Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Publication Date/Version: October 2009/Hardcover
Publisher: Dutton Books
Age Group: 14 and up
Received From: Publicist
there are so many things
that i want so badly to tell you
but i just can't
That night Ingrid told Caitlin, I'll go wherever you go. 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 a new life she hardly recognizes. A life without the art, the laughter, the music, the joy she shared with her best friend.
But Ingrid left more than a memory 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.
Nina LaCour, a debut author, is going to have a great career ahead of her. She is able to capture the raw emotions felt after Ingrid's suicide, while showing Caitlin's healthy healing.
I'm so glad this was offered to me for review. I was in the mood for some real emotion, and I got just that. Caitlin has just lost her best friend, Ingrid, to suicide. Now she must deal with the painful process of healing. At first she feels as if she must deal with it alone, but she slowly begins to let others in. I was very happy to see Caitlin recover in a healthy way, without resorting to complete withdrawal or self-inflicted pain. Readers are taken on Caitlin's path to a new life without her old best friend, and along the way we experience all of the love and hatred that comes with the process.
Although I know nothing about photography, I still enjoyed its large role in this book. It added a lot of interesting perspective and symbolism. At first I wasn't sure about Ms. Delani, Caitlin and Ingrid's photography teacher. She shunned Caitlin from the beginning, but we eventually learn that she is just as upset over Ingrid. Ms. Delani soon transformed into someone who was there for Caitlin. It was her small actions that made a difference. I really enjoyed the characters in Hold Still, especially Taylor and Dylan. It was nice to see others in the grieving process as well. I think it would have been interesting to have an occasional chapter from another character's view point to see how they were dealing with the situation.
Hold Still freely puts forth raw emotion, and Caitlin hides nothing. It was sometimes hard to read about her journey, but I was glad that I did. Ingrid's journal entries added a lot to the story. Although some were short, or didn't seem terribly significant, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be Caitlin. I'm happy that we got a feel for Ingrid and her impact on Caitlin. Finally, Caitlin's romance with a certain boy was completely believable. Although her starting actions were a little odd, I felt that they were totally understandable. I never felt like "What is she doing?" I understood her need to connect with someone in a time of pain, and I think the majority of readers will be able to see things from her side of the story.
Overall: Hold Still is a breathtaking, emotional journey that is hard to forget.
My Advice: Pick up a copy of this at your local bookstore. You'll want a copy to read on rainy days to remind you that there are always good things in life.
The Cover: Perfect for the book. Breathtaking and beautiful. I feel that it expresses the book perfectly, between the writing, the pen-colored title, and the gorgeous girl. Lovely.