Stay by Emily Evans
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: November 20, 2016
Publisher: Emily Evans
Pages: 163 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Seventeen-year-old Mia is thrilled to discover that during most of her senior year in high school, she will be granted an unprecedented degree of personal freedom to party with her best friend and fellow cheerleader, Lauren. Her very conservative parents are setting out on a months-long, around-the-world cruise, and they have left her in the care of her 24-year-old, absent-minded, artist sister, Hope. When soon after her parents are on their way, Mia discovers that Hope will be moving in with her fabulously wealthy, and extremely take-charge, Greek boyfriend, Niko, she's more than willing to live alone at Hope's apartment. But neither Hope nor Niko will hear of this arrangement. Hope insists that it's her responsibility to supervise Mia, and Niko feels honor bound to assist Hope in a mission that Mia considers completely unnecessary. The last thing she wants is a second babysitter who is much more wide-awake than Hope. The decision is taken out of her hands, however, when Niko sends in a whole team of movers and whisks the sisters to his place, an enormous mansion that seems more like a palace to Mia than a home.
As a consolation prize for his high-handedness, Niko informs Hope and Mia that his sister, Sacha, who will be a senior like Mia, is withdrawing from the British boarding school she's attended for years, is coming to live with Niko, and will attend Mia's school, Trallwyn High School in Texas. Mia is intrigued at the possibility of gaining a new girlfriend and begins a lively, anticipatory correspondence with Sacha via email and text. Sacha proves to be a witty and fascinating girl, and Mia is very much looking forward to spending time with the lively Sacha, who will be sharing a suite of rooms with her in Niko's mansion. But on the day of Sacha's arrival, Mia and Hope are utterly shocked to discover that Niko has misled them. His "sister" is actually a brother. And what a brother! He's six-foot-two, with an athletic physique, a gorgeous face, and his name is Alexander.
Alexander has two nicknames, Alexi, and another name only used by his closest family members--Sacha.
This book is a terrific, PG, romantic romp by talented YA author, Emily Evans. Alexei and Mia are very sympathetic protagonists and make a wonderful couple. There are also many quirky subcharacters, and I especially enjoyed the odd-couple of Niko and Hope.
Adult romance readers (and about 60% of the audience for YA novels are drawn from this demographic, including myself) who have read Harlequin Presents novels will enjoy a really fun, comic homage to the rich, Greek, alpha hero so often found in HP novels.
As is always the case with Ms. Evans's YA novels, the heroine is a virgin, and there is no underage sex. However, the author does a fabulous job creating really enthralling sensuality and sexual chemistry between the attractive and pleasing hero and heroine while offering only hand-holding, sunscreen applications to each other's backs, and a few heated kisses. This is a rather remarkable achievement, and quite refreshing in a romance-novel universe extremely overpopulated with boringly explicit sex scenes that too often substitute heaving body parts for real emotion.
I would have rated this book G, but due to some underage drinking and the definitely sensual tone of many scenes, I would say it rather leans more toward PG.
By the way, I purchased this book in Kindle format, and as is the case with every one of Ms. Evans's books (I own them all), it is well formatted and designed, with zero editing errors. The same cannot be said for many mainstream-published Kindle books these days, particularly from the above-mentioned Harlequin lines.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 4
Comedic Elements: 4
Overall: 4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars