Monday, June 16, 2014

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Written with a beautiful simplicity that fills you with deep emotions, Hold Still is a powerful story about a girl dealing with the suicide of her best friend. It progresses slowly in a way that captures the reader and submerges them into this emotional story. With highly realistic characters, and a gorgeous plot, this book was absolutely stunning.

The writing seemed very real, as if narrated directly from a teen girl’s life. Reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing, it was simple and unembellished, while remaining pungent and unique. The speed of this story was perfect, rising and falling with the changing emotions of the main character, Caitlin. I could feel the heaviness she was feeling at the beginning of the story and throughout it, as well as the lighter feeling of hope as things start to shift and change for the better.

The main character Caitlin came so naturally as I read, that it felt as if I were reading about a friend, instead of a character in a book. Caitlin was also very relatable and realistic, as were the rest of the characters. Toward the beginning there were hints of stereotyping, all of which were diminished through the characters, most specifically Dylan. The characters were awkward and imperfect, like real people. Sometimes they very clearly didn’t know how to respond to certain things, which was a relief to read. Taylor and Jayson and Dylan and Maddie were all genuine people. There was no ridiculous drama or backstabbing, that lots of YA books tend to have.

The plot was solid and emotionally charged. It held a peacefulness to it, despite the story being about a heavy topic. There were several events which touched me and left me smiling. The way things came full circle was smart and elegant, including the way the book got its title.

Though a quick read, the story lingered long after, clinging to my thoughts. It was written simply and sweetly, leaving a powerful impression. I really wish I could keep reading about the lives of these characters afterwards, even though the ending was quite perfect and a fantastic closure. Focussed around a difficult subject, this book was easy to understand for all ages. It got its messages across humbly, making them easy to absorb. I truly adore this book and recommend it to anyone who’s willing to give it a read. I plan on checking out some of LaCour’s other works soon.

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