Review: Stay by Allie Larkin

Stay by Allie Larkin
Release Date: July 26th, 2011
Publisher: Plume (Penguin)
Page Count: 311
Source: Read for fun; for summer read challenge

Savannah “Van” Leone has been in love with Peter Clarke ever since she literally fell head over heels in front of him on the first day of college. Now, six years later, instead of standing across from him at the altar, Van’s standing behind her best friend Janie as maid of honor, trying to mask her heartache and guilt as Janie marries the only man Van’s ever loved. Before, Van’s mother died, she told Van never to let Peter go, but as the couple exchanges vows, Van wonders if her fairy tale ending will ever come true. After the wedding, Van drowns her sorrows in Kool-Aid-vodka cocktails and reruns of Rin Tin Tin, and does what any heartbroken woman in her situation would do: She impulsively buys a German Shepherd over the Internet. The pocket-size puppy Van is expecting turns out to be a clumsy, hundred-pound beast who only responds to commands in Slovak, and Van is at the end of her rope… until she realizes that this quirky giant may be the only living being who will always be loyal to her, no matter what. Van affectionately names her dog Joe, and together, they work to mend the pieces of Van’s shattered heart. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Joe’s vet is a rugged sweetheart with floppy blond hair and a winning smile. But when the newlyweds return from their honeymoon, Van is forced to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to have everything she ever wanted, proving that sometimes life needs to get more complicated before it can get better.

Warm and witty, poignant and funny, Stay is an unforgettable debut that illuminates the boundlessness of love and marks the arrival of an irresistible new voice.

Review: This is a contemporary novel that is heartwarming and an enjoyable read. Stay made me both laugh and cry. Van overcame the loss of who she thought was the love of her life by ordering a “puppy” online from overseas. Imagine her surprise that her puppy is bigger upon arrival than expected. The antics Joe gets in and the bond Van and Joe create kept me turning the pages. I definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading others by this wonderful new author.

Quote: Alec had painted the outline of a heart on the wall in a beautiful deep red. “It’s beautiful”, I said. I gave him a little jab in the ribs. “Is this how you get the ladies, going around painting hearts on their walls? Did Louis tell you to do that?”
“Nope”, Alex said laughing, “I thought of it all by myself.” He filled in the heart with more paint. “Do you really like it?”
I wrapped my arms around his waist. “I love it.”


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