Author: Elyssa Patrick
Release Date: August 30, 2013
Publisher: Elyssa Patrick (Thank you!)
Description: 270 pages, New Adult with Crossover Appeal
I’ve been famous since I can remember. Singing, acting, dancing—I’ve done it all. The tabloids cover my every move, but I don’t want that anymore. I want to be normal, whatever that is.
When I leave Hollywood for college in Vermont, I’m on my own for the first time in my life. This is my chance to figure out who I am and what I want in life.
But it’s a lot harder than I expected. I can’t escape my image. Classes are difficult, and I’m struggling. And then there’s Caleb Fox.
Sexy, intriguing Caleb Fox.
Caleb is the one man who doesn’t want to use me. He breaks down my walls. He challenges me. He wants me. And I just don’t know if I can give him the same—or if he’ll stick around when he finds out my shameful secret that the tabloids haven’t managed to uncover.
Dating him is risky enough, but loving him could break me.
Behind Closed Doors
Before anything else, let me just tell you that I had, accidentally on purpose, decided to eschew and desist anything even parenthetically related to the New Adult genre. I always did think books declassified as such had little to offer, because they seemed to me like ordinary Contemporary novels, with a little more seduction and sensuality, none of which do I find particularly appealing (considering my age and non-experience). After requesting for, and reading this book however, I found some of my life views notably altered. Stay With Me is a fun and light read, that brings to light the experiences of a celebrity who wants for once, to stay out of the spotlight, and give herself a chance to feel more like a human being, and less like a walking investment. While I found it hard to relate to most of the scenes, I was able to appreciate the raw emotions of the characters. I found myself, quite reasonably, hankering for a little more conflict, misunderstanding, strife, anything ruinous that would’ve made the book more powerful and electrifying. I was not entirely sold, just somehow impressed without reservation (considering my earlier apprehensions) as many of the scenes were fun and humorous, and the many of the characters were imperfect and mischievous, but real and charismatic. The delivery of the more intimate scenes were also considerably less of a discomfort than I had forespoken– I actually found myself looking forward to the tender and mushy moments that to some would have been too soppy and cloying. However, I found that this book was able to deliver quite well, as the chemistry between Hailey and Caleb was something of a spectacle I took delight in.
Hailey was a celebrity that didn’t feel and act much like one. However, I don’t think I’m in any position to critique her behavior, because I am working with a stereotype for famous people, and one that may or may not ring much truth. However, she was unexpectedly down to earth for someone who thrived in the spotlight, and I was in disbelief when none of the students in her college seemed to take any notice of her presence, because her status should have commanded more attention. In that light, I was nonplussed by the nonsensical circumstances. Additionally, I was frazzled by her indecision, because half of her seemed to have an alarming aversion to men, while the other half held an alarming desire for one particular (gorgeous) man. I was also quite bothered by the immediate development in terms of her feelings for Caleb, and at times, the tension between them was so overwhelming, it was quite distressing. On the flip side, I found her hard to dislike– she was unrealistic, and atypical, but she seemed like a genuinely amiable and sweet-tempered person, who also had a lively and entertaining side, on and off stage. It was difficult to accept, but I somehow understood why Caleb had taken a liking to her in the first place. She should have second guessed his motives more than she did, considering the fact that she was famous and filthy rich, and he could have been just another hormonal gold-digger, but at least their relationship didn’t turn out to be too toxic (just a little too opportune).
The Risks and The Leaps of Faith
Caleb was an amazing character. Though at first I had my doubts, most of them were completely alleviated by the fact that he was just so damned exquisite. Now I’m not going to blame my soft spot for the swoon-worthy– I found Caleb genuinely appealing, not just because of his good looks (and the awkward fact that he was provocative, and something of a lady killer), but because of the careful way by which he handled Hailey, and the other people important to him. Though I really could have done with a big reveal that was a lot less predictable than it was, I was quite happy that Caleb decided on certain things rationally, and never acted spitefully. Though I come to the sorry conclusion that some of the book was too saccharine and ingratiating, I wasn’t complaining all that much about many of the characters. Caleb’s entire clique (two of which, Nick and Griff, will serve greater roles in the next With Me books) was quite refreshing and entertaining to read about. As torn as I am (forgive me) with my thoughts on this one, I honestly wouldn’t mind reading Go With Me and Dream With Me at all.
Tonight We Are Young
Because of the fact that this book was set in a contemporary world that has never been as interesting to me as one set in a fictional cosmos, I found this book quite lacking in terms of excitement (unless you count the sexual encounters, if you’re into that sort of thing). I found the development of the characters too abrupt, though mostly in terms of romance. However, I heartily approved of many of the scenes that unfolded between Hailey and Caleb, and I was in complete agreement with Hailey’s decision to think all of her actions through, and not hesitate to hesitate when needed. Despite the fact that the plot was largely driven by the emotions Hailey and Caleb spurred in each other, which I found unnecessary, I was able to appreciate the fact that Hailey’s problems with the press, and with her own mother, made her think more clearly and with more rationale. While I didn’t feel as threatened as I should have, I think that this book was able to introduce the characters well.
In that case, if you are a reader looking for a light and pleasant read against a distant backdrop of deceit and betrayal, then I do recommend this book. If you however, prefer your reads darker, and more ominous and suspenseful, I suggest you back away and stick to your own thing. Either way, this book was pretty solid. A talented author like Elyssa Patrick is definitely deserving of more attention as an author for a genre that is just beginning to set its name into stone.
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P.S. Because this book was an ARC opy that may yet be corrected and edited before publication, I will not include any direct quotes from the book.