BLOG REVIEW: If I Stay by Evan Reeves

22y.o. college senior is instantly attracted to the man who is reading his poem at a college bar. 
Their attraction is mutual and they spend the night together in 26y.o. Hero’s hotel room, not doing as much as heroine would’ve liked to do.  
It was a big surprise to both when he walks in her literature class as her substitute professor. 
They agree to stay within their professor-student boundaries until the semester is over & she graduates.  But it doesn't change their feelings for each other. Their relationship gets more complicated with rivals for heroine’s affection and Hero’s plans to temporarily move to another state.  Can they wait for the semester to be over to be together? How much time do they have together before they get separated again?

This book had a fairy-tale feel to it. A 21st-century New Adult fairy tale. Not that there were fairies or mythical creatures in the story, mind you. Hero did have a mysterious castle-like house on a hill. The feel of the story, characters, & romance had this other-worldly, feel-good quality.  And the theme of innocence & hope for good things in the midst of bad and the good actually wins out at the end. It may seem like a dichotomy to have this tale set in college & the characters were college students (except for professor Hero) but it worked. There were no villains in the story. There were minor rivals for both Hero & heroine's affections and no real risks to their romance. The 'bad' that separated Hero & heroine were their college roles. They pushed through the barriers to be together but without truly compromising Hero’s job and her student status.  I liked that they didn't passively accept their relationship limits but tried to danced around it to be as close as they could possibly be without breaking the rules. It showed their devotion to each other to take such risks and enough wisdom to not totally jeopardize their careers. And it paid off in the end. Everything fell into place naturally. Their friendships with others, their career directions, and their romance had happy & hope-filled endings. 

Another aspect that stood out for me in this book was the dialogue. The language and actions of the characters were typical of college students. And so were their dilemmas. Concerns about college housing, tight student budge, after-college career decisions, dating, and student loans. Their discussions about their dilemmas may be simply worded but they were deep in content. Their conversations were philosophical yet worded in an easy to understand and relatable manner. It made me think and it's depth resonated with me. Even when certain literature was mentioned (like during their love confessions), it was to make a point of how Hero & heroine felt about each other. I don't remember who some of those literary characters were but I got the point: they loved each other so, so much.

One thing I didn't understand though was Hero's reason for not giving in fully to their mutual attraction that first night together. He accepted a "tease" and it was never addressed as to why he could only do that. The sexual scenes were hot, albeit few. They served as teasers to heighten the sexual tension and our investment in their finally being together.  I liked how the culmination scenes had a more emotional quality to it compared to their first night together. It was consistent with the quality of their relationship. It may not be as hot as the first night but it was more emotionally intense.

I recommend this book
4-star





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