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REVIEW: STAY WITH ME by Sandra Rodriguez Barron (includes book club questions)

by Sandra Rodriguez Barron

Passionate. Suspenseful. Poignant. Well-written. Fast-paced. A must for everyone’s to-be-read pile. Rodriguez Barron has created six great characters that readers will grow to care about and to cheer for.

From the author of THE HEIRESS OF WATER, comes a new book about family – the joy, the fights, the sacrifices and the bonds that keep one together--, because sometimes it’s not the family you are born into that nurtures your soul but the family you gather around you.

SUMMARY: In 1979, five toddlers wash upon the shores of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, during the aftermath of Hurricane David, all alone on a luxury yacht with a mysterious starfish “tattoo” on their hands. No one comes forth to claim them and speculation runs wild. Even though the kids are ultimately adopted into different families in the US and PR, the kids grow up considering themselves siblings. Now adults, David, the oldest, calls them together for a family reunion and a plea to open the Pandora’s Box that is their past. Taina, Holly, Adrian and Ray have mixed feelings about their roots, but they’ll do anything for their dying brother. And so the Starfish Children unite on a quest to find their roots that will leave them stronger and more vulnerable than ever.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:    Born in Puerto Rico, Sandra Rodriguez Barron is the winner of the International Latino Book Award for debut fiction, and the recipient of a Bread Loaf Fellowship and a National Association of Latino Arts & Culture Grant.  Rodriguez Barron resides in Connecticut.  For more info, visit her website.


1) Is there magic in the starfish tattoo? What is the meaning of the starfish and what does it represent to each of the siblings?  Who else wears the starfish tattoo?

2)  Why is Julia an honorary sibling and yet other partners aren't?

3) David tells Taina that she is “frozen.” How were the siblings all “frozen” by their shared experience?

4) Are they siblings or just “fellow passengers in the boat of life,” as Holly describes them?

5) How is the Mayaguez Children family different from the Griswold family?

6) What is in Pandora’s Box and who is afraid to open it and why?

7) Do you think adopted children should know about their birth parents?

8) Have you ever attempted to do a genealogy tree of your family? Do you know your roots?

9) The Griswold House was rich in history and “otherworldliness”. Do you believe in ghosts?

10) Do you think your past shapes your future? If so, how? Why?

DO LEAVE A COMMENT. Let us know how you liked the book and what other books have you read that also deal with siblings and family.


Unknown said…
Beautiful book! I enjoyed reading every second of this book. Learning about the siblings what brought them to finally look at their "Pandora's box". I felt connect to the siblings even though I myself am not an adopted child. I am from a divorced family which cause my siblings and I to split apart for a time growing up, that may be one of the reasons I could connect with this story in some ways. In in case, beautifully written! Well done Sandra Rodriguez Barron! Well Done!
Thank you Maria and Kim! Feedback like that keeps me writing . . . I'm so happy you enjoyed it.