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Book review: Writing format expands reading horizons

SaskBooks: Eleven-year-old Millie is destined for great things.
Millie’s closest confidante is her twin brother, Billy, who was born deceased.

By Katherine Lawrence
Published by Shadowpaw Press Reprise
$12.95 ISBN 9781989398371

What an intriguing book. Geared for young adult readers, Stay tells the story of what Millie, an 11-year-old girl, is going through in her complicated world. Millie’s parents are struggling in their lives and she is an observer to their turmoil. Her closest confidante is her twin brother, Billy, who was born deceased. It is fascinating to tag along with Millie as she journeys through the pre-teen phase in her life.

Millie is an enchanting main character that I quickly fell in love with. She is precocious and daring, I will give her that. She reads her mother’s racy texts and makes no apologies for doing so. She loves chocolate more than anything in the world. Missing her dad after he moved out of the family home, she dots his aftershave behind her ears. She tries smoking cigarettes. Her strongest desire is to have a dog. Millie’s story is captivating.

It took me a few chapters to get used to the format of Stay. I typically read traditionally structured books with full paragraphs consisting of complete sentences. Stay is written in a way that comes off as a cross between a diary and a book of poetry. However, by the time I was a quarter through the book, I loved the layout and appreciated the way it flowed; I felt like it expanded my reading horizons. My reading future holds more books in non-traditional formats as they are a refreshing change of pace.

When I finished Stay, I was sad to reach the end of Millie’s story. She is destined for great things and it would be entertaining to find out what Millie gets up to in her teenage and/or young adult life. (Hint, hint, Ms. Lawrence...)  The author of this book, Katherine Lawrence, has lived on the prairies for over three decades. She has published four books of poetry and has been longlisted twice for the CBC Literary Awards. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Saskatchewan. Stay is a beautiful representation of Lawrence’s writing experience.

While this book is geared for younger readers and I am rushing toward middle age, I loved the story.

Don’t let the fact that this book is possibly geared for a different reading demographic than you fit into deter you from picking up a copy. This is a quick, fun read that I highly recommend.
This book is available at your local bookstore or from



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