Reviews for Stay

by Bobbie Pyron

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A small dog, the elderly woman who owns him, and a homeless girl come together to create a tale of serendipity.Piper, almost 12, her parents, and her younger brother are at the bottom of a long slide toward homelessness. Finally in a family shelter, Piper finds that her newfound safety gives her the opportunity to reach out to someone who needs help even more. Jewel, mentally ill, lives in the park with her dog, Baby. Unwilling to leave her pet, and forbidden to enter the shelter with him, she struggles with the winter weather. Ree, also homeless and with a large dog, helps when she can, but after Jewel gets sick and is hospitalized, Baby's taken to the animal shelter, and Ree can't manage the complex issues alone. It's Piper, using her best investigative skills, who figures out Jewel's backstory. Still, she needs all the help of the shelter Firefly Girls troop that she joins to achieve her accomplishment: to raise enough money to provide Jewel and Baby with a secure, hopeful future and, maybe, with their kindness, to inspire a happier story for Ree. Told in the authentic alternating voices of loving child and loyal dog, this tale could easily slump into a syrupy melodrama, but Pyron lets her well-drawn characters earn their believable happy ending, step by challenging step, by reaching out and working together. Piper, her family, and Jewel present white; Pyron uses hair and naming convention, respectively, to cue Ree as black and Piper's friend Gabriela as Latinx.Entrancing and uplifting. (Fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal
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Gr 4–7—Interwoven chapters alternate between an 11-year-old girl whose family arrives at a shelter in Salt Lake City, and a young dog who belongs to another homeless person. The human protagonist, Piper, narrates her close-knit family's situation and their interactions with helpful people and programs in an engaging, warm, and upbeat voice. While she briefly touches upon her own sadness and embarrassment about being homeless, Piper focuses on her advocacy for Baby, the dog. Because of mental illness and her refusal to give up her dog, Baby's human, Jewell, can't take advantage of many of the services offered to Piper's family. Baby's chapters are written in a semi-lyrical style from a third-person omniscient point of view, evoking innocent and energetic doggy-ish dedication, love, and longing. Although sad and unjust situations abound, Pyron keeps a light touch and focuses on the positive. She keeps a secular perspective while acknowledging the roles of various Christian programs, and fulfills Piper's need for belonging with a Girl Scout–like group. Jewell, Piper, and Piper's family are all white; people of color are depicted among secondary characters. VERDICT This title is an excellent book for raising awareness and empathy.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC