Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Release Date:  Reprint: October 5, 2010
Publisher: Speak
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 256
Source: Library
Challenge: 100 Books in 2011
Buy the Book: Amazon

From Goodreads:

An arresting story about starting over after a friend’s suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in YA fiction.

dear caitlin, there are so many things that i want so badly to tell you but i just can’t.

Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself.

My Thoughts:

Wow.  This is Nina LaCour's debut novel, and it was amazing.  The book starts after Caitlin's friend Ingrid's suicide.  Caitlin quickly finds Ingrid's journal underneath her bed, and begins to read the words that Ingrid wrote as she was feeling sad and dealing with depression.  The entire novel is seen through Caitlin's eyes, as she deals with picking up the emotional pieces after receiving such devastating news.  LaCour did an amazing job of expressing the feelings that Caitlin was dealing with in a way that reader can understand.  I felt what Caitlin felt, and wanted desperately to reach out to her.  Caitlin struggles with the feeling of betrayal when she establishes relationships with new friends.  She also deals with feelings of guilt because she felt like she could have and should have known what Ingrid was dealing with.

This book deals with such an emotional and raw subject.  Suicide.  People who are left behind after someone commits suicide are forced to deal with losing their loved one, being all alone, and not having the opportunity to say goodbye.  Caitlin felt all of those things, and more.  The novel is beautiful, really, as readers watch Caitlin heal through art, music, and new friendships.

More than just reading words on a page, Hold Still forces readers to question their own relationships with those close to them.  I wondered often while reading if I had any friends experiencing the same struggles that I wasn't tuned into, what would I do if I lost my best friend to suicide and depression.  It forced me to look at myself and how I would feel and handle the same situation.

I definitely recommend this book.  Just know that the subject matter isn't jovial or light - but you'll want to know how Caitlin eventually deals with her emotions regarding Ingrid.  Hold Still will leave you thinking about it hours after you've finished the final word.  I was beyond impressed with this debut novel of Nina LaCour's and I cannot wait to see what she brings us next.

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