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Hold Paperback – October 20, 2016
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About the Author
Rachel Davidson Leigh is a teacher, a writer and an avid fan of young adult LGBTQ fiction. Her hobbies include overanalyzing television shows and playing matchmaker with book recommendations. Currently, she lives in Wisconsin with her family and two neurotic little dogs. Hold is her debut novel. Her short story Beautiful Monsters was featured in Summer Love, a collection of short stories published by Duet Books, the young adult imprint of Interlude Press.
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Top Customer Reviews
The stoppage of time does play a central role to the story, but it's not really a sci-fi book. Rather, Hold focuses primarily on Luke and his relationships with his two best friends, a newcomer to the school, and his classmates. Miss Leigh does a wonderful job creating and embracing Luke's awkwardness. The pacing, his internal thoughts, and dialogue all reinforced that feeling of not quite feeling comfortable in one's skin. I thought the dialogue and reactions reflected the age group well, but it never felt too immature for me to enjoy. I really liked that the characters were different than what I've typically seen in the romance genre, YA or contemporary. Luke is Indian and adopted. The other main character, Eddie, is a refugee from Liberia. Luke is gay and Eddie is bisexual. There's a secondary character who is on the aro-ace spectrum. It's a unique set of characteristics and the author handles those elements and how they impact the relationships and personalities really well. The romance is focused on a blooming young relationship, so there isn't heat, but the attraction and pull towards another is written really well. Most intriguing were the conflicts and resolutions. They were so different than I ever anticipated. There were twists, but they made sense and drew together all the different elements that initially felt unrelated. The resolution was satisfying but didn't feel overwritten, more of a happy-for-now ending. I think any fans of m/m YA or readers looking for something a bit different will enjoy this book. It certainly will stick with me for a while, and I'll be watching for more from the author.
*An ebook was provided for review to Alpha Book Club. The author and publisher had no influence on this review*
Rachel Davidson Leigh is a writer who has an extraordinary ability to weave words into sentences that are sometimes magical, sometimes witty, and always engaging. When reading her writing, I very often find myself in awe simply of the way she uses words, as though her writing language is completely new to me.
Hold is a novel that explores themes of self-discovery, grieving, racism, and teenage romance, with a couple of chapters that had me on the actual edge of my seat. I tend to include an often lengthy plot summary in my reviews, but I actually think I’m going to skip that this time around. This novel hits several genres including romance and both realistic fiction and fantasy – you could call it magical realism – and absolutely has a very engaging plot, but for me the strength of this story is in its characterization. All four main characters, primarily Luke but also Eddie, Marcos, and Dee, experience such incredible and realistic character growth all throughout the novel. Never is it contrived, and never is it typical – instead, each character stays true to their own individual realities and struggles. As well, while the story definitely contains angst, the focus is not on the problems of coming out.
Another aspect of this novel that really sets it apart from others in YA literature is its ability to represent many cultures, many sexualities, many truths, and stages of self-awareness. It never, ever feels like the author is trying to hit some sort of benchmark by including several different minority groups in her story. I’ve read books by authors who have done this, and this is definitely not one of them. Each character, each person’s identity, experiences, and background, is completely authentic. This, combined with Rachel’s incredible talent at wordsmithing and phrasing, makes this novel absolutely beautiful and so, so relevant.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was quite a difficult review to write, but only because of who I’m writing it for.Read more
I think when I first heard about Hold, I expected it to be really fluffy contemporary.Read more