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An urban romance that will capture your soul, break your heart, and restore your faith in the human spirit Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn't expect to fall in love. She's a sensitive A student; he's a high school dropout. But soon they're spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfec An urban romance that will capture your soul, break your heart, and restore your faith in the human spirit Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn't expect to fall in love. She's a sensitive A student; he's a high school dropout. But soon they're spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfect. Until. Until. Mack makes a horrible mistake, and in just a few minutes, the future they'd planned becomes impossible. In this stark new reality, both of them must find meaning and hope in the memories of what they had, to survive when the person they love can't stay. From award-winning writer Paul Griffin, Stay with Me is both heartbreaking and uplifting, filled with characters (both dog and human) that will forever change the way you look at the world.


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An urban romance that will capture your soul, break your heart, and restore your faith in the human spirit Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn't expect to fall in love. She's a sensitive A student; he's a high school dropout. But soon they're spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfec An urban romance that will capture your soul, break your heart, and restore your faith in the human spirit Fifteen-year-olds Cece and Mack didn't expect to fall in love. She's a sensitive A student; he's a high school dropout. But soon they're spending every moment together, bonding over a rescued dog, telling their secrets, making plans for the future. Everything is perfect. Until. Until. Mack makes a horrible mistake, and in just a few minutes, the future they'd planned becomes impossible. In this stark new reality, both of them must find meaning and hope in the memories of what they had, to survive when the person they love can't stay. From award-winning writer Paul Griffin, Stay with Me is both heartbreaking and uplifting, filled with characters (both dog and human) that will forever change the way you look at the world.

30 review for Stay with Me

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sita

    I’m gonna start this review by apologizing, I am sorry I didn’t love this book like I wanted to and I’m sorry I couldn’t even finish it. That's seriously how I felt, or maybe I still feel bad for faking sick to get out of going to this persons house. My mum comes home and says "their 16 year old daughter would have really loved to meet you, your practically the same age. You would have liked her. But no Sita you were sick" she said quoting the air to emphasise the sick. I mean who's mum does that I’m gonna start this review by apologizing, I am sorry I didn’t love this book like I wanted to and I’m sorry I couldn’t even finish it. That's seriously how I felt, or maybe I still feel bad for faking sick to get out of going to this persons house. My mum comes home and says "their 16 year old daughter would have really loved to meet you, your practically the same age. You would have liked her. But no Sita you were sick" she said quoting the air to emphasise the sick. I mean who's mum does that to them? Okay enough of my guilt...onto the review. I probably would not have read this if someone hadn’t recommended it to me ( I kind of feel like I have to read the book the person recommends because they took the time to recommend it), saying that they were reading it and it was a good book. I thought “what the heck?” And I read it, or at least I tried to. In theory this sounds exactly like the type of book that I would love. It is told from both the main characters point of views, it is a young adult romance and both the characters sound believable and realistic. When you actually read the book, you find that is not so much the case. Book in a sentence: Mack meets Cece, she is a good student with a little bit a lot of emotional baggage, he is a kind hearted boy who dropped out of school and loves taking care of dogs, they work together and (very) soon start seeing each other, about two weeks into the relationship they realize that they are in love, then it happens...(view spoiler)[I seriously don’t know what it is because I wasn’t able to finish the book. Someone feel free to tell me. I’m actually curious as to know how it ends. (hide spoiler)] I really can’t say whether I liked the book. I guess I liked the idea of the book and the idea of the characters a lot more than I did the real thing. One thing I did love about the book was the writing. It was the sort of no bull shit writing that I love. It was short sentences that were straight to the point, neither of the characters wasted any time. Am I glad I read it? I can’t say that I am. The book really wasn’t that great in the end, and I guess I had high expectations, because after finishing the book I was really disappointed. I had just expected more. Because I didn’t finish the book I can’t say I would recommend it to anyone, but if I had to I would say YA romance lovers who are looking for something different.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jasprit

    3.5 stars I’m usually a complete sucker with these type of stories; a boy with a reputation meets a sweet innocent straight A student girl. Girl and boy both fall for each other. Boy does something stupid and then pushes girl away telling her they can’t be together anymore, boy says cruel things to girl to try and convince her that he never loved her, girl doesn’t believe it to be true, says will never give up on their love and that they were meant to be together. Stay with Me follows a similar 3.5 stars I’m usually a complete sucker with these type of stories; a boy with a reputation meets a sweet innocent straight A student girl. Girl and boy both fall for each other. Boy does something stupid and then pushes girl away telling her they can’t be together anymore, boy says cruel things to girl to try and convince her that he never loved her, girl doesn’t believe it to be true, says will never give up on their love and that they were meant to be together. Stay with Me follows a similar format; it’s told in alternative pov’s of 15 year old Cece (pronounced Chee Chee) and Mack over the course of 102 days. Mack is sent to work at the same restaurant as Cece. They are constantly forced to spend time together by Cece’s brother Anthony, who will be leaving his family soon to join the army, so believing that Mack is a decent guy; he wants him to look after his sister whilst he is away. But Mack can get fired up pretty quickly and finds it difficult to keep his temper in check, as him and Cece get closer together he soon realises that Cece is the only one who can help him keep his cool. Mack and Cece can’t help but fall for each other, their love between them is something none of them have ever experienced before. That is until one unfortunate night when Mack does something stupid (view spoiler)[he ends up killing a man, who had poisoned his dog and is taken to jail, being a hero Mack decided to plead guilty as he believes he did a bad thing and so deserves to do the time, in turn breaking Cece’s heart. (hide spoiler)] It was heart wrenching at times watching both Cece and Mack struggling to cope without each other especially for Cece who had the extra burden of dealing with her alcoholic mother and not having Anthony around. I found Mack more and more frustrating as the story progressed him playing the “hero” card and refusing to see Cece each time she came to visit him and basically believing he was good for nothing. He reminded me in so many ways of the Fuentes brothers, from Simone Elkeles’ books, but sadly didn’t grow on me as strongly as they did. I had high hopes for Stay with me since I first heard about its release and was super excited when I was able to get my hands on a copy. Unfortunately I found my mind wandering at times, sometimes unable to focus on the writing, I think it was just a little immature and clichéd for me at times. However there were some good points to the story, some scenes tugged at my heartstrings, made me laugh uncontrollably and there were also some unexpected surprises along the way, and so for these reasons I will give Stay with me only 3.5 stars. Thank you Lesley for lending me your copy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alanna (The Flashlight Reader)

    Oh. My. Goodness. This book had me laughing and crying all at once. It was so believable. I don't even know where to start... CeCe and Mark are great. But then, so are Vic, Tony and CeCe's mom. Every character was so well written. I felt like I knew them-- like CeCe and Mack could have been my students. All of the characters are broken in some way, which makes them that much more amazing. They all deal with real issues and have to learn to live with their imperfections. It was so honest and hear Oh. My. Goodness. This book had me laughing and crying all at once. It was so believable. I don't even know where to start... CeCe and Mark are great. But then, so are Vic, Tony and CeCe's mom. Every character was so well written. I felt like I knew them-- like CeCe and Mack could have been my students. All of the characters are broken in some way, which makes them that much more amazing. They all deal with real issues and have to learn to live with their imperfections. It was so honest and heart breaking. Mack has a record and has dropped out of school at 15. CeCe is a genius with a lunatic alcoholic for a mother. Together, they are to epitome of young, star-crossed lovers. Let's start with why Mack is amazing. He's honest. He loves dogs. Despite what others' think, he is gifted. He has a loser father and a mom that has been AWOL since he was 8 or so. He is stereotyped by most of the people he meets and labeled "retarded" because he has a neurological processing disorder. Oh how my heart breaks for this kid because I knew a boy like this once. Reading this story was like reading his life story. Tragic and full of hope at the same time. Then there is CeCe... she's a riot. Brutally honest and insecure. Plus she has a love of cheesecake that I can relate to. Her favorite book to movie adaptation is The Outsiders, which makes her awesome. Her relationship with her mother is "different." The mom seems like the child at times, which leaves CeCe having to take care of her. I know that child too. I could talk about the plot, but it's complicated. Every character has a vital role in the story. On the surface you think the story is about CeCe and Mack (and it is), but it's more than that. Tony's role is HUGE-- and heartbreaking. I really am having a hard time finding words for this review. It was so beautiful. Obviously, I think everyone should read this one. That should be a given at this point. Why should you read it? Why break out of your normal genre(s) of choice to pick up this book? The answer is simple. It's a beautiful story of love, loss, and redemption. I wish I had enough copies of the book so I could loan it out to everyone I know. But, I only have one and I'm guarding it with my life. This book will be a treasure for one of "those kids" that are hard to reach. I know I'll get them hooked with this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    Stay With Me is a fast-paced novel told in alternating POVs between fifteen-year-olds Mack and Céce over the course of one hundred and two days. Reading through this book was a struggle for me at first. I could not connect with the characters. Didn't feel much of anything for them. The relationship between Céce and Mack.... It seemed like I blinked and they were already all over each other, saying how much they were in love. I felt like I missed something. Eventually I just let it go, and after t Stay With Me is a fast-paced novel told in alternating POVs between fifteen-year-olds Mack and Céce over the course of one hundred and two days. Reading through this book was a struggle for me at first. I could not connect with the characters. Didn't feel much of anything for them. The relationship between Céce and Mack.... It seemed like I blinked and they were already all over each other, saying how much they were in love. I felt like I missed something. Eventually I just let it go, and after that I was able to appreciate the story more. By the end, I was a bit more connected with the characters. I think the ending was fitting, but I felt sad about the whole situation. Because stories like this happen all the time. Life isn't always fair, and people end up making terrible mistakes. All you can do is move on and have hope that things will get better. I wish these characters all the best.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    Wow. There are really no words to explain my feelings for this amazing book! Raw and real, Griffin delivers an emotional read that will stick wither readers. The first 50 pages or so were a bit slower paced, and I wasn't as in to the story. All at once, I fell head over heels in love with it and didn't want to put it down! Stay With Me is a very different kind of story, and the experiences the characters had were very interesting to read about, as it was a completely new world to me. Griffin's Wow. There are really no words to explain my feelings for this amazing book! Raw and real, Griffin delivers an emotional read that will stick wither readers. The first 50 pages or so were a bit slower paced, and I wasn't as in to the story. All at once, I fell head over heels in love with it and didn't want to put it down! Stay With Me is a very different kind of story, and the experiences the characters had were very interesting to read about, as it was a completely new world to me. Griffin's writing weaved together a perfect story. Stay With Me was simply beautifully written. Every detail felt true, and I was transported into Cece and Mack's world. There are a lot of raw, sadder moments, but they are perfectly balanced with moments of sheer happiness that will make you smile. Mack's way with dogs and using it to save some of the less fortunate dogs made me smile. The characters felt very authentic, and their voices true to their ages and what they had lived through. There was a wide range of characters that were all very different from one another. None of the characters were perfect, and finding out their flaws and insecurities was part of their charm. The characters all had different views on life, and seeing how they put them to use was very cool. Vic was so understanding and willing to give second chances - he is the kind of person we need more of in the world, so reading about him was a charm. I would put Anthony in the same boat, and say we need more people like him in the world as well. The ending was one of the best parts of the book. The entire book was amazing, so I was worried about the ending and whether all the strings would be tied up. Griffin ends Stay With Me in the perfect way, bittersweet and full of hope. Stay With Me is a book that needs to be read. It's a book whose characters and lessons they learn will stick with you. Stay With Me is real and I book I couldn't more highly recommend.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I started crying 10 minutes before the end of the book and a good ten minutes after. That's how much the characters and their situation meant to me. Two city kids fall in love. Cece and Mack have things in common - both have single parents with alcohol problems. Both live in tough, hard-scrabble neighbourhoods. But they are very different too - Cece is clever, and determined to study hard and get out of her going-nowhere school. Mack is illiterate. Cece's mother may drink, but she is loving and f I started crying 10 minutes before the end of the book and a good ten minutes after. That's how much the characters and their situation meant to me. Two city kids fall in love. Cece and Mack have things in common - both have single parents with alcohol problems. Both live in tough, hard-scrabble neighbourhoods. But they are very different too - Cece is clever, and determined to study hard and get out of her going-nowhere school. Mack is illiterate. Cece's mother may drink, but she is loving and fun, and Cece has a wonderful older brother who looks out for her. Mack has a mean drunk, cruel father. When Mack and Cece fall in love it's utterly absorbing, a roller coaster ride of feelings for both of them. And as they both tell the story, alternativing points of view, you feel their joy and committment. But the one page prologue at the beginning gives you a clue that this isn't a happy ever after, Mills and Boon story. "a hundred and two days. And then it was over." I guessed how it would end - and got it completely wrong. Timing was out, overall ending was wrong. There were 2 revelations - scenes the reader already knew, but given deeper understanding of that really explained the characters and their situations. Bittersweet is the word, but bloody unfair is a better one. Author Paul Griffen apparently works with troubled and special needs teens - and pit bull dogs, another theme of this book - and his dialogue and situations sound very authentic. But I doubt any of the kids he works with would read the book. The beginning is a bit slow, and jumbled, as the cast of characters is introduced and Mack and Cece begin to meet. Which is a shame, as if readers keep reading, they'll find the book un-put-downable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vennesa

    As a teenager, I fell head over heels in love with a man. With me he was sweet and gentle and loving. On his own, he was someone else. As I read Stay With Me, I connected with Cece and fell into the story as hard and fast as Alice fell into Wonderland. Cece is just living life, trying to stay afloat yet trying to do something to make her life better. Along comes a long a boy who has a sorted past. The two fall in love and have this passion for each other and life. Mack has a gift working with do As a teenager, I fell head over heels in love with a man. With me he was sweet and gentle and loving. On his own, he was someone else. As I read Stay With Me, I connected with Cece and fell into the story as hard and fast as Alice fell into Wonderland. Cece is just living life, trying to stay afloat yet trying to do something to make her life better. Along comes a long a boy who has a sorted past. The two fall in love and have this passion for each other and life. Mack has a gift working with dogs, the kind of magic that every dog owner wishes they had. The dog becomes a integral part of the story. Unfortunately, life happens and the two are separated. I found myself laughing and crying all in the same page. Griffin has made the characters seem so real, as if he is writing something that has truly happened, not coming from his imagination. I visualized every scene as if I was watching a movie. This book will be passed around to numerous friends. I will recommend it to anyone who will listen. Reading this book has reminded me that we have to look past a person's outside to see what is really inside-- the part that counts!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Paul Griffin is undoubtedly one of the most talented YA writers writing today. This novel is a brilliant work, just as good Ten Mile River and The Orange Houses. His respect for teens shines through. He dignifies teenage love, instead of exploiting or patronizing it. This is just one thing that makes Griffin a cut above other writers of YA lit. Love the guy. Love the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    Posted at http://mykeepershelf.blogspot.com/201... Stay with me is one of those thoroughly readable books that completely sucks you in with it's gritty urban setting, wonderfully lovable flawed characters and heartbreaking story. Cece and Mack are 15 years old, she's smart, takes care of her alcoholic mother and worries about her older brother going off to war. Mack has had a troubled upbringing, despite being painfully shy he has huge anger management issues but is the kind of kid who you know ha Posted at http://mykeepershelf.blogspot.com/201... Stay with me is one of those thoroughly readable books that completely sucks you in with it's gritty urban setting, wonderfully lovable flawed characters and heartbreaking story. Cece and Mack are 15 years old, she's smart, takes care of her alcoholic mother and worries about her older brother going off to war. Mack has had a troubled upbringing, despite being painfully shy he has huge anger management issues but is the kind of kid who you know has a good heart. Mack has amazing dog whisperer skills and rescues pit bulls who have been trained to fight but left to die when they loose. He cares for them, re trains them, calls them all Boo and finds new homes for them. Despite his initial inability to look anyone in the eye, Cece and Mack fall head over heels in love. He helps her overcome her fear of dogs and she helps him control his temper and open up a little until one day after the most horrific and heartbreaking provocation (as a dog lover I was horrified by what happened) Mack snaps and his violent actions change his life forever. On one hand, I absolutely felt for Mack his upbringing was horrific, he had spent time in jail after being caught breaking into a house and stealing frozen pizzas after his dad left him starving and neglected. His anger issues are hardly surprising when you realise how he has been brought up and his crippling shyness made me feel even more sorry for him. Things are just starting to get a little bit better with Cece and her family in his life, and has also has a job with Cece and her mother at the restaurant which means he can give small amounts of his money away to those he considers more needy than him. Ultimately I knew Mack had a good heart however, the action he took in anger, although understandable, was wrong and he has to pay the price. There is no nicely wrapped up happy ever after in Stay With Me, it really is heartbreakingly sad however, we do get to see Mack deal with the consequences and the bittersweet ending for both Mack and Cece was much more realistic and fitting. It's a difficult review to write as I don't want to give anything away, it really would spoil it. I had no idea the story was going to turn that way when I started reading it but I'm really glad I read it. Stay With Me is much much more than a YA romance, it's about family, surviving, second chances and that one moment or action that changes the direction of your life forever.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tara Calaby

    (1.5 stars) 3 Things I Liked About Stay With Me (1) There is an extremely strong use of voice throughout Stay With Me. Griffin does a great job of differentiating between his two protagonists through the way they tell their stories. The reader is unlikely to become confused about who is speaking, because the two voices are very different. (2) The character of Vic is fantastic. His unwavering belief in the people around him is extremely important to making this book readable, despite the overwhelmin (1.5 stars) 3 Things I Liked About Stay With Me (1) There is an extremely strong use of voice throughout Stay With Me. Griffin does a great job of differentiating between his two protagonists through the way they tell their stories. The reader is unlikely to become confused about who is speaking, because the two voices are very different. (2) The character of Vic is fantastic. His unwavering belief in the people around him is extremely important to making this book readable, despite the overwhelming negativity of the situations described in it. (3) The dogs in Stay With Me are obviously written about by someone who knows and loves dogs. There is a strong and obvious parallel formed between them and Mack, and this is cleverly done, inserting a little hope where it is most needed. Four Things I Disliked About Stay With Me (1) I found that the age of the characters detracted from my enjoyment of the story. I didn't think that either character really felt fifteen in terms of the way they interacted with the world and each other. I think the stakes in their romance were reduced by their ages; relationships between fifteen year olds rarely last, so it felt like the events of the book only hastened the eventual outcome. (2) I was also a little concerned by just how blasé the book was about underage sex. There was the sense that it is expected and right for fifteen-year-olds to rush into sexual relationships. Obviously this is something that happens, so I'm not questioning the realism, but rather the way it was presented as being inevitable. (3) Stay With Me is mostly shade without many touches of light. Everyone in this book has bad things happen to them – even the dogs. I think that realism in fiction is fantastic, but I also think that things can reach the point where tragedy and bad life situations are heaped on top of each other to force emotional reactions that the reader wouldn't otherwise have had. (4) On a very personal note, I struggled with reading about the many abused dogs referred to in the story. I think that Mack's relationship with the rescue dogs he trains is the most positive, powerful thing about Stay With Me, but the backgrounds of these dogs and their resilience to human cruelty was the element that made me come very close to stopping reading this novel, due to my own sensitivity to such things. (Warning: Contains a lot of discussion of animal abuse and an animal death, violence and underaged sex.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan Harvey

    I read this book because of its focus on pit bulls and rescue dogs. While it is not a very well-written book I enjoyed it. But I enjoyed the second half far more than the first half of the book. The first half of the book focuses on the love story between Mack and Cece but it is too quick and not particularly interesting as I did not find Cece to be as interesting as the other characters in the book particulary Vic, Mack, Carmella, Wash, and Tony. What is interesting is the author's knowledge an I read this book because of its focus on pit bulls and rescue dogs. While it is not a very well-written book I enjoyed it. But I enjoyed the second half far more than the first half of the book. The first half of the book focuses on the love story between Mack and Cece but it is too quick and not particularly interesting as I did not find Cece to be as interesting as the other characters in the book particulary Vic, Mack, Carmella, Wash, and Tony. What is interesting is the author's knowledge and love of pit bulls and the rescue dog, Boo, that this young couple bonds over. Griffin knows this breed of dog and I think anyone who owns a pit or has worked with dog rescues will enjoy his portrayal of pit bulls....or cupcakes as he calls them. Griffin details the plight of this beloved dog (dogfighting and negative reactions), breaks myths (NO they do not have lock jaws), and writes about their personalities (clowns of the dog world, embrace fun, love humans, essentially big cupcakes). Having worked with pit bull rescues and rescuing my Nubbies from a high-kill shelter I throroughly enjoyed the dogs in this book.....all named Boo. Stay With Me is separated into two parts. I'll call it pre-incident and post-incident. Did Mack go to far? Yes. With his anger issues he went further than most of us would go. But I can't say that I completely blame him. Without giving anything away I can say that those of us who have loved ones, humans and animals, would have some sort of reaction but are able to reign in the anger that Mack is not able to. The relationship Mack shares with the pit bulls and Wash in this book was far more fascinating than his relationship with Cece. I can say this book was very predictable but I gave it 3 stars based on the character of Mack, Boo, and the second half of the book. Griffin also mentions in his acknowlegments that if you want to adopt a pit bull go to your local shelter as about 1 million pit bulls are admitted a year. He knows his breed, loves his breed, and recognizes them for the cupcakes they are. It was nice to finally read a piece of fiction that paints these wonderful, comical, beautiful dogs in a positive light.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Harvey

    Absolutely loved this book, really shows how life can be unfair but also how to seek out making it better for yourself and those you love.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kayleigh Einspahr

    In this story, there was a girl that originally got cheated on by her old boyfriend. More into the story she met this guy at one of her friends party and he fell for her but she didn’t want to be with anyone because of her last boyfriend and what he did. I liked this book very much because it relates to stuff that can happen in real life. I also like that they talked about how Cameron and Elizabeth never saw each other besides at the party. Near the end the narrator was talking about how the gir In this story, there was a girl that originally got cheated on by her old boyfriend. More into the story she met this guy at one of her friends party and he fell for her but she didn’t want to be with anyone because of her last boyfriend and what he did. I liked this book very much because it relates to stuff that can happen in real life. I also like that they talked about how Cameron and Elizabeth never saw each other besides at the party. Near the end the narrator was talking about how the girl had switched schools and sees him a lot in the hallway and is starting to fall for him During the introduction, they talked about how Elizabeth had a rough home life and along with the fact that her boyfriend was cheating on her put her under a lot of stress. She then moved on and realized that she needed to change and moved in with her dad, making her move schools. When she started to see the new boy (Cameron), she realized that it might be meant to be but she thought that was crazy. It was just a boy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    No. Just no.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    Rating: 4 stars. "Nothing cuts you worse than a slow fade." It cuts me knowing that this story is over and I'll never know if Mack and Cece will ever see each other again. As a fan of romance, bad boys, and doggies (especially Pitbulls), I felt like I hit the jackpot when I picked this book up. And by golly I did! I love Paul's writing style and the way he immediately capture's the reader's attention by introducing two realistic characters I've come to adore and love. Including Boo. The story was Rating: 4 stars. "Nothing cuts you worse than a slow fade." It cuts me knowing that this story is over and I'll never know if Mack and Cece will ever see each other again. As a fan of romance, bad boys, and doggies (especially Pitbulls), I felt like I hit the jackpot when I picked this book up. And by golly I did! I love Paul's writing style and the way he immediately capture's the reader's attention by introducing two realistic characters I've come to adore and love. Including Boo. The story was amazingly told and it's one I'll always treasure. I'm a such a sucker for these bad-boy-meets-innocent-girl love stories. But what really pulled me in was how these two characters bonded over a rescued pittie. A few years ago, my parents and I rescued a pitbull. She was a stray in our neighborhood that was dumped off and left. She was scared, hungry, and we recently discovered she had puppies. We took her in and now a few years later, she and her four babies have become a new addition to our family. And just to think, in a few months it'll be the babies second birthday! I'm a proud owner of five pitbulls and one lab. The bestest friend you can have in the world is your dog. Paul portrays that clear enough within these pages. And I'm very thankful Paul wrote such a remarkable story including some helpful tips from "Mack" on training. Keeping those tips in mind.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The Short Story? – A powerful novel about first love, loss and hope. Griffin has written a moving coming-to-age novel that will influence readers of all ages. A bittersweet love story, a mutual heartbreak and the painful process of moving on. Stay with Me is an excellent work of fiction that discusses issues that are faced by teenagers all around the world. Beautiful and heavily influential, Stay with Me is fantastic! The Long Story? – I didn’t cry but I think that if I didn’t read the ending fir The Short Story? – A powerful novel about first love, loss and hope. Griffin has written a moving coming-to-age novel that will influence readers of all ages. A bittersweet love story, a mutual heartbreak and the painful process of moving on. Stay with Me is an excellent work of fiction that discusses issues that are faced by teenagers all around the world. Beautiful and heavily influential, Stay with Me is fantastic! The Long Story? – I didn’t cry but I think that if I didn’t read the ending first I would have. I’m not a fan of coming-to-age novels, sob stories or anything that can be classified as real teen fiction. All of which can be used to describe Stay with Me yet I really enjoyed the novel. It’s the kind of novel that really makes an impact on you and makes you think again how your life could have turned out to be like - makes you appreciate the lifestyle you have. It deals with a lot of serious teen issues like neglect, sex, juvenile behavior and more importantly how to work your way through those issues. Stay with Me was really an excellent balance of romance and the coming-to-age aspects of the novel. Towards the end with all the heartbreak I found it a little hard to read because I’m a huge fan of happy endings and the ending of this novel can only be described as bittersweet. However, overall Stay with Me was a brilliant novel that I’m sure many of you would find very refreshing. It’s a great novel, very powerful. In Stay with Me, the characterization focuses less on the physical appearance of the characters and more on their emotional state. The novel is written so that the story is told from the perspectives of Cece and Mack, two teens who are in love. The alternating perspectives work really well with the novel because you needed both Cece and Mack’s point of view to get a grasp of the whole story. What really did show through the story was that Cece and Mack had a very close relationship and that they really do love each other. Both characters have their own personal demons and it was a really nice touch to have them help each other through their individual issues. Boo is another character that’s very important because she was the glue that stuck the whole novel together. She played a very important part in the novel in bringing Cece and Mack closer together and she shaped how the novel ended. Overall it’s a very complex characterization however I feel they were necessary in giving the novel personality. For me when it got the heartbreak and the separation, it was really hard to read. One of the main reasons I don’t like to read real teen fiction is because of the bittersweet endings. It’s realistic but it’s not fiction and it’s not happy. However Stay with Me was definitely a very influential novel with a lot of value. It teaches about love, loss and hope and it’s a great coming-to-age novel. Beautifully written, Griffin has written a bittersweet love story with a deeper and more important message behind it. For fans of Judy Blume and Sarah Dessen. What's it's Worth? - Squeeze into the Budget/ Hand Over the Paycheck

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    A story about doomed love, and pitbulls. About abuse of animals, and people. As vulnerable as it is heart-warming. Mack's got a shady past, a stint in juvenile justice and the static in his head that he can't always control. He doesn't hold anything against his mother for leaving him with his bitter, alcoholic father. Says he would have done the same thing. His greatest gift came from his mother, because she taught him the way of the dogs. How to speak to them, earn their trust and obedience. And A story about doomed love, and pitbulls. About abuse of animals, and people. As vulnerable as it is heart-warming. Mack's got a shady past, a stint in juvenile justice and the static in his head that he can't always control. He doesn't hold anything against his mother for leaving him with his bitter, alcoholic father. Says he would have done the same thing. His greatest gift came from his mother, because she taught him the way of the dogs. How to speak to them, earn their trust and obedience. And Mack has a special place where he takes abused dogs and retrains them. He has a name for his abused dogs too. Boo. They're all called Boo. He fixes them, and gives them to people to love them right. Pit Bulls are his favourite. Cece's got a fear of dogs. Especially pits. When Cece's brother joins the army, he asks the one guy he can trust, to look after her. But Mack, with his history of violent crime, hardly seems like the right person. He meets a stranger in an alley every week, and they swap hands. Money... for what? Drugs? He never invites Cece to his house, and won't go into hers, even when her Mum invites him. She's the most perfect girl he's known. And he struggles to be good enough, but can't be. She's smart and warm and has a great family. Mack can't even look her in the eye. But he walks her home from work, like Tony asked. And he's falling for her. Cece sees the pure beauty in Mack that the rest of the world stamps out. She alone can quiet the static in his head. The rest of the world expects little of him, but Cece knows he's gifted. Mack's a healer. When he finds another pitbull discarded after a pit fight, Mack knows he must rescue another Boo. And train her. This dog's purpose is clear. Coaxing Cece and the dog, Mack becomes a healer of both. But then it all goes wrong. What follows is graphic violence, scenes of anticipation and anxiety that leave your heart thudding, and the knowledge that Mack and Cece's problems can't be fixed. All characters in this book are believable, and integral to the plot. The story doesn't shy away from tough issues of abuse, alcoholism and reversed parental roles. Griffin plays the character's lives like a sad piece of music. He shows the humanity and flaws in every character, and yet he leads us to love them all. He does what Nicholas Shakespeare said is demanded of fiction, by sharing a cigarette with his enemy. Because each character is broken, and none are two dimensional. Paul Griffin wants to teach his readers, and he does it beautifully. His dialogue is among the most realistic I've read, characters are well developed and interesting. Storyline sucks you in from the first page. Written from the perspective of Cece and Mack in alternate chapters, we witness the confusion, honesty and heartache unfold. Rejection is the most bitter pill. So is facing up to human brutality. Griffin seamlessly weaves together the brokenness of the Boo dogs with Mack. Mack is a Boo in need of healing. We all are. Readers are not left with a happy ending, but a real one. In brokenness, there can also be healing. This novel does indeed stay with me, long after the last page.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    A well written and touching story, Stay With Me tugged at my heartstrings. This realistic coming of age book has a compelling story, vivid characters, and lovable rescue dogs. I was hooked on this emotional story immediately and found it to be a moving and inspiring read. Our protagonists’ story is told over 102 days. Céce (pronounced Chee Chee) and Mack are 15 and in the throes of first love. Even though they are from different worlds, they are drawn to each other and spend every moment they can A well written and touching story, Stay With Me tugged at my heartstrings. This realistic coming of age book has a compelling story, vivid characters, and lovable rescue dogs. I was hooked on this emotional story immediately and found it to be a moving and inspiring read. Our protagonists’ story is told over 102 days. Céce (pronounced Chee Chee) and Mack are 15 and in the throes of first love. Even though they are from different worlds, they are drawn to each other and spend every moment they can together. Mack has a big heart but a troubled past. He comes from a broken home and struggles with anger management. Spending time with Céce and her brother Anthony, and working and training rescue dogs have helped him to stay out of trouble. His problems come back in a big way though and he and Céce must try to cope through it. This author has a great way with writing characters. There is a wonderful cast of imperfect characters written with colorful details that make them come alive. My heart ached for Mack and I was rooting for him to succeed. His gifted way with training dogs is a treat to read. Mack struggles with anger, family drama, and a learning disability but has dreams to someday work training dogs professionally. Céce is an A-student who studies her vocabulary for the gifted and talented exam, indulges by sneaking pieces of cheesecake at her workplace, loves The Outsiders movie, and thinks she may have ESP. Together they have chemistry and mesh well together. I like that the story is told in alternating perspectives and I enjoyed each of their character voices equally. The secondary characters are well drawn and help bring the story to life. Anthony is Céce’s perfect beloved older brother and Mack’s friend. He enlists in the military and she worries about him constantly. Céce’s mother changes her hair color as often as she comes up with new holiday themed cornbread recipes. She worries about her son and is drinking to soothe the pain. Vic is the restaurant owner with the heart of gold that is the glue that keeps them together. All of the characters are endearingly flawed and won me over with their quirky character traits. I think many readers will relate to insecure Céce and her embarking on first love, dealing with family difficulties, and striving to succeed academically. She is written in a sweet, sensitive and flawed way that is endearing. Although Mack has some big problems, readers can relate to his struggles, his good heart and his love for dogs. Although the story is heartbreaking in many ways, there are some rays of hope that keep it from being too dark. The conclusion is satisfying, yet bittersweet and a perfect end to the story. This emotional read hit me in the gut with the realistic story and wonderful cast of characters. Recommended for older teens due to mature situations, this realistic book is an emotional and beautiful read. This story of heart and redemption is a treat and I’m so glad I had the chance to read it. Keep an eye out for Stay With Me this fall.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jodie

    www.booksforcompany.com In Short - Stay With Me has two strong characters that are put in numerous difficult situations. - The characters actions are never predictable but are also very real. - What brings the characters together also rips them apart – I loved this! - Paul took this book in different directions with other authors would never think about, let alone do. Stay With Me was a book I wanted to read as soon as I saw the cover. I can’t really tell you why, maybe it’s because I love relati www.booksforcompany.com In Short - Stay With Me has two strong characters that are put in numerous difficult situations. - The characters actions are never predictable but are also very real. - What brings the characters together also rips them apart – I loved this! - Paul took this book in different directions with other authors would never think about, let alone do. Stay With Me was a book I wanted to read as soon as I saw the cover. I can’t really tell you why, maybe it’s because I love relationships which are based in the ‘real world’ aka a place where they are actual problems instead of petty little things. Anyway, as soon as I read the blurb I couldn’t wait to read this one. Thanks Lesley (http://mykeepershelf.blogspot.com/) for letting me borrow this one! When I picked this book up I had made some assumptions and I kind of got what I was expecting, kind off. The writing was the sort of writing which I can never explain but I am finding this in more and more books and slowly liking the style of writing more. It’s kind of from the point of view from the characters while also being a bit more distant and letting the reader see properly into the characters world. By that I mean both the main characters feelings are always clear, whether it’s because of their actions or feelings but it’s not simple and clear, you have to actually think and judge how the character is feeling, like you need to with a real person. Sometimes I found this sort of writing really suited this book whereas other times I just wanted their feelings laid out ‘on a plate’ for me instead of all the mumble jumble. Stay With Me then took a big turn which I never saw coming. I never saw it coming because Paul took a risk which a lot of authors don't do. I tend to think that sort of thing would put an ending to the book and if it didn’t then the book would be boring from then on it. Well it wasn’t. Paul did a great job of keeping the relationship between the two main characters both interesting and also intriguing. I never knew what either of the two main characters were going to do or think next. After about ¾ way through the book I could see what was going to come next, I felt like this was done on purpose by Paul though and I was meant to see it coming. What I didn’t know is how the characters were going to react; the characters actions were never predictable. The unpredictability of the characters was made even better with how they were always real. I never felt like a real person wouldn’t act in that way. In fact I thought all actions were justified (well nearly all) and possible! Final Thoughts Paul is a talented author who has written a thought provoking book with meaningful characters and an intriguing story line that is both heart warming and real.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Bennett

    Please check out Electrifying Reviews for more reviews like this, plus giveaways, interviews, and more! I was weary of reading Stay With Me. I didn't know if it was at all going to be something I'd enjoy, but I decided that I'd give it a shot anyway. Despite my reservations, I soon found myself attached to the story enough to want to continue and finish the book, however it isn't a book I'm particularly fond of enough to say I loved it or to recommend it to everyone I meet. I did enjoy it, howeve Please check out Electrifying Reviews for more reviews like this, plus giveaways, interviews, and more! I was weary of reading Stay With Me. I didn't know if it was at all going to be something I'd enjoy, but I decided that I'd give it a shot anyway. Despite my reservations, I soon found myself attached to the story enough to want to continue and finish the book, however it isn't a book I'm particularly fond of enough to say I loved it or to recommend it to everyone I meet. I did enjoy it, however, and am sure that there is an audience that's more suited for this book than I. This book is very unique to me in that the characters are very flawed. Typically in YA, the protagonist and love interest are illustrated to appear nearly perfect. This is not the case in Stay With Me. It's not just that the characters lie or do some petty little thing that readers disagree with. That kind of thing would be fine and understandable. What one character in particular did (I'm trying to stay spoiler-free) disturbed me, and the other characters' reactions to it disturbed me even more. I don't know if it's okay to say that the characters are more justified in their actions because of their culture, but regardless I didn't like that aspect of the book, and that aspect ended up playing a crucial role for a large majority of the story. It was just messed up. Paul Griffin's writing didn't stand out to me particularly. To be fair, I listened to Stay With Me as an audiobook, but I feel like if there was anything outstanding I would have caught on and would be mentioning it now. But alas. Typically I don't have a preference for or against alternating POV, but I will say that I think it was effective in Stay With Me. It did give me a chance to sympathize with the characters more than I would have had this book been told from the perspective of only one of the characters, or from an objective viewpoint. Like I mentioned earlier, I wasn't fond of the characters' actions, but I can attest to the fact that the characters in Stay With Me have depth and were written well. I did find myself connecting to a few of the characters because they were written in a realistic way, but as I reflect on this book it's weird for me to say that because I disagree so strongly with the way they conducted themselves a lot of the time. A realistic picture of urban life or not (I'm not completely sure), Stay With Me was a book that more than anything disturbed me. It disturbs me even more to say that there were a lot of things about it that I enjoyed. If you're somebody who's more desensitized to violence and death and the like than I am, perhaps you'd be more okay with this book. I just feel morally inclined to say that it made me uncomfortable, despite the fact that it was written well.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emma K

    “Stay With Me” by Paul Griffin is a story about two teenagers living in the ghetto. One of the teenagers, Mack, has had a rough life. His mom died when he was young, leaving him with few memories of her. The only memories he has of her is her ability to train dogs. Mack has an incredible talent of working with and training dogs too. He’s nursed back to health dozens of dogs from dog fights and trained them so they could find a place to live. His dad, an alcoholic, is hardly ever home... If you c “Stay With Me” by Paul Griffin is a story about two teenagers living in the ghetto. One of the teenagers, Mack, has had a rough life. His mom died when he was young, leaving him with few memories of her. The only memories he has of her is her ability to train dogs. Mack has an incredible talent of working with and training dogs too. He’s nursed back to health dozens of dogs from dog fights and trained them so they could find a place to live. His dad, an alcoholic, is hardly ever home... If you can even call where they live a home. Mack sleeps on the floor with a sleeping bag. The landlord of the building where they live is a cruel man. The other teen is Cécé. She is a super smart girl, training for the Gifted and Talented program so she can get a scholarship to a private school. Her mom is also an alcoholic, but unlike Mack’s dad, she tries to be apart of Cécé’s life. Cécé works at a restaurant with her mom, and one day, Mack comes to work at the same restaurant. Between the two of them, it’s love at first sight. For a month, the two of them are in blissful happiness, always together. Their love would’ve gone on forever if Mack hadn’t lost it when his landlord purposely fed his dog anti-freeze so that she would die. Mack is so enraged by this that he looses all control of himself and subconsciously kills the him. Mack ends up in prison, leaving Cécé heartbroken. Mack refuses to see her when she visits him in jail and won’t take her phone calls, trying to protect her from hurt while he’s in jail. “Stay With Me” was well written because the wording of the story worked well to get across it’s point... It was easy for me to tell that Griffin is exceptional at writing dramatic pieces, and “Stay With Me” was definitely full of drama. Griffin’s wording really succeeded in bringing the feelings that Cécé and Mack had to the readers lap. “Stay With Me” was written vaguely, Griffin expected his readers to pick up on his ambiguous writing, which I was able to do after becoming accustomed to the way it was written. I definitely think that this book is worth reading. I rate “Stay With Me” 41/2 stars. I loved this book, the way it was written, how the author was able to evolve the characters and their emotions, the setting... I felt like I was each characters best friend because I knew them so well. I took off half of a point because this book had a depressing twist when Mack ended up in jail. Usually, when books have hardship in them, it’s hard for me to go to that mentally dark spot because I try to shade myself of bad things in the world. Books with distressing plots don’t usually stick out in my mind because I like to surround myself with positive things.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Celine

    Review originally posted in: http://forget8me8not.blogspot.com.au/... Cover: The cover totally represents the story! I like how the dog is in the middle, between the guy and the girl. It feels as if the dog is one of the main reasons how they both got together or connected to each other! Story: They come and go, but will you stay? Stay With Me is a heart-breaking beautiful story of two different teenagers who find love unexpectedly. This book is more than just a love story. It's about understanding y Review originally posted in: http://forget8me8not.blogspot.com.au/... Cover: The cover totally represents the story! I like how the dog is in the middle, between the guy and the girl. It feels as if the dog is one of the main reasons how they both got together or connected to each other! Story: They come and go, but will you stay? Stay With Me is a heart-breaking beautiful story of two different teenagers who find love unexpectedly. This book is more than just a love story. It's about understanding yourself, believing yourself, accepting your life and overcoming your weaknesses. Stay With Me is written from Mack and Cece's POVs. I really enjoyed reading from both POVs and understanding each of them more as the story goes. The book is well-written. Not only did I enjoy reading the story and the developing relationship, this book also explores the beauty of dogs. I have to admit, I am really scared of dogs, like Cece, but as I read the book, I find myself knowing more about dogs' behaviour and what it means. That perhaps dogs are not so scary after all and as the saying goes: dogs are a man's bestfriend! The ending pleased me although it is sad. I do understand how the book ends that way though! Characters: I adore the character. They are so realistic and they felt real to me. I connected with them, felt their pain and their sadness. Cece is somehow similar to me. She's a student, she studies hard for school but she's scared of dogs. She was attacked by a dog when she was young (not that I was ever attacked by a dog before) but that makes Cece scared of dogs. When she meets Mack, she finds herself starting to gather the courage to finally interact with dogs and it is Mack who helps her to understand dogs more. I feel really sad for Mack. He's a gentle guy who loves dogs so much he's willing to fight those who dares hurt dogs. He's a high school drop out so he's not well-educated. The interesting thing is that he's also very passionate about dish-washing. He washes dishes so cleanly that the manager of the restaurant where he works at is very impressed! Cece and Mack truly belong together. Their bittersweet moments are simply beautiful. Overall: Stay With Me is a poignant novel about understanding yourself, believing yourself, accepting your life and overcoming your weaknesses. This book explores the love between two completely different people who bonded over their fear and love for dogs. If you love dogs or are even scared of dogs like me, you should try reading this book! Who knows it might change the way you see dogs after you finish the book? Thank you Text Publishing for the review copy!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara Latta

    A Love Story for Dog Lovers “A hundred and two days.” So begins Paul Griffin’s young adult novel, “Stay With Me” (Dial Books, 2011). That’s probably about the length of the average teenage romance, Griffin writes, but the relationship between Mack Morse and Céce Vaccuccia is anything but average. Mack is a shy fifteen year-old high school dropout with a learning disability and a criminal record. His mother has been AWOL since he was eight, driven away by his brutal, alcoholic father. But he has g A Love Story for Dog Lovers “A hundred and two days.” So begins Paul Griffin’s young adult novel, “Stay With Me” (Dial Books, 2011). That’s probably about the length of the average teenage romance, Griffin writes, but the relationship between Mack Morse and Céce Vaccuccia is anything but average. Mack is a shy fifteen year-old high school dropout with a learning disability and a criminal record. His mother has been AWOL since he was eight, driven away by his brutal, alcoholic father. But he has gift: he has a way with dogs. He rescues, rehabilitates, and trains abused and abandoned fighting dogs. Fifteen year-old Céce is no child of privilege, either; she lives with her loopy mother and brother, just barely making ends meet. But their goodbyes always end with, “Love you like a crazy person,” and Céce is a straight-A student hoping to be able to transfer to a school for the gifted and talented. Written in chapters that alternate between Mack’s and Céce’s points of view, “Stay With Me” is the story of the star-crossed teens’ 102-day romance. Mack is strong-armed into looking out for Céce by her brother (who also happens to be Mack’s friend) when he enlists in the Army. Despite a rocky start, the two are soon a couple, and they begin to dream of a future together. Mack is training a rescued pit bull that he calls Boo. He hopes to gives it to Céce, who has grown to love the dog. And then Mack makes a terrible mistake, and suddenly their future together is impossible. Griffin has such a way with characters. Mack is deeply conflicted and struggles with his anger, yet he has a huge heart. His tenderness and love for Céce and his dogs is touching. Céce is funny, insecure about her weight (one of the things I love about Mack is that he doesn’t seem to notice that she’s a little overweight), and cares deeply about her family. Even the supporting characters are complex and memorable. Anthony, Céce’s older brother, and Vic, the kind-hearted owner of the café where they work, are steady moral compasses throughout the story. Céce’s mother dyes her hair crazy colors, drinks too much, and bakes inedible holiday-themed cornbread to cope with the anxiety of her son’s impending deployment. “Stay With Me” contains sexual themes and some violent scenes that make it appropriate for older teens. The book does not have a “happily-ever-after” ending, but it is full of heart, redemption, and hope for a better future. It may just make you want to take in a rescue dog. Advance review copy provided by the publisher. This review originally published in The News-Gazette, Sunday, October 9, 2011.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Hamby -8

    In Stay With Me, Paul Griffin tells a lively story of Mack Morse, a troubled 17 year old boy, and Céce Vacuccia, a very smart & educated 15 year old girl. Mack gets a job at the same place Céce works, and doesn't do much talking. They are two very opposite people as he is a high-school drop out that has been in juvy, and she is a nice, shy girl. Céce's brother eventually sets them up as he leaves for the army, and from there on out they have a nice fantasy love story with a dog they rescued. But In Stay With Me, Paul Griffin tells a lively story of Mack Morse, a troubled 17 year old boy, and Céce Vacuccia, a very smart & educated 15 year old girl. Mack gets a job at the same place Céce works, and doesn't do much talking. They are two very opposite people as he is a high-school drop out that has been in juvy, and she is a nice, shy girl. Céce's brother eventually sets them up as he leaves for the army, and from there on out they have a nice fantasy love story with a dog they rescued. But as soon as Mack makes the mistake of his life it is all gone in the blink of an eye. To me Paul Griffin did a very well job at coming up with the completely different personalities of both Céce and Mack, and how compatible they were. He really brought both characters to life by having different sections tell their side of the story, and their thoughts. Something that I think the author should have done differently was sort of slowly ease into the completely different mood of the story instead of it all changing in just a matter of less than a day. As for the characters, almost all of them had something terrible happen to them, or had a tragedy that left them broken in the end. Everyone seemed to be sad, so I think that Paul Griffin should have made some characters a little different, and then the story wouldn't be so depressing. I think the author's purpose for writing this text is for people to understand that you should always look for meaning and hope because the person that you love might come back. My overall rating of the book Stay With Me is a 4/5 because I liked the set up and the story line of the book, but I couldn't feel what all the characters felt since they are so sad. I would recommend this book to teenagers, and older because of the book being realistic-fiction it can happen to anyone. That way if someone reads it they might feel very connected and understanding towards it. As for what kind of reader, definitely someone who likes a little twist to happen to the story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    bjneary

    Loved, loved, loved this book! I loved Paul Griffin's Mack Morse and the slow way he is drawn to CeCe (even though her older brother Anthony sees them together)but this is a very tough book to read; at one point I was so unsettled, I was unsure if I wanted to continue to read. I am so glad I did! Mack has a record, he doesn't look you in the eye, and he has a father who is mostly drunk (that is why mom left)but Anthony sees the good in Mack and it is this good that the reader must constantly go Loved, loved, loved this book! I loved Paul Griffin's Mack Morse and the slow way he is drawn to CeCe (even though her older brother Anthony sees them together)but this is a very tough book to read; at one point I was so unsettled, I was unsure if I wanted to continue to read. I am so glad I did! Mack has a record, he doesn't look you in the eye, and he has a father who is mostly drunk (that is why mom left)but Anthony sees the good in Mack and it is this good that the reader must constantly go back to because Mack is his own worst enemy in some ways. But the things I loved the most about Mack is his LOVE for pit bulls and the uncanny way he has of calming them and his deep, abiding love for CeCe. Their relationship was so beautiful; they tell each other their secrets and give of themselves totally for each other. I needed to remember this throughout this story because when bad things happened (and they happened alot)I was plunged to the depths of despair for this 15 year old boy, who is not a student due to dyslexia, and can't seem control his rage on his own. It is the wonderful pit bulls that Griffin uses to heal Mack and CeCe and later her family. The other characters like CeCe's mom and Vince are so real. Vince sees Mack as a dog trainer and works to make Mack believe he can truly succeed in this profession. CeCe's mom is a mess; she loves her family but handles stress by drinking, coloring her hair and baking most bad cornbread. What I liked about Griffin's characters is that they all see the goodness in Mack even if he doesn't see it in himself and it is this abiding belief in him as a person they love and believe in that must sustain them all. I think this urban fiction will appeal to girls, guys and the reluctant reader. Also the dog lover, especially those who love the pit bulls, despite their bad rap. This book is a romance, realistic, and a stunning YA novel I will be recommending to my students.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bailey (IB Book Blogging)

    All I have to say is--WOW. I am still in awe of how beautifully crafted Stay With Me is. It is such an emotional roller coaster ride! The love between Céce and Mack is so raw and powerful. What I love best about this book is that there are serious issues that Céce and Mack have to deal with and I was never certain whether or not they could be worked out. If you are looking for a lovey-dovey, typical romance, this is not the book for you. But if you want a story that has a love that is pure and t All I have to say is--WOW. I am still in awe of how beautifully crafted Stay With Me is. It is such an emotional roller coaster ride! The love between Céce and Mack is so raw and powerful. What I love best about this book is that there are serious issues that Céce and Mack have to deal with and I was never certain whether or not they could be worked out. If you are looking for a lovey-dovey, typical romance, this is not the book for you. But if you want a story that has a love that is pure and true between two broken characters, you are in for a heck of a ride! Mack is a very conflicted guy who has a huge heart. I fell for him from page one! There were so many times that I just wanted to run into the book and give him a great big hug for all that he suffers through. Luckily, Céce is there to help him heal and give him a life worth living. Let's not forget Boo the pitbull whom Mack takes in. I do love a guy that has such a soft spot for dogs!! I was so heartbroken for both him and Céce when he made such a HUGE mistake that ruins their chances for a future with each other. Céce has just as tough a life as Mack does but at least she has her brother. Her moments with Mack make her feel more alive and she falls hard for him. I can totally see why she would fall in love with Mack. While he does have a record, he doesn't pretend not to and is determined to be someone who Céce can feel proud to be with. Mack treats her like a princess and I loved that. Céce and Mack were perfect for each other. I really can't describe just how much I adore this novel. Some truly terrible and sad things happen to Céce and Mack but the way they handle them is admirable. And their love for each other radiated from the pages. Griffin has written a wonderfully complex story that will leave you guessing at what happens next.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sab H. (YA Bliss)

    Holy cow! This was gruesome. And POTENT. Hell, it frekin' hit me in the gut. HARD. Auch. But it was AH-mazing!! I had never read anything by this author before. This was a step-out-of-your-comfort-zone read all over. From the writing to the setting, and from the characters to the story. Step out of your comfy apartment and step into the black world of the streets. A whole new reality for me. Griffin made everything come alive. Every single character was unique and perfectly done. Impeccable sett Holy cow! This was gruesome. And POTENT. Hell, it frekin' hit me in the gut. HARD. Auch. But it was AH-mazing!! I had never read anything by this author before. This was a step-out-of-your-comfort-zone read all over. From the writing to the setting, and from the characters to the story. Step out of your comfy apartment and step into the black world of the streets. A whole new reality for me. Griffin made everything come alive. Every single character was unique and perfectly done. Impeccable setting. Insanely gut-wrenching. Like, clawed-my-heart-out kind. I was so emotionally invested from the start that I could literally not let go of the book. And not because I couldn't stop reading--it's not really action packed-- but I just didn't want to. How can I, when the characters followed me around in my head. I swear it was haunting in a whole new way. So just to be clear, it is dark and raw and comes straight from the ghetto neighborhoods we sometimes fear. This is just to say that there is pretty explicit sex, crimes, and uh, just a bit of everything. But I think it's a love story like no other. Not just a love story between two characters but also a love story with a passion. And I loved Mack and all, but if you don't fall for Anthony, you are made of stone. Please someone go find Anthony for me! He was just... wow. I also have to add that the cover is perfect. It fits the story so well and it captures the essence of the whole plot on a single picture. Which is exactly what every cover should be. Overall, I loved this book way too much. With its weird down-to-the-point writing and eerily realistic characters, I'd say it falls in with my faves of 2011.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Kosiner

    This is a very fast paced story that deals with tough but real life issues. It is gritty, and I recommend for mature teens. The characters are very believable, down to earth and authentic, and even though I didn't relate a whole lot with some of their circumstances, I really felt for them and wanted for them to come out on top. Tony and Vic are two of the minor characters who really got to me.. Their ability to see the best in people, work to bring it out, and selflessly give really impressed This is a very fast paced story that deals with tough but real life issues. It is gritty, and I recommend for mature teens. The characters are very believable, down to earth and authentic, and even though I didn't relate a whole lot with some of their circumstances, I really felt for them and wanted for them to come out on top. Tony and Vic are two of the minor characters who really got to me.. Their ability to see the best in people, work to bring it out, and selflessly give really impressed me and I loved seeing their hearts. The main characters Cece and Mack, true to the back cover's description are two very different people, and it is awesome how they see the best in the other and how they are able to connect on that real level. Because of this and the nature of teenage relationships, quickly formed and deeply felt, I am able to buy into the fast paced nature of their physical relationship as well as the attachments they feel. This book doesn't give the rosy happy ending... but it feels so authentic and heart-breaking while at the same time feeling the buds of hope for real change and possibilities for the characters makes it perfect and fitting.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Wetterholt

    Cece and Mack are two teens who meet while working in a small busy restaurant in an unnamed big city (which I took to be New York). Cece is a gifted student, and Mack is a "bad boy" with anger-management issues, an arrest record, and a knack for training dogs. They become a couple, and their relationship is immediately tested by an incident of rage that lands Mack in jail. Written from alternating points of view, with well-drawn characters, insightful writing and a strong plot that plays up the Cece and Mack are two teens who meet while working in a small busy restaurant in an unnamed big city (which I took to be New York). Cece is a gifted student, and Mack is a "bad boy" with anger-management issues, an arrest record, and a knack for training dogs. They become a couple, and their relationship is immediately tested by an incident of rage that lands Mack in jail. Written from alternating points of view, with well-drawn characters, insightful writing and a strong plot that plays up the virtue of belief in oneself, this novel should get some Printz Award attention. “Stay With Me” is an eminently championable book. I think one thing that contributes to its power is the fact that even though Cece and Mack are both neighborhood insiders, they are also both outsiders. Cece's scholarship stands out in a milieu where, face it, good grades aren't the first thing on people's minds, and Mack does have a good heart despite his delinquent tendencies…and then there’s the dog angle. Yin and yang, night and day, good and evil…but what is evil? There’s good within everyone and everything.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    First of all, I love dogs. That's mostly what got my attention when I found this book. Also, the summary made it sound like Perfect Chemistry, which was really good. So I wanted to give it a try. It was pretty raw. I knew right from the beginning that I was going to like it. It wasn't until later when I got into the story more that I found out how complex it was and how real it could be. It's not your typical love story and I really liked that. It's realistic. I didn't come from a background at al First of all, I love dogs. That's mostly what got my attention when I found this book. Also, the summary made it sound like Perfect Chemistry, which was really good. So I wanted to give it a try. It was pretty raw. I knew right from the beginning that I was going to like it. It wasn't until later when I got into the story more that I found out how complex it was and how real it could be. It's not your typical love story and I really liked that. It's realistic. I didn't come from a background at all like any of the characters, so I had to ease my way into that. But Mr. Griffin does a good job of describing everything so you can understand their world. The narratives give you a good idea of who they are and even displays their voices differently. I have huge respect for that.

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