“I’ll Stay” by Karen Day


By Karen Day

Karen Day is an author well-known for the great novels she has written for middle-grade readers. But in this, her first novel written for adults, she does a stunning job of bringing to life a complex, emotional, and highly suspenseful tale.

Split into three parts covering the years 1983, 1986 and 1991, readers follow Clare Michaels when, during her senior year, she and three others (including her best friend, Lee) head to Florida for spring break to unwind and have the time of their lives. Like all college kids, Clare and Lee want to have an adventure. What occurs, however, leaves Clare escaping a situation that turned out to be nothing short of a horror film.

It’s no wonder that Lee has lost all of her exuberance. She went from a strong young woman who was ready to take on the world to a withdrawn, quiet person who wants to hide from everyone and everything. Clare has her own guilt for this, of course, because she chose to run…even though she knew things about her best friend’s past that she now regrets knowing. The guilt is a burden, the pain is a burden, and Clare seems to get hit with depression everywhere she turns. Even her own mother, a woman who has just created a bestselling novel, is a high-strung lady who is more like fingernails on a chalkboard to Clare than anything else.

As the novel moves from year to year, readers watch the toll that one Florida night takes on them, and how Clare must come to face what she really did way back then and how on earth she is going to gain forgiveness from a best friend whose life deserved to be better.

This plot is so well-written that the new adult fans of Karen Day will want many more titles in the future.

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