I recently finished Hold Still by Nina LaCour. I was excited to read it; as I had heard tons of praise about it and countless comparisons to Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. Now, I absolutely loved Thirteen Reasons Why, I rank it in top ten books of 2009…so I guess I can’t blame Hold Still for leaving me a bit underwhelmed. (I mean realistically, that is a lot of pressure to live up to, and perhaps I was setting myself up for at least a little disappointment.) The story follows Caitlin in the days, weeks, and months following her best friend Ingrid’s suicide. In the aftermath of the tragic event, Caitlin stumbles upon Ingrid’s journal and in this discovery, finds a portal into a world where she can still connect with Ingrid. I liked the premise of this book. It’s not surprising that it keeps getting compared to Thirteen Reasons, which had a similar suicide/messages from the dead setup. Only, Asher took it so much further in Thirteen Reasons. In Hold Still I had a hard time knowing and understanding Ingrid. She often felt whiny, petty and bratty to me. I found myself wishing I could get to know the Ingrid who Caitlin knew (as she obviously loved/worshipped Ingrid). I only got a glimpse at a very depressed girl, out of control girl making bad decisions and blaming everyone else. Regardless, I enjoyed the book. Caitlin’s struggle to pick up the pieces is simultaneously heartbreaking and encouraging, a testament to the power of people to heal. She is ultimately, whether she realizes it or not, able to build her life back up again (with new friends, new experiences (she builds a treehouse), and the rediscovery of old loves (photography, and her photo teacher.) I recommend the book, although if you have already read Thirteen Reasons, try not to be too disappointed.
January 29, 2010