the sake of her future dog as well - Millie is elated when her father moves back in a short while later. She can't understand why her parents aren't happy at the reconciliation until she learns the truth: her father has moved back in because he has been diagnosed with cancer.
Told through the diary entries of Millie, Stay is a moving portrait of a family in a time of crisis, whose pain is filtered through the thoughts and actions of an eleven-year-old girl, capturing the essence of what it means to grow up, confront your fears, support your family, and share in the wild optimism that only youth can harbour.
Never one to shy away from tough issues, and constantly experimenting with form, acclaimed Saskatchewan poet Katherine Lawrence shifts successfully and beautifully into juvenile fiction with this moving story-in-verse.
Praise for Stay:
"Stay is brilliantly written; each word serves its purpose and powerfully paints the characters. The format is wonderfully unique. It manages to be both accessible to children and lyrically sophisticated at the same time. Heavy subject matter is treated with a deft hand." - Judges, Children's Literature Award, 2018 Saskatchewan Book Awards (Finalist)
"Katherine Lawrence's middle grade novel-in-verse, Stay, evokes the changeable emotions of eleven-year-olds and the enduring truths of community. Here is a world of families in transition, poor puppy training, and the possibility of discovering something new within the tatters of the old. Filled with charm and world play, Stay is a hopeful response to our modern struggles. As Lawrence writes: 'All I had to do / was et off across from hereandnow, / transfer to bus somethingorother, / ring the bell / at comeandgo corner, catch I forget / and watch for the red mailbox.' It's everyday magic--stirred up, made bright." - Judges, Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award, 2018 Saskatchewan Book Awards (Finalist)