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Hold Still

Hold Still - Nina LaCour What can I say? HOLD STILL was a book I purchased as a closeout awhile back. It’s been sitting on my shelf, collecting dust, forgotten behind a stack of newer releases. I’m already 4 books behind my goal for 2013 so I thought, “This one is short. I’ll give it a try.” Two hours of frantic reading in the bath tub, a tub now cold with my skin all prune-like, my thoughts changed to, “Why did no one make me read this book sooner?”Sometimes you just find a book that resonates with you. I had a friend who committed suicide in college. We weren’t close, but to know that something in his life had led him down that path – someone who was popular, athletic, intelligent, well-liked – just stayed in my head and it’s still there a few years later. HOLD STILL grabbed my heartstrings and wouldn’t let go.A STORY OF ART, FRIENDSHIP, LOVE, AND SUICIDEHOLD STILL is not your typical YA book – unless you read exclusively depressing contemporary YA, in which case, it’s the norm. There is a lesbian character that is handled well, for example. But the story itself revolves around a year in the life of Caitlin after the suicide of her best friend Ingrid during finals of their sophomore year. We follow Caitlin as she builds her life back from the broken pieces that were left after Ingrid took her own life, including her relationships with classmates, with teachers, and with her parents. I really am struggling to find the words needed to convey my feelings about this book to you, dear reader. THIS BOOK. This book. THIIIIIIS BOOOOOOOK. I laughed, I cried, I was afraid to turn the next page in fear that Caitlin might lost everything all over again. But as I said in the section header, this is a book about art, friendship, love, and suicide. Caitlin loses her best friend, a friend who has basically become a crutch for her (or a safety blanket), and is forced to deal with life on her own. If you go into this expecting cute and fun, turn back now. Think about your life, think about your choices!MOVING ON AFTER DEATHThe story revolves around Caitlin moving on after Ingrid’s death – making new friends, finding a new love, dealing with a teacher who refuses to acknowledge her, and coming to terms with her parents that seem insistent on making her get over her friend’s death. Her parents especially were two people I couldn’t fathom, especially her father – he always seemed to know what was best for her, pushing her toward things that she would eventually pick up and like. And I also can’t fathom how she built a tree house all by herself for the most part without her parents noticing for weeks.But other than the small issue of the parents being overbearing and weird at times, I quite loved this book. It is a tear-jerker – I, the girl who never cries while reading, did tear up, but alas, once again those looking for me to bawl will not be rewarded. I patted my eyes and my face was dry once more.HOLD STILL is one of those books that will resonate with many types of readers, especially teens coming into their own and others looking to relive the teenage experience. This is one of the books that is a moving account of the darker side of being a teenager, and it’s the type of book that I believe teens (and teens at heart) should read, or parents should give to their teens. The message at its heart is one that made me remember the good things about living in the darkness of life. Caitlin’s move from being helpless to realizing that she’s moving on, knowing that she can be happy again, made this book amazing.VERDICT: A tear-jerker of a book about the darkest of days and getting past the suicide of a friend, HOLD STILL is a must read type of book. Go out and buy this one now.