Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2013/09/02/review-stay-with-me-by-elyssa-patrick/
The last NA book I read left a really bad taste in my mouth, but I like the genre more than I disliked that book. When I saw the cover and blurb for this book, I was intrigued enough to ask around, and decided to take a chance.
Hailey was a star before she could walk or talk. She sings, dances, acts, and absolutely hates being famous. She leaves it all behind for the chance to go to college. She is alienated by her best friend, and cursed by her money-grubbing mother. But college is the place she wants to be, so she finally takes a chance on doing something for herself.
Caleb never treats Hailey like the superstar she is, instead takes a chance to get to know the girl she wants to be. He supports her, brings her into his trustworthy group of friends, and helps her discover exactly who she is in this brand new world. But Hailey is keeping secrets, and she worries that she may not be able to keep Caleb once he hears it all.
I really liked Hailey’s character. I’ve been a fan of famous heroes and heroines for a long time, and I thought Patrick’s portrayal of Hailey was wonderful. She was a reluctant star, pushed into Hollywood by her crazy, overbearing bitch of a mother. I liked watching Hailey have to deal with the backlash of being famous. Watching her hide from young, cocky college jerks try and “bag THE Hailey Bloom.” I liked that once she finally was taken under Caleb’s wing, that she had the chance to make some real and genuine friends. Friends who wanted to get to know the girl behind the persona.
I really liked Caleb, I thought he was the perfect hero for Hailey. He knew what he wanted and he wasn’t afraid to fight for it. I liked that he didn’t pressure anything from Hailey, and instead gave her the chance to take the reins completely. It really showed a level of maturity that I expect to see in my NA books. The relationship that Caleb had with his friends and his sister also showcased what a great guy he was, and I loved all the different dynamics between everyone in the book.
Another key point to this book, for me at least, was the lack of overly drawn out angst. Yes, Hailey had a secret that was pretty shameful to her, and she feared it would implode her life. She was shocked to see that the people who mattered to her most didn’t really react to it as expected. Caleb and Daphne stood behind her, and kept the drama to a minimum. I thought it was an amazing way of showcasing just how much growth Hailey’s character was allowed to go through in order to really claim the life she wanted so desperately.
One of the things that I wish Patrick would have explored more was the relationship between Hailey and her mother. It was clear as day the woman was bat-shit crazy, but we never got to see any kind of confrontation between the two. I would have liked to see Hailey stand up to her mother and really claim her own life as part of her maturity. Hopefully we can see that in future books to come.
All in all I really enjoyed my first Patrick read. I thought the relationship between Hailey and Caleb was so well done. The romance was a combination of sweet and innocent and sexy and hot. While the supporting cast of characters is pretty large, I’m excited by the prospect of many books to come with this group of friends. I’m anxious to read more!
I give Stay With Me a B+