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review: “hold still” February 12, 2010

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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Hold Still by Nina LaCour.
Dutton Juvenile // Hardcover// 304 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

After her best friend’s suicide, Caitlin cannot figure out how to move on. She’s lost interest in the things that she used to love and the people around her (teachers, parents) are clueless as to how to help her. It’s easier for everyone to ignore Caitlin. Struggling to make sense of Ingrid’s death, Caitlin has but one clue — Ingrid’s diary. A story of recovery set over the course of the school year, Caitlin works through her pain to move on with her life.

I’ve been putting off this review. I thought this book was well-written and an important topic for teens. The book really shows the length of time that healing can take, and I felt like Caitlin’s path to recovery was a long and hard one, one that wasn’t complete by the the end of the book.

On the other hand, I felt like “Thirteen Reasons Why” was a better (similar) book. I normally try not to compare one book to another, but since these two came out so closely together and I read them in the same year, I was still thinking about “Thirteen Reasons Why” while reading this one.

My other issue was I didn’t really enjoy reading about Caitlin suffering. There were a lot of moments when I put the book down for a while to feel happy again myself. When I felt overwhelmed in “Thirteen Reasons Why,” I could concentrate on the mystery of when Clay would show up in Hannah’s tapes.

Largely, I think my issue with the book was that I’m an adult and not a teenager. I had adult concerns (Why hadn’t the school addressed Caitlin’s obvious issues? Why didn’t her parents force her into therapy — or better — offer to go with her?) while reading and I really, really wanted the adults in Caitlin’s life to step up.

Overall, I did still purchase this book for my library and it’s not sitting on the shelf — so teens are reading it and hopefully taking something away from the book. I definitely recommend it for public libraries and do think it deserved the Morris Award Honor that it received.

Amazon
SWAN catalog
Nina LaCour

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