Magan: Stay with Me by Paul Griffin

books about boy going to jail, books about young boy killing a man, books about dogs

Stay with Me by Paul Griffin
Release Date: September 8, 2011
Pages: 304
Target Audience: Young Adult
How I found out about it: It was on the new releases shelf at my local library.
Format: Hardcover from the library.

Summary:  Cece and Mack are the two most unlikely fifteen-year-olds to fall in love; Cece is a motivated, brilliant student and Mack is a high-school drop out with a record. They’re figuring out how perfect they are for one another when things suddenly go wrong when Mack makes a terrible mistake that separates them forever.


I didn’t know much about Stay with Me when I picked it up from the library. I’ll be honest and say that it was a brand new book and I got really excited to be the first person to read the crisp, new pages. I was immediately caught up in the story becauseStay With Me was told from Mack and Cece’s perspective. I thought the prologue was the climax of the story, therefore I’d know exactly which day everything changed in Mack and Cece’s relationship.

Boy was I wrong.

When the climax of the story hit, Cece and Mack were at the height of their relationship. Each of them was struggling to understand what the other person saw in them. Mack didn’t understand how such a beautiful girl could overlook that he dropped out of school and had spent some time in jail. Cece is brilliant, but maybe carries a few more pounds than she should, and can’t see how a guy as good-looking as Mack would want her.  Everyone (but Mack) sees the good in Mack and believes that he will make something of himself.

Until the day that it all goes downhill and Mack does something that rips him away from Cece.

Cece is left waiting on Mack to show up, but he has no way to let her know what happened. Mack begins to think that Cece will be better off if she just continues to live her life and forget he ever existed.  I can’t tell you what happens. I just can’t. But I will say that Stay With Me evoked a strong moral struggle inside of me. I was rooting so much for Mack and Cece, but knowing what happened – if it happened in real life – there would be no perfect ending for them.

Stay with Me is a beautiful story about two people who live very different lives than me. It’s a story about redemption and how sometimes we make choices and do things that can utterly change the course of our lives. I loved the side story of the pit bulls. I’m a huge dog lover and Mack has this way with dogs – taking strays or those left to die after fights, nursing them back to life, and training them to be well-behaved animals.  The story of the dogs parallels Mack’s life so well – he’s been abandoned by his mother, left beat down by his dad, and he doesn’t believe he can do anything good in his life. He does make a wrong decision and does something so incredibly life-altering, but like the dogs – there’s hope that he can be redeemed.

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6 thoughts on “Magan: Stay with Me by Paul Griffin

  1. elena says:

    I’ve seen this book before and now the burning curiosity of what Mack did comes back to me. I want to knowwwww. May or may not been like, “TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS!” and then I saw, “I can’t tell you what happens. I just can’t.” Maybe my curiosity will lead me to actually read the book.

  2. Melissa Walker says:

    I just read this one too, and I LOVED it! I thought Paul was so brave to really go there with what happened… ack! It tore me up, and felt really emotionally on-point. Glad you liked it too!

  3. VeganYANerds says:

    I’ve always wondered about this book because it’s so animal focused so I was really pleased to find you’d read, reviewed it and enjoyed it! I really like the comparison between Mack’s life as well as the dogs he rescues 😉

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