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The last place Pia wants to be is on a family vacation in a sleepy Cornish village. She's anticipating two weeks of mind-numbing boredom. Then she meets Trey, a local boy. He's absolutely gorgeous. The trouble is — he knows it. He's arrogant and egotistical, and Pia intends to avoid him at all costs. But Trey is not the kind of guy who gives up easily. When he sets his sights on Pia, her resistance is futile. It's just a holiday romance, some light-hearted fun, right? But one of them is about to discover that still waters do, indeed, run deep. When what lurks beneath the surface finally erupts, the consequences may prove to be catastrophic.
*For ages 17+ due to sexual content and strong language*
The opening scenes captures the “bored teen angst” feel well through Pia’s complaints of being stuck on vacation with her parents and kid brother with no other companions her own age. At times she comes off a little bratty. Granted Trey was doing the immature teen boy thing of pestering her to get her attention. Throughout the bantering and inside jokes about their names, I kept thinking that he was going to tell her ‘Pia’ stood for ‘pain in ass’ because the thought crossed my mind, but he never did.
Alas, Pia loosens up though there are still times she’s a bit wishy-washy (not necessarily out of character for her age but at times I just wanted to tell her to lighten up on the poor boy). Yes, Trey is that adorable. Still I understood she wasn’t always sure how to take him or how much of a player he was. The story is told in the first half by Pia and the second half by Trey, and the split alternating point of views work well in keeping some mystery to the feelings and intentions of the opposite character.
While the first half told via Pia feels more fun and light-hearted (which actually fits with her less stressful, average teen life) by the second half of the book, the story becomes much more gripping and deeper (which fits with Trey’s sad life). Trey is an amazing character; his story at times heart-wrenching. Trey is someone you so want to see succeed and be loved. He’s made a ton of sacrifices in his life and gotten the raw end of the deal. I wanted to give the boy a hug myself.
There is no insta-love or even insta lust here. They really have to work for every step their relationship takes, and they have their share of set backs. The story has a great build up as trust is attempted to be established and the relationship grows. There is also plenty of chemistry and sexual tensions.
There is no cliffhanger (more of a HFN) but by end I was so invested in characters, especially Trey, that I wanted more—almost needed more. I went searching to see if there was a second book as there is certainly material for it, so I broached that very question with the author. Check out my interview with Michelle Abbott to see what she had to say about her next release and future writing projects.
Author Interview: 5 Questions with Michelle Abbott
Q1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing and specifically the new adult genre? What do you like best about it? And what is your writing schedule like?
A. I've always loved writing, and after reading a lot of indie romance books I decided to have a go at writing one of my own. I chose new adult because I love to explore emotions and angst, and at that age everything seems more intense, you are dealing with so many things, so many firsts. My writing schedule, if you can call it that, goes something like this: I have a very basic idea for my next book and set a release date for 6 months ahead. I decide on the title, and then choose the cover. I spend the next 4 months in a daydream as various scene ideas play through my mind like miniature movies. I try to take notes! Two months before the book is due for release, I panic because I’ve only written the first chapter! I guess I must perform well under pressure because I usually make my deadline, give or take a week.
Q 2. Can you tell us a little about the setting for Just Stay? Was the little seaside village based on an actual place you’ve visited or vacationed? How did you choose it as the location for the story?
A. I was brainstorming book ideas with my sister. She suggested I start with a setting, somewhere windswept and romantic. The first place that came to mind was
I remembered a vacation I’d had in Kingsand, and how there was only one spot in
the village where I could get a cell phone signal. That gave me the idea for
the beginning of the story.
Q3. What was your inspiration for Pia and Trey’s characters? Especially Trey as his story is so deep and there’s so much more to him that what Pia sees on the surface.
A. Yes. Sometimes, when people are hurting they put on a front to the rest of the world; they hide their problems through embarrassment, or shame. I wanted to show through Trey that a person’s life may not be as great as it seems on the surface, and that someone may need help but be afraid to ask.
Q4. The theme of depression and attempted suicide comes into play with two of the characters in the book. With the death of actor Robin Williams in the news recently and the topic getting more attention and awareness, what message or advice would you want readers to take away from reading Trey’s story?
A. To get professional help. Tell someone, don’t try and deal with it alone.
Q5. In addition to Just Stay, you’ve also have another new adult series, In Chains. You have a new release coming out this Fall; what can you tell us about that as well as future writing projects?
A. I plan to release ‘Jem’ by the end of October. It’s a new adult romance and the main characters have known each other since they were kids. It involves child abuse (physical, not sexual) and the theme is letting go of your past, and not letting it define you. For future projects I’m going to write a sequel, or a prequel to my ‘In Chains’ series. I have a poll on my website asking readers which one they would most want to read. So far a sequel of Kaci and Clay’s story is winning, but I’m also going to write another book of Kayden and
their story between the ending and the epilogue. I also plan to write a sequel
to ‘Just Stay’ because although the book didn't end on a
cliff-hanger, there is still a lot of their story left to be told.
Michelle Abbott lives in the
and hates describing herself in 3rd person. She's a self-published author of new adult romance, and likes to write about
heroes who begin as the underdog and are protective of their girl.
She's an avid reader of romance, is addicted to coffee and loves wine and chocolate, so yeah, not the most healthy eating and drinking habits :-) She spends way too much time online when she should be writing. She collects teddy bears and occasionally knits a couple of rows on a sweater she started years ago, which she may eventually finish in time to wear for her funeral :-)