If You Stay by Courtney Cole

If You Stay - Courtney Cole
Every quarter, I have to sign papers for my trust fund, since it is fed by my mother’s family business. I am technically the sole heir to her shares. It’s a pain in the ass, but it’s a necessary evil. 

Poor little Pax. It must be hard having enough money to never need to work a single day in your life. Real struggle.

“Did your dad hit your mom?”
The question hangs between us and she stares at me. And then she nods slowly. 
“Not often. But sometimes. I saw it a few times. He slapped her, she slapped him. They had a very passionate relationship.”

Stupid little Mila. She must be colorblind, because she certainly can't see a single red flag even when there are a whole field full of them.

I hate this. I hate when the blurb or the first chapters of a book is so crazy good, and then it all goes downhill in a matter of pages. Even worse, when said downhill continues all the way to the last page. If You Stay opened so well, and it's New Adult! I mean, opening a story with a guy who overdoses and a girl finding him, making him survive? That's about as good as it gets. So did I have high expectattions after that? Yes. I expect this to be a more mature and less idiotic take on the New Adult genre than the other stories within this genre I've read lately. I expected it to take the matter of death, drugs, and forgiveness seriously. Apparently, this genre was made to mock me. And yes, I was so wrong.

This is Pax and Mila's story. Pax, with his mother dying when he was seven, has drowned himself in alcohol, drugs, and women ever since. Something terrible happened to his mother, because his mind is repressing all memories of that night. Now, in his twenties, he's stuck with his drugs, women, trust fund, and bad boy reputation. When he overdoses, Mila, a sweet young woman finds him in this state and begins CPR and calls the ambulance. And so their story begins. 

Now, I don't have anything 'bad-boy's in general. For one, I love Noah from Pushing the Limits. He's the proof bad boys can be done well. But here's the deal: I do not play well with misogynic assholes. Pax was walking on the edge for the first chapters, but then he screwed it up, big time. His constant referring to women as 'bar whores', 'sluts', and uses 'pussy' in the most degenerating way possible in every other sentence, his disgusting behavior. That's not 'bad boy' to me. That's misogynic asshole. That's offensive. That's just a horrible person. He's also a drug user, and have been popping different pills since his first therapist gave him sleeping pills at the age of seven. I can't recall his age, but his mid twenties, perhaps? Please, explain to me again how this guy is not really addicted, and that he can stop any time he wants without withdrawals. Just cut the crap, that's unrealistic. And once again, the topic of drug use is made lightly of when it's in fact a severe topic that needs to be handled with more care. This is a guy who overdosed. Please tell me again how he isn't addicted. If this had just been about Pax being in denial, fine, I can handle that. But when his therapist explains his lack of addiction as that he's just less likely to become addicted, that did it for me. Drugs isn't something you play around with. This is real. It's offensive to me, who's seen what addiction leads to even after using it for months, or even less. And I'll leave it at that.

Other reviews have mentioned Mila as the thing that dragged this book down because she was bland. She's not bland. She's a moron. Which is a surprise, because he sister is actually smart. Anyway, Mila, who catches this guy overdosing, still thinks he can be a good person to start a relationship with. Right. And when he says, while still in his hospital bed, that he's been thinking about her, she wonders why. It might be because you saved his life, ever thing about that Mila? She ignores her sister Madison who tells Mila the way it is: that Pax isn't the best person to get involved with. But no, Mila ignores every red flag. Everything between Pax showing up wherever she is, him using girls, him punching other guys in the face when they mirror his behavior. Yet, she dives into a relationship with him only a week or so after he is released from the hospital. And oh, yes, the police even told Mila when they found him OD that he's been in this trouble before. DO YOU SEE THE RED FLAGS? Ugh, just... ugh. Yeah, Mila might be bland, but she's a moron as well.

This story could've been a five star read for me. I'll be honest about that. It has such a great promise, but it screws up every important part. It's character driven, yet has terrible characters. If Pax hadn't been so degrading toward women, his character would've been a 'bad boy' I could've liked. If Mila had had something inside her perfect body and head and held more trepidation toward Pax, I could've rooted for them to make it work. If Pax's drug abuse had been treated as the serious issue it is, it might've been something of a learning experience. If the memories Pax have unveiled for him in the last 30% or so hadn't been made light of, this would've been heartbreaking. If all of these major parts had been handled well, I would've loved this. Too bad it was more important to make sure Mila was the most innocent and wholesome person on the planet so Pax would notice her like he's never done with another girl before (yeah, right, because I believe Mila is the only person who could've fitted in on that tiny description). Too bad it was more imoprtant for Pax to be a jerk to women. Too bad it was too important to insert clichés than to add more originality. Too bad nobody listened to the only smart person in this book. Just... well, too bad.

*I will be trying the sequel, which is about Madison, now known as the only smart person. That, and the fact that her love interest doesn't sound to be as terrible as Pax.