I've wanted to read this one since it came out! However, being a stingy kid, I waited till it came out in paperback, then pounced on it. It helped me through my reading slump, I think!
That night, Ingrid told Caitlin, I'll go wherever you go. But by dawn, Ingrid was dead and Caitlin was alone. Suddenly Caitlin has to deal with a completely unfamiliar life-- a life without the art, the laughter, the music, and the joy she shared with her best friend. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind, Caitlin gets a chance to learn about another side of her friend; and the journal becomes her guide as she deals with forging new friendships, finding a first love, and learning to live without the one person who knew her best.
My Expectations: See this post, thought I’d love it =)
Delivery: very very well done! Definitely really liked it.
Put-down-ability: so-so probably a 4/10
Hold Still is a new spin on an old topic, Caitlin’s best friend Ingrid had committed suicide, leaving Caitlin to tackle life all by herself. There is a lot of common themes of loss, grief and love but I felt that the way LaCour set the book apart from the rest was in the execution.
If forced to choose the single thing I loved the most about the novel, I would have to ponder the premise. The photography and symbolism. The relationships and the heartbreak; the grief, the characters, the writing. But without a doubt my final answer would be the voice. I absolutely adored it; Caitlin’s voice shines with honesty and a longing ache for her best friend, there is the tired and heavy feeling behind her story as if she was simply too.. sad. There was so much authenticity in the writing that I could easily believe Caitlin was telling me, and only me, the story, forming an intimate connection that can’t be faked. I could even feel the gradual change of her voice as she forges new connections and eventually learns to move on, learn, love, and hope. It was simply beautiful.
At the beginning, I craved Ingrid’s journal entries; I was really into the mystery behind her persona but gradually I wanted more of Caitlin’s story and the way she really evolves and matures through a tragedy. I thought overall the entries were a truly wonderful idea that added just a pinch of spice to change up the story at intervals, and the writing in the entries was so heartfelt and, well, perfect. Here's a quote from her journal:
I never laughed as hard as I laughed with you but now not even the laughing feels good.
A thing I didn’t really feel was Caitlin’s romantic relationship, it felt forced and off, despite the way LaCour tried to smoothly navigate it. However, that might have been just a small nitpick amongst a huge wave of love for the book. I definitely liked the balance of the angst and heartbreak, and the hope. Ingrid's diary never overshadowed the story that needed to be told.
Basically, this novel rocked. The voice and the character dimensions is spot on, and it is very reminiscent of a number of my favourite novels. It’s a novel with themes that can change the way you think, love, and feel; and I can’t ask for anything else.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Lovers of YA Contemporary fiction! Readers looking for novels with beautiful themes and great, well rounded and realistic characters. Remincent of 13 Reasons Why and Speak, if you're curious.
9/10 – because I loved so many aspects of the novel, I even teared up some at then end. Nina LaCour has written a fantastic contemporary novel that once again reminds me why it is my favourite YA sub-genre =) Read it! Also, it’s in paperback now with a pretty new cover, and a pretty new price tag xD A
PS- added another part to my review, the "Recommended for". Like? Dislike?