I wanted to give up.
I wanted to give into the hurt and not look back.
I wanted to let my demons win and succumb to the pain.
I didn’t want to live because leaving would be easier than dealing with it all.
But leaving wasn’t an option. Not when my best friends held onto me for dear life, and not when my heart had found one more person to beat for.
I was going to fight. I was going to love.
I was Daysie Flores and I was going to find every reason in the world to live—to stay.
Dominique Laura started off writing under the pen name Rosie C. but grew brave enough to transition to her real name (well, close enough to it). She loves to read and write whenever possible. She’s an advocate for love and happily ever afters, and she’s snarky and sarcastic. She lives in sunny Southern California with her dog, who she’s slightly obsessed with.
I’m not even going to lie, I usually stay away from Young Adult romances for a couple reasons. One, most don’t have steamy scenes in them. Two, if they do have them, I tend to get grossed out cause the characters are, like, 16. Three, I remember being an annoying teenager, thank you Facebook memories, really needed to see the song lyrics I posted 10 years ago, three times in one day, that spoke to my soul, and when I’m reading about 16 year olds, they’re annoying. Nothing against them, but I want to shake them, just like I want to shake my teen brother when he’s being stupid. But, hey, high school is the time to be stupid. Four, reading about people falling in love in high school makes me want to gag.
While there aren’t steamy scenes in Here I’ll Stay, the story of Daysie Flores is beautiful. This was my first Dominique Laura book, and I’m now going to go stalk her to see what else she’s written. This book spoke to my soul on a level other romances don’t often get to me. (Plus the teenagers, besides Jason, weren’t annoying like I was — which I’m pretty sure is not fair.)
Daysie is abused physically, emotionally, and verbally. Her father is an addict, to pain, alcohol, and drugs. Her mother is addicted to work. Neither should have ever been parents. Daysie has known pain almost her entire life. She has made a list of reasons to stay alive. At the top of the list are her two best friends, Maci and Sarah. Brenton Conners slowly makes his way to the top of the list. Although I would have loved to have seen him punch Jason, just once- please, he worked his way to the top of my list too. And he’s 18 so he can be on my “book boyfriends” list. He is sweet, charming, accepting, and honest. He openly communicates his feelings to Daysie and it is so important for her. Between Brent, and her friends, she makes her own family.
I think I was crying as much as Daysie did throughout the book. I’ve never been physically abused, but I have my own toxic people in my life. People that were supposed to be family saying nasty things to me, while I tried to fight my way out of their poison. Luckily, I had a support system that didn’t include those people, but did include family. Daysie didn’t have that. But I know secrecy, not wanting to tell people about what is happening, not being able to tell people about what’s going on, or how you’re feeling, making excuses for people that don’t deserve them. Coming up with reasons to stay alive.
I think one of my favorite things about this book, is something so little I didn’t notice till about halfway through the book. I was reading along, through tears in my eyes, when I noticed the chapters were reasons. Example, Reason One: Ice Cream. Each reason has something to do with the chapter, but usually they were little things. Things like ice Cream, coffee, or running. It caught me off guard in the worst and best way possible. I’m currently going through the chapters again to see what they all said. I’m mad at myself for missing it to start with.
This book was 5 stars, hands down. Thank you, Dominique, for writing this book. For making the characters believable. For making the teenagers not so annoying, while still making their emotions all over the place. Thank you for writing a beautiful piece of work about a topic that is not easy to write about.