Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Caitlin's life is shattered when her best friend, Ingrid, commits suicide. It happened at the end of the school year, and Caitlin didn't go back, instead escaping with her parents to a cabin in the woods up north.

But now it's September, and it's time for life to start again. Life without Ingrid.

That first day, Taylor asks Caitlin how Ingrid did it. Alicia is all false sympathy and perfumed, big-eyed tears. And Ms. Delani, Ingrid and Caitlin's beloved, perfect, amazingly talented photography teacher, the one person Caitlin thought would understand, doesn't seem to see Caitlin anymore.

That weekend, Caitlin knows she should be doing something, something to make her parents think she's okay, but all she wants to do is lie in her room. So she does. Until she reaches under her bed, and pulls out Ingrid's journal. The journal that Ingrid took everywhere, and that Caitlin knows there is no way Ingrid left in her room on accident. The journal that Ingrid must have hidden there the last night Caitlin saw her, the night the talked about college, the night she did it. The journal that is all there is left of Ingrid, and that might just have the answers Caitlin so desperately needs.

Hold Still is a haunting, heartbreaking and quietly powerful novel from debut novelist Nina LaCour. Nominated for the 2010 Morris nominee for first-time novelists, Caitlin's journey through grief, from the first crushing moment to the last hopeful one, is a must-read for anyone who's ever lost someone, or known someone who has.

(Now reading the latest Pink Carnation book, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily by Lauren Willig, while I'm waiting for my hold on Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher)

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