Saturday, October 30, 2010

BR: Hold Still

by Nina LaCour

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

My Thoughts

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.

– 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?


  1. I read this a few weeks ago and yet I can't really remember the romance part in much detail. That being said I thought it was a fantastic book, very sensitive and thoughtful.

  2. I loved this one too (read it last week)

    Every thing about it was just so well done and genuine. I related so well to Caitlin and to Ingrid as well.

    great review. I didn't mind the romantic element. It wasn't too prevalent although perhaps a tad cliche with him being the hot and popular boy :)

  3. I've never heard of this novel before, but after reading your review, I'm itching to get a copy. It sounds poignant and beautiful, and though I'm a romance fan and the romantic relationship in this novel isn't a selling point, I'm willing to overlook that if it means reading a brilliant novel. I liked the recommended for part, too! I think it's a great idea.

  4. I loved this book as well. Really well executed and well written. The new paperback cover is lovely. :)

  5. Katie- I agree! great adjectives :)

    Nomes- yay! yeah, I found those two relatable as well :) I actually didn't expect it to happen with those two, but when it did, I thought it felt a bit off.

    Erika- I would definitely recommend it! I think most people won't mind the romantic aspect, I'm just a bit weird like that. Thank you!

    Michelle- mhmm! it is :D thanks for the comment!

  6. LOVE the Recommended for and might even steal it for one book/sieres I might read/get into..

    .if thats ok for you of course

  7. awesome review. I loved loved loved this book. It was so sad and so beautiful. Your cover is one I haven't seen before, very cool.

  8. Oh my gosh, I've always wanted to read this. I've heard many good things and I'm really glad that your review has made me excited once again! Contemp fiction is my fave. Thanks for your review, Audrey!

  9. kit- I'm glad! I think i'll keep it :D And of course, you can totally use it!

    Katie- it's the Paperback cover :) I'm so glad you liked it as much as I did!! :D

    Justine- Yes, go Contemp!! I hope you get a chance to read it! :)


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