Monday, February 24, 2014

(16)And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay

Pages: 240
Publication Date: January 28, 2014


The year is 1995 and seventeen-year-old Emily Beam is just a shell of herself when she is sent to the Amherst School for Girls.  Her parents believe that the school that once taught Emily Dickinson will be the proper place for her to heal from the tragedy that rocked her world and her community.  Even though Emily knows the boarding school is the kind of place that will help her reach her goal of getting into Harvard, she is not sure she deserves such a place after what just happened.   The atmosphere at the Amherst School for Girls is haunting, yet restorative.  With the help of a few misfit girls and the spirit of Emily Dickinson, Emily Beam uses poetry to help herself heal, but is it enough to help her get passed what happened?

And We Stay is a beautiful story told in the voice of a terrified and damaged young lady.  The story is told with every other chapter being a poem that Emily writes after being inspired by the prolific Emily Dickinson.  And the poetry DOES help Emily get out the grief, guilt, and other emotions that she has bubbling up inside of her.  I loved the setting of the New England boarding school and it was fascinating how much Emily Dickinson was an important part of the story.  If you read the publisher's synopsis of the book you already know what was the tragedy that happened, (no spoilers from me) but you don't know why.  And as the story (and poetry) starts to unfold Emily shares the reason why and you can really start to understand her guilt. And her pain.  It is gut wrenching. I was torn between blame and compassion.  Part of me blamed her for what happened and the other part of me just wanted to scoop her up and protect her from the pain.

Bottom line, And We Stay is one of those thought provoking stories that is likely to send you straight to Google the real life poet, Emily Dickinson.   The two Emily's are wonderfully written about in this novel and their stories will captivate you.   There are some sensitive themes in And We Stay, so I would caution you to preview the book before allowing anyone under the age of sixteen to read the book, but know that it is definitely worth the read!

2 comments:

Beth Hoffman said...

I have never heard of this book, but your review is wonderful and I'll definitely put this one on my list!

Charlotte's Web of Books said...

Enjoy!

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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