Sixteen-year-old Leila Abranel was born some twenty years after her sisters. Her elegant sisters from her father’s first marriage have lives full of work, love affairs, and travel. Leila doesn’t know either of them very well, but she loves hearing about them—details of Rebecca’s ruined marriage, Clare’s first job, and the strings of unsuitable boyfriends.
When Rebecca kills herself, Leila wants to know why. She starts by spending time with Clare and finally comes to know her as a person instead of a story. With Clare’s reluctant help, Leila tracks down Rebecca’s favorite places and tries to find her sister’s friends. Along the way, Leila meets Eamon.Eamon is thirty-one and writes for television. He thinks Leila is beautiful and smart, but he does not, he tells her, date teenagers. And yet,
the months go by and Leila turns seventeen and learns that you can love someone you are not dating.
Maybe letting Eamon love her back is a mistake. Maybe she’ll never know why Rebecca did what she did. Maybe, Leila, decides, most people have a hard time figuring out which way is left or knowing when to let go and when to stay.
The book Stay With Me is a wonderful story about love and loss and how one can lead straight to the other. Leila Abranel feels that she has been left behind when her much older sister, Rebecca, decides to take her own life. Rebecca was 20 years older than Leila and they had just truly begun to get to know one another. Leila was beginning to feel like she could talk to Rebecca about things that she couldn’t talk to her parents about and then she overdosed on pills and ended any chance of a relationship Leila thought they might be able to have.
In the midst of the mourning and grief, Leila’s parents decide that it might be best if they went ahead as planned and moved to Poland for a year, only with a slight change. Since Leila is only 16 she was going to be staying with Rebecca while they were gone but now they must ask her other sister, Clare, if she could take care of her while they are gone.
Leila never really felt like she fit in with her other sisters but she felt like she fit more with Rebecca because Clare was more the smart, workaholic type. Leila is dyslexic and so has always had trouble fitting in and feeling like she belongs but once she moves in with Clare, they start to learn new things about the other and form a close, sisterly bond.
Raphael also helps take care of Leila while her parents are in Poland. His mother was married to their uncle before she met his father and so he is their semi-cousin. Raphael and Clare once had a relationship but it didn’t work for reasons that weren’t really mentioned. Shortly after Leila moves in with Clare, Clare breaks up with her boyfriend and then once again starts a relationship with Raphael, forming a type of family for Leila to rely on.
While, Leila has tried to move on from her sister’s death, she still feels like she is missing something and decides that she should try and find the reason Rebecca killed herself. In her quest for answers she gets a job at Cafe Acca, the last place she saw Rebecca. In a way Rebecca led Leila right to Eamon. Eamon is a 31 year old writer for TV shows and he immediately takes an interest in Leila, not knowing that she is only 16. Throughout the book Leila and Eamon go through many different phases and finally settle on dating even if other people think it is wrong of them.
In the end, Leila realizes that maybe Rebecca didn’t really have a reason for killing herself, maybe she just gave up. She knows that what Rebecca did was selfish and inexcusable. Rebecca was only thinking of herself, not the people she would be leaving behind. Leila finally learns that she doesn’t really need to know everything about her sister but that in her own way Rebecca led Leila right to her love, if not her great love then her great love for now.
Stay With Me is a story about coping with the sudden death of someone you love and how maybe you don’t get over that, maybe you just find new ways to shape your life around it.