Thursday 27 March 2014

#CBR6 Book 25: "Stay with Me" by Elyssa Patrick

Page count: 276 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Disclaimer! I was granted a copy of this through NetGalley. I have not recieved any kind of compensation for this review.

Hailey Bloom has been a movie star and a recording artist since she was a child, but has finally torn herself away from her controlling, manipulative, fame hungry mother and is pursuing her own dream of going to college. Not one of the really big famous ones, where she might still get lots of attention, but a small one in Vermont. She wants to stay out of the limelight, manage on her own and discover what she actually wants to do with her life. She's finding college more difficult than expected, and several of her professors seem to just be waiting for the spoiled teen starlet to fail. She's not having an easy time making friends.

She meets hunky Caleb Fox at a party, and he seems completely unphased by her fame. While Hailey doesn't really want any romantic entanglements, after a few run-ins with him, it's obvious that she can't stay away. His friends and room mates are handsome, charming and good natured, and welcome Hailey into their circle happily. Caleb's younger sister also proves to be both a good friend to her, and helps her out with tutoring so she can actually pass all her classes. But Hailey knows that her mother is unhappy about her decision to break away, and fears she may contact the press with juicy secrets that might make Hailey's life difficult indeed. Will Caleb still love her if he finds out her deepest, darkest secret?

The blurb for this book makes it seem a lot angstier and conflict filled than it is. I'm not going to spoil what Hailey's deep dark secret is, but I was pretty underwhelmed when it was finally revealed, considering how much agonising she'd done about it being revealed. Also, even if this wasn't a romance, with a guaranteed happy ending, Caleb would have had to be the world's most insensitive, dumbest and generally supremely unworthy of the hero tag to reject Hailey after the secret is revealed. Cause it's really not that big a deal, I promise.

It also seems as if the deep dark secret is in the book at all for the author to have some sort of tension in the relationship and the story, and as it is, it blows over instantly. I have no idea why Hailey's so worried. Caleb and all his friends seem to adore her and welcome her into their social circle with open arms. His youngest sisters are huge fans of hers but never behave obnoxiously towards her. His parents are warm, super supportive and invite her to family events like Thanksgiving and Christmas. She may have a harpy of a mother, but Hailey sure strikes gold when she goes to college. Apart from some slightly harsh comments from fellow students or lecturers who doubt her commitment to her education, everyone seems almost unnaturally nice at this little Vermont college. I wish I'd gone there. I was never a child star or celebrity with a deep dark secret, but feel that my time at University was more fraught with difficulty than what Hailey goes through here.

This story is basically girl with issues that are hinted at, but not really developed well enough by the author meets hunky, sensitive awesome guy with a great group of friends and an even greater family. They fall in love. They have quite a bit of sex. That's all there is here. It's not bad, but it's not exactly profound either. Because I really liked Caleb's little sister, Daphne, I may check out the next book in the series, where I'm assuming she will get together with Caleb's best friend. She pretty much stole every scene she was in, and I'm hoping that her story may have more to it than Hailey's.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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