Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Title: Hold Still
Author: Nina LaCour
Year Published: 2009

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 229
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Challenges:
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): USA (?)


FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): That night Ingrid told Caitlin, I'll go wherever you . But by dawn Ingrid, and her promise, were gone, and Caitlin was alone. Ingrid's suicide immobilizes Caitlin, leaving her unsure of her place in anew life she hardly recognizes. A life without the art, the laughter, the music, the joy that she shared with her best friend. But Ingrid left something behind. Devastating and hopeful, playful and hopeless. In words and drawings, Ingrid documented a painful farewell in her journal--just for Caitlin. Journeying through Ingrid's final days, Caitlin fights back through unspeakable loss to find renewed hope.

Review: I was lucky enough to hear Nina LaCour talk a couple months ago and was inspired to read this book. I started it at school then we got really busy and I put it back on the shelf. I am really glad that I picked it up again and read it this week!

The characters in this book are so believable. Caitlin is completely adrift, not knowing how to behave or what to believe after her best friend Ingrid commits suicide. Those around Caitlin also don't know how to treat her; should they talk about Ingrid or ignore the fact that she is dead? I could feel Caitlin's despair as she read more of Ingrid's journal, interacted with teachers, classmates and family members. None of it seemed right but she can't quite figure out what she wants, deserves, or expects.

This story is so well told. The events are believable (unfortunately, a friend of mine committed suicide our freshman year in college), Caitlin's reactions are strong and mushy at the same time. The emotions are raw and soft at the same time. The moments when Caitlin starts to let other people in are so very real: she feels that she shouldn't be happy or laughing when her BFF is dead. But, life is for the living and Caitlin does learn to go on, learns to trust, and learns to let people in.

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