This book fascinated me. I had so many different expectations throughout the book, and each time I was surprised at how the author handled the plot. I like that I couldn’t really predict what was going to happen next.
It starts in 1984! Stella is 22, saving her money from the perfume shop so that she can move away from her small town where everyone knows everyone. She’s kind of reckless, she’s had flings with just about every eligible guy, and she’s just biding her time. Then Dane moves to town. He’s dating the loosest girl in town, but Stella decides to make her move. After a few looks, and fewer words, Stella and Dane are having sex on a ladder on the side of a water tower.
They don’t have many opportunities to spend time together, since Dane’s ex-girlfriend’s brother is out to get him, and Stella’s mom thinks she’s a whore, and Stella’s grandma is dying of cancer. In the span of two weeks they hook up a handful of times, then decide to skip town together, only to be sucked back to face the consequences of a bar brawl.
I loved the eighties references, I was reminded a lot of the small town in Footloose. Then, just when it seemed gimmicky, the author backed off and focused on characters. Stella and her grandmother had a beautiful scene making bracelets together, and I thought, wow, who would have thought bracelets have so much symbolism?
When Dane got sentenced to prison, I was pretty sure the story would flash forward fifteen years and it would be a reunited lovers story, but it wasn’t. The author highlighted how little Stella and Dane knew each other, and how they each had to decide whether to let the other go or make sacrifices and adapt to remain in each other’s lives. Stella modified her dreams a day at a time, questioning whether she was doing the right thing. Dane tried to let her go, but never could.
I love love love the fact that there were no weeping, sobbing, angsty scenes! Maybe I’m burned out on them. Stella and Dane had plenty of opportunities to melt into rage and regret, but they chose instead to be strong and capable and figure out how to make the best with what life threw at them. It was realistic and comforting.
The supporting characters were funny, supportive, and amazing, especially Beatrice, the owner of the perfume shop, and Joe, the owner of the garage. I don’t think anything about this book was shallow, and that’s saying something for a book that mentions linebacker shoulder pads, hairsprayed bangs, banana clips, jelly shoes, and boy perms.
Overall, pretty darn cool.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Stella & Dane
by Deanna Roy
Release Date: July 14, 2012
Publisher: Casey Shay Press