Book review: “Stay,” by Allie Larkin

It’s the age old story: girl loves boy, boy falls in love with girl’s best friend, girl goes on a drinking binge and orders at dog off the internet.

OK, so it’s the age old story with a twist. Of lime.

In her debut novel, “Stay”, author Allie Larkin has penned a funny chick lit story of love, friendship and self-discovery, and tied it all together with a dog named Joe.

Savannah “Van” Leone has been in love with her friend Peter Clarke since they met on the first day of classes in college. Except over the years, Peter has fallen head over heels for Van’s best friend Janie.

Now Van is the maid of honor at Peter and Janie’s wedding, and she’s barely holding herself together for the benefit of her two friends. Not only is she dealing with a love lost, she’s forced to revisit the memory of her mother, who passed away from cancer.

After the blessed event, Van heads home and drowns her sorrows in a batch of vodka-laced Kool Aid and a “Rin Tin Tin” marathon, and in the morning finds herself not only with a hangover, but a receipt for $6,000 for the internet purchase of a dog.

A 100-pound German Shepherd, scheduled to arrive in days from Slovakia.

As Van learns to live with a dog that only responds to commands in Slovak, a new romance with Joe’s vet begins to blossom, until Peter and Janie return from their honeymoon and Van is forced to face her feelings for her old pal and her complicated friendship with Janie.

Will Peter confess love for Van? Or will Van find love with Alex the veterinarian? And how will Van respond to the $175,000 check Janie’s mother has given her to stay away from Janie and Peter?

From the grief over losing her mother to her exploration of her feelings for Peter, throughout the book Van falls, stands up, screws up again, and then dusts herself off, growing stronger emotionally because of the unconditional love of a big German Shepherd who is always there to pick her up. Or eat her shoes.

“Stay” is a funny book that will appeal to fans of chick lit and dogs. And maybe vodka. You can learn more about Allie Larkin and her new novel on her website.

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