I think in all honesty, this book deserved a more average rating of 3 but I was inclined to go with a 4 out of 5 because I enjoyed meeting Joe and watching a bond grow between Van and Joe, her new "puppy."
Van has been in love with her best friend, Peter, since college. Unfortunately, he has been in love with her best friend, Janie, and now, they have just married. It's a standard chick lit type storyline basically. Van does the wallowing thing and in that wallowing, amidst some alcohol and Rin Tin Tin, she decides to order a German Shepard puppy off the internet. And oh yeah, this puppy is coming from Slovakia. $6,000 later, Van is in for a shock because her puppy is definitely not a cute ball of fur. He is a growing German Shepard who obeys Slovakian commands.
Let the hijinks begin! Joe, as he is christened, becomes the cause for many changes in Van's life, including meeting a new guy. But he is also the best friend she has, her only family. Then of course, Peter comes back into her life. The story then falls into some well known plot points making it fairly average in the will she or won't she, what will she really do, type of chick lit style.
What I liked about this story was the relationship between Van and Joe, even though he is a dog. I enjoyed Marley & Me and well, most dog stories so really, if you don't like dogs, you are not going to like this story. However, I did feel like he helped Van move forward a bit. It was kind of a one step forward, two steps back, but she was trying to change, trying to find her own path in life rather than wishing she was Peter's Janie. And frankly, I really liked how rude Janie was. She wasn't afraid of mincing words. She likes vodka Kool-Aid, she can't believe her dog crapped a huge one on her carpet, and her life is far from orderly. She does not have it all together and I could relate. I thought the author did a great job of conveying the pet/owner bond that springs up and that is what held my attention even as Peter dropped back into the picture, even as Van put her life on hold again. This is probably a more average story than I am giving it credit for but I read through it quickly and was engrossed. It was not a bad way to spend a few hours and I just love the cover. Allie Larkin has caught my attention and I would be inclined to see what other books she may publish.
So in short, this is an imperfect but enjoyable story. And if you like dogs (particularly more happy dog stories) I think you'll enjoy Stay.