Author: Courtney Cole
Publisher: Lakehouse Press
Release date: February 7, 2013
Connect with Courtney Cole: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.
He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.
But he’s got his reasons.
His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.
As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.
Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?
And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.
When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.
But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.
He knows that. And he’s working on it.
But is that enough to make her stay?
Please note, IF YOU STAY is not Young Adult. It is mature New Adult, with explicit scenes, language and some drug use.
Wow. I honestly have nothing else to say besides just that… wow. *takes deep breath* If You Stay is definitely (like… hands down) one of the heaviest and grittiest novels I’ve ever read. There was such a heavy load of pain and heartache that my heart really and seriously couldn’t even comprehend how to continue to pump oxygen and blood to the rest of my body. As much as it hurt, I live for these kind of books—the kind that just rips you to shreds and leave you wanting to shrivel up and crawl into a corner and live there for the rest of your life. If You Stay was dark and raw and Cole had such an honest portrayal of Pax’s life. Not only that but Cole’s writing and descriptiveness was just so mesmerizing to read. By chapter two, I knew that I was going to love this one; I got those tingly feels in my fingers that just told me this one was going to be something special.
First off, I’d like to give Courtney Cole a huge round of applause for writing that first chapter the way she did and for being real about it. It definitely was a risky thing to do and I think that chapter holds all the potential for the rest of the book—it could draw readers in and make them want to stick around for the ride or it could turn them away and make them never want to look back. For me, it was definitely the first; I was all, “Let’s do this baby, whoo!” As soon as my eyes landed on the first page, two feelings hit me hard and fast: shock and fascination. Immediately, I couldn’t draw my eyes away. Things happen right away and that feeling of shock doesn’t leave you for a while. I just remember thinking, “This shit is crazy!”
You have these two characters, Mila and Pax, who by destiny, fate, chance, luck, whatever you wanna call it, happen to meet in this situation that in a way, binds them together, although, bind isn’t really the word. After this initial meeting, their lives entwine in such a way that they help keep each other grounded. I love Mila’s character; she’s really sweet with a big heart and through her interactions with Pax, you find that she truly and genuinely cares. She meets Pax and right away, she can see through him, in a way. I love how she questions him, everything he says, and calls him out on it. Now, Pax, from the get-go, I loved him. He was such an intense character that was hard and guarded. I was so intrigued by him; I wanted to know why he was the way he was and I just wanted to read more and more about him. He is definitely a character that would be hard to forget. Their relationship was the cutest; he was all the bad and she was all the good yet they worked perfectly together.
When all the hidden secrets were revealed, I felt like I was hit by a freight train; I couldn’t believe it and my heart couldn’t take it. Remember Cole’s descriptiveness? Yeah, I really wanted to cover my eyes and just stop reading but at the same, I couldn’t because I needed to know. My heart was all over the place and I was about seven levels of shocked with three levels of heartache. It’s hard to really put into words just how much I absolutely and completely love this book. And I mean love-love; it’s one of those that stand out in its own limelight. Courtney Cole did an excellent job at delivering this story and I wouldn’t have wanted it told any other way. If You Stay is amazingly gruesome and if you don’t pick it up, you’d be missing out on a rare gem!