Eighteen year-old movie starlet Hailey Bloom takes a self imposed break from the fast pace of Hollywood. Jaded from years of fame, she leaves the celebrity lifestyle and enrolls as a Freshman at Green College in Vermont. Hailey tries to find the balance between normalcy and privacy – living off campus and protecting her privacy, yet attending classes and parties in search of new friends and a life more fulfilling that the one she left in LA. Early into her first semester, Hailey meets Caleb – a fellow student who focuses on their instant chemistry more than her fame. He is not interested in the Hailey Bloom, but rather the person he wants to know better.
Hailey slowly lowers her defenses when she gains a circle of friends that includes Daphne, another Freshman who happens to be Caleb’s sister. Her new independence, friendships and studies make Hailey thrive in this new environment, and it seems she may have had good reasons for starting over somewhere new. She struggles to stay in front of a secret that threatens to destroy the new life she has created.
Elyssa Patrick tells a wonderful story of a young woman who wants a clean slate after a jaded childhood. You will cheer for Hailey as she navigates the social, emotional and academic waters of Green College. Her friendship with Daphne is honest and necessary, and her romance with Caleb is what dreams are made of. All the characters are the perfect mix of vulnerability and strength/ youth and maturity/ fearfulness and bravery. On the surface, this is a romantic coming-of-age story, but this duality is an underlying theme in Stay with Me.
As Hailey discovers hidden talents and dreams of her own, she must walk away from notoriety and the power she gave others. This is an entertaining, tender story with surprises, humor and some white hot romance. The scenes are vivid, the characters are authentic and memorable, and the dialogue is witty and comical. It’s an easy read and a good story. I am looking forward to upcoming titles in the “With Me” series by Elyssa Patrick. – Kris
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