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Reviewed by Jennifer Leisey

Savannah “Van” Leone is downright miserable during the wedding of her best friend, Julie. But what else is expected, when Peter Clarke, Julie’s new groom, is the man who Savannah has loved since her freshman year of college. And when Julie’s mother tries to pay Van to keep away from the newlyweds, it’s clear that the only people who haven’t spoken about Van’s feelings are Van and Peter. Even Van’s mother, who passed away from cancer a few years prior, knew the truth.

Van returns home alone – her mother is gone, her best friends enjoying their honeymoon – and nurses her sorrows with vodka, Kool-Aid, and a Rin Tin Tin marathon. Angry at the world and too drunk to care, Van starts searching the web for German Sheppard puppies. After waking up the next morning wrapped around her toilet, Van realizes she spent six thousand dollars on a dog.

The “puppy” Van was expecting turns out to be Joe; a black, long-haired, 100-pound 6 month old German Sheppard who steals Van’s side of the bed and ultimately, her heart. Van tries desperately to learn how to live with her new furry roommate with the help of Joe’s vet, Dr. Alex Brand, who teaches Van the Slovakian commands and leash skills for Joe.

An enormous canine that has the home owner’s association at her condo livid, the possibility of a new love interest, and mourning the loss of both Peter and her mother have quickly thrown Van’s world upside down. And soon, she realizes that just when you think life can’t get any more complicated . . . it inevitably does.

Stay was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. With three dogs running my own household, I immediately fell in love with Joe’s unconditional spirit and charismatic personality. An easy but so very fulfilling story of friendship, love, and loss that’s reminiscent of Marley & Me and Something Borrowed (see our review), Larkin’s novel takes less than a day to read, but will stick with you for much longer.

Rating: 4.5/5

Since graduating from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Professional Writing, Jenn works as a freelance writer, poet, and blogger at south of sheridan. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, and loves baking, crafting, and anything that requires a hot glue gun.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Plume. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.