(Terrifying yet Beautiful): Stay With Me by Maureen McCarthy

(Terrifying yet Beautiful): Stay With Me by Maureen McCarthyStay With Me by Maureen McCarthy

Published by Allen & Unwin on May 1st 2015
Genres: General, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

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Try to leave and I'll find you.Tess is trapped in a desperate situation - her violent partner now threatening not just Tess, but their daughter as well.A chance meeting offers a way out, and a road trip back to the heart of Tess's past, and the family she's left behind. But can she ever trust again?An electrifying story from the bestselling author of The Convent.

Tess is desperate. She hasn’t spoken to her family in years, no one in town knows she exists and her partner’s lifestyle isn’t healthy for anyone – let alone Tess’ three year old daughter. Feeling alone and frightened, Tess does something drastic. She hitches a ride with a half-blind one legged former musician with no real plan except to be as far away as possible.

Stay With Me is a beautifully written, heartfelt and heartbreaking story about one woman’s journey home. This is a book which will stay with me (no pun intended) for a long time. I think it’s a testament to the author that for most of this book I was whole heartedly afraid for Tess and her daughter. The danger they are in is palpable and I loved the emotions I felt whilst reading their story.

This book is realistic new adult fiction at its best. Tess is twenty one and already feels trapped by the decisions she made. She alienated herself from her family for a much older boy in a town thousands of kilometers away. She has a little girl who depends on Tess for everything and a partner who is handy with his fists. Haunted by her family’s past, Tess makes the difficult decision to try and find her way back and find a future.

Tess’ past, an ancestor with whom she shares a name and Tess’ current situation are interwoven beautifully to deliver a rich and emotional read. I was surprised to like Tess as much as I did. She’s very much a victim of life yet despite everything she’s not defeated. Nell, her daughter, was the quintessential toddler complete with darling moments and times when she is just fed up with everything. Harry, their getaway driver, was almost too good to be true yet he was a perfect addition to the story.

Stay With Me was a pleasure to read. Vividly realistic, heartbreaking and terrifying all at the same time – this beautiful novel was gripping and a must read for fans of well written intelligent young adult fiction.


Many thanks to Allen and Unwin for the review copy. 

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