If I Asked You, Would You Stay? is a fine example of contemporary realistic fiction. In this brief novel, the principal characters, singly and together, confront a wide range of emotional issues as they each forge their own roads toward peace, serenity, and maturity. The subthemes of the novel—loss, alienation, fear, dreams, and the desire for independence—are themes that are prevalent among the young adolescents who are the readers of this book. This novel of emotional growth and trust is about people, not problems. The content and the characters are presented honestly and simply. The reader learns about the characters as they learn about each other. Details unfold gradually, leaving readers room to ponder details and draw inferences and conclusions. Bunting sensitively portrays the plight of these two adolescents as they deal with some of the problems and issues that unfortunately confront many adolescents.
This novel explores the characters’ attempts to overcome problems that arise from external forces and physical or emotional desertion. It allows readers to explore closely the impact of these forces on the lives of characters and in turn on the lives of the readers themselves. Adolescents often fantasize about leaving their home and forging their own lives, independent of the scrutiny of adults. Bunting provides readers a window through which to view that fantasy.
The main characters of Crow and Valentine are, on the surface, like people whom the readers already know. They both seek escape and refuge—he from ties, she from fear and unhappiness. He creates a life for...
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Through realistic fiction, readers can identify with characters, try on different roles and identities, and live in a vicarious world. This world may include adventures and experiences that readers ponder but never actually experience. This important genre allows readers to see that their lives and problems are not unique. Through books, young people can become responsible decision makers. Through her rich characterizations and a smooth writing style, Eve Bunting has the power to transport readers into another person’s thought and feelings.
Through her young adult novels and picture books, Bunting relentlessly confronts social issues. Keen understanding and compassion permeate her more than 150 books. Whether dealing with deep subjects such as the death of a friend in The Empty Window (1980), urban violence in Smoky Night (1994), and the Holocaust in Terrible Things (1980), or with lighter adventures, such as quests and ghost stories, Eve Bunting is the consummate storyteller. Her books will endure and leave a profound mark on society and the literary world.