STAY WITH ME – by Paul Griffin

Stay with me by Paul Griffin is one of those books that ‘stays with you’, long after you’ve turned the final page. There’s so much to think about. It’s a story of first love, but so much more.

Paul Griffin brings together an unlikely and lovable trio: a gifted student, a high school dropout with a talent for training dogs, and a pitbull dog named Boo.

15 year-old Mack is the new delivery guy at the place where Céce works. Anthony, Céce’s older brother has signed up for the army and encourages a relationship between the two teens, knowing that his sister will need someone while he’s gone.

Pretty soon Mack and Céce’s lives are permanently intertwined and it seems that nothing will be able to tear their love apart. But then something happens to rock their world and things can never be the same again.

Stay with me is about two teens discovering their real gifts and who they really are, and that some things can’t be changed no matter how much you want them to be.

Paul Griffin’s storytelling skills are gripping. He is a master of tension. Just when you think things will be okay for the main characters, he introduces something you think they can never recover from.

There are some pretty dark issues covered in this book yet it’s still full of hope and optimistic characters who temper the intensity of the darker moments.

Paul Griffin’s damaged teens are so realistically depicted that it was no surprise to me to discover that the author also works as a teacher, mostly with at-risk kids in high schools and juvenile detention centres.

There’s a great blend of characters in this book, and each one has been seamlessly developed so that they seem like real people and you feel and believe exactly what they’re going through.

Humour and humanity help build the tension as the stakes for both main characters just seem to get higher as the book moves on.

Stay with me is told from the POV of both main characters, Mack and Céce and this provides an intimate perspective for the reader. It also provides a realistic insight into the way teen boys and girls think so differently.

Beautiful use of language and  great characterisation draw you into the worlds of Mack and Céce.

The door opens, and this guy comes in, kind of tall, clean cut, definitely nice-looking, but there’s something wrong with him. He strikes me as both wounded and perhaps a little dangerous.

Stay with me is a gripping read for young adults, but I can see it also being enjoyed by much older readers.

Stay with me is published by The Text Publishing Company.