Review: If You Stay by Courtney Cole


24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole.

He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match.

But he’s got his reasons.

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade.
So he slipped far, far from it.

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right?

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila.
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness.

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.

He knows that. And he’s working on it.

But is that enough to make her stay?


Pax Tate:
Mila Hill:



My thoughts (Theo): This book is beautifully broken and full of emotions from the start
until the end! Every time I was losing myself in the sentences I was always
bought back by harsh words that were meant to describe raw feelings, raw decisions,
and painful memories.

“I roll my eyes. ‘Are you trying to find some sort of reason that I’ve become such an asshole? The reason is… I’m an asshole. There are some things in life that can’t be explained. Period. Assholes are assholes. Rainbows are pretty. Kittens are cute. Chic flicks are sad. It’s the way of things, no explanations.”

I understood the characters – that
is why I probably couldn’t stop until “the end” come along. Somehow the action makes you wanting to stay to
read until the final words are finally there, ready to blow your mind, ready to
make you crawl and go numb from the ideas.
Everything starts with an overdose! Sometimes
it is easier to let go until you cannot feel anything, not even the numbness,
just the plain, beautiful nothingness! You let yourself drawn to that point
with so much eagerness that you do not know how you will actually survive if
you do stop. And this is Pax, the one and only one, the one who got the “courage”
to let go, to feel nothing, to do not confront life, to just fade away into his
nothingness, the palace that he built for himself, the cage that is restraining
him, not because he does not want to break free, but because subconsciously he
is not ready to let go. Pax is in his car, ready to let go, ready to submit to
the darkness after some coke and Jack Daniels. And he let it go so hard that he
is right at the point where he cannot remain conscious, so he is welcoming the
darkness and numbness and nothingness that just got him. He said his goodbyes

“You’ve seen me at my worst. Maybe you should see me at my best.”
My words hang between us, heavy and charged, and I don’t know what the fuck I am doing.
“When are you at your best?” she asks hesitantly. And I can see from the determined look on her face that she is trying hard not to feel intimidated. I’m impressed. She’s like a kitten standing up to a lion.
“In bed.”

And there she comes. An artist,
someone full of: beauty, feelings, energy, love. Mila is the one who was up
until late because she wanted the best pictures of the moon while it was at
full bloom. Now she is getting back from her escapade and is ready to get to
her car when something is drawing her closer to that particular car in the
parking lot. That particular car, the one that holds someone almost dead… She
is panicked and ready to help. She struggles with the stranger, calls
nine-one-one and even does CPR in order to save the beautiful creature that
decided to OD. She is not sure why it was her there, but she knew that she had
to do everything she could to save him. And somehow she not only saves him from
there, from the dark parking lot, she saves him wholly and forever!

“She walked in beauty, She sleeps in peace.”

Now everything is about feelings,
about emotions, raw emotions that cut deep in you. That leave you behind with
scars that are supposed to not heal, but they do heal – it’s just that the
healing takes so much longer. They heal each other, they feel each other, and
they live a life that is no longer gone. They start something beautiful,
something sweet and cute, but nothing is what it seems. So imagine when the
past just comes and bites you. Hard. You were not ready to be bitten so you
search again the numbness and the period when you were able to just let
everything go and push everyone aside.
Pax and Mila are something
impossible to describe. They love each other to death and back. They feel,
touch, and know each other. They are the beauty that you seek to find in your
I recommend this book to everyone
who have had suffered, to anyone who still thinks that their past is haunting them;
to those of you how know to appreciate a good, psychological book without
judgement in your eyes. And for those of you ready to feel love, fear, numbness
and darkness until you deepest corners of your heart.
Happy readying everyone~! 
My rating:

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