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Hold Still Paperback – October 5, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (2010); 2010 William C. Morris Honor Book
“LaCour makes an impressive debut with an emotionally charged young adult novel about friendship and loss.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review**
“LaCour strikes a new path through a familiar story, leading readers with her confident writing and savvy sense of prose.” –Kirkus
“The book is written with honesty, revealing one's pain after the loss of a loved one.” –School Library Journal
“A fresh voice to the world of young adult literature.” –VOYA , starred review**
Top Customer Reviews
It seems appropriate to quote my favorite singer when reviewing Nina LaCour's debut novel HOLD STILL because music plays a healing role in the novel and LaCour's writing--like music--is lyrical and haunting. The characters that arise from LaCour's words pulse from the page not as echoes but as the very beat of themselves.
I love Caitlin's lines when she's listening to music in the middle of a dance floor at a wedding and says, "I just stood there with my eyes closed, feeling the movement of all the people around me, the vibration of the bass rise through the floor to my throat, while something inside me broke and came back together." Lines like these made me feel so close to the character. In fact, every character (and it is a WONDERFUL culturally diverse set of characters) feels so real and realized. Not some conceptualized rending of what some adults believe teenagers are and what teenagers think, hope, and feel. But real young adults whose stories are meaningful, full of love and full of trouble.
The trouble begins with Caitlin receiving devastating news that her best friend Ingrid has committed suicide. Caitlin is stunned, says at receiving the news, "My heart pounds so hard I can feel it in my ears." For the rest of the novel, we see Caitlin struggle with the memories of her friend while trying to build a new life.
Caitlin's struggles will focus readers on asking themselves some important questions: how well do we know our friends, the people who love us? Can we imagine our lives without friends? The answer will be different for every reader but the conclusion that I came to after reading this novel is that with our without the people we love, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to see ourselves with new eyes...as if we're seeing ourselves for the first time.
Caitlin struggles with seeing her life without Ingrid. She's alone. How can she let go when she never got a chance to say goodbye? Indeed, I think this novel challenges the reader to accept what we can and can't change. Caitlin hangs a photograph in her locker, which was taken by her deceased best friend, and she thinks, "It must be the most peaceful picture in the world. It's the setting of a fairy tale, it's somewhere that can't exist anymore."
And the novel goes on and we watch Caitlin through her recovery. The road isn't entirely smooth but through art and music, she discovers herself again; she discovers new friends, new love, new purpose. Finally, she learns to let go. I won't give too much away but the final scenes took my breath away. I cried in two distinct places of the novel but I don't think they need to be stated because part of the joy of reading this book is watching Caitlin arrive to that place of peace.
This is NOT a conventional novel about depression--and I mean that in a good way. Don't expect the pages to answer why some people get so depressed they can't rise out of it. Don't expect the novel to explain the symptoms of depression because they can often go unnoticed (as we see in the novel). Instead, the reader focuses on the lives of these characters and on the healing for the ones left behind Ingrid's suicide.
Focusing on their healing actually brings a wonderful quality to the book, presenting moments when the reader can breathe after tense scenes. Caitlin learns how to enjoy the small things: a good cup of coffee just to her liking, learning how to drive, hanging out in the city with friends. So yes--there are BIG PAYOFFS for making it through the sad parts of the novel. LaCour will not leave the reader broken. We are put back together and made whole--and hopeful.
I really can't say enough wonderful things about this book. I won't give any more of the story away because there's plenty more to talk about. I wasn't able to put it down once I started and I'm all the better for finishing this beautiful novel. Pick it up and let Caitlin's rebirth inspire you, too!
Caitlin needs to learn anew to have fun in life and to not feel guilty for living. With the help of her parents, friends and a journal, that Ingrid left at Caitlin's place, she tries to understand why her best friend killed herself and to go on with her life.
I bought my copy of "Hold still" on a whim when I saw it in an online bookstore. I had just finished a great young adult book about loss & grief by Amy Kathleen Ryan (Shadow Falls) and was interested in more books with these themes. I was suprised by how perfect "Hold still" worked for me. I loved it even though it gave me a headache because it made me cry a lot.
Caitlin is an amazing character, I loved everything about her. The way she questioned her own behaviour was tormenting and I felt everything she felt. The strength that Caitlin showed at the end of the story was outstanding and I was fascinated by every step she took on her journey back to a "normal" life. I loved that Caitlin's parents were wonderful and helped her with her grief. Both her mom and dad were truly adorable and I especially liked her dad's way to bring some joy back into Caitlin's life. It's always nice and refreshing to read a young adult story with parents that are just as they should be.
The insight that sometimes you are powerless to help a loved person is always hard to accept. Caitlin asked herself some hard questions because of keeping quiet when she knew that something with Ingrid was not ok. There are no easy answers to these questions and I liked how Caitlin dealt with them in the end.
Ingrid's journal was full of heart-breaking messages and reading them was very emotional and disturbing. I could feel Ingrid's pain and self-doubt. In the end I could even understand some of her feelings and realized that the pain she lived with was hard to explain to other people. The way Nina LaCour portrayed Ingrid's depression and her boundless despair was very powerful and felt real.
"Hold Still" was a very emotional and gut-wrenching book and I would recommend it to all readers because it's so powerful, arresting and full of interesting and great characters. I loved that the author didn't shy away from showing the dark reality of depression and that she gave Caitlin time to deal with what happened.
I like the paperback cover, the colours are nice and the motive looks interesting. However I think that the hardcover design fits better to the story.
"Hold still" is a very emotional book about loss, suicide and depression. To read how Caitlin went on with her life after her best friend died was arresting and to read how strong she became was wonderful. Make sure to have some tissues with you when you read the book.
I would recommend this book to someone who is struggling with losing someone they love--by death or even just by physical or emotional distance. The protagonist struggles with understanding who she is without her best friend and ultimately comes to the realization that she does have other connections in the world and can be a part of that world without her deceased friend.