Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Review: Hold Still

Dear Blog,
I finished Hold Still yesterday so, well, as ever I have a review, but alas a short one because my Russian homework summons.

Summary (from Goodreads): An arresting story about starting over after a friend’s suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in YA fiction.
Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself.

Review: I've read a lot of depressing books lately, but when I saw Hold Still at the library the other day I has to borrow it before anybody else could, because after discovering it on Goodreads I've wanted to read it.  So, well, despite having read many tragic pieces of literature of late, I read it.
Hold Still isn't just a glum suicide book.  Far from it!  It's as much about life as it is death, and has  the bittersweet hope that everything will be alright, sort of, at the end.  It's a heart-wrenching emotional journey for both Caitlin and the reader.

The writing is amazing stuff.  It's wonderfully raw and poetic, and especially towards the beginning it has an empty, hollow feel like the soul has been torn out of the book (much as, I guess, somebody might feel in the aftermath of a suicide).  But instead of just filling the book with empty pages (*cough cough* New Moon), there is writing.  And it is meaningful.  It's easy to write about death and get carried away in the emo-ness, but everyday life carries on and that's what Hold Still is all about. 

And the illustrations?  The artwork is just as wonderful as the writing.  Hold Still is to photography and art what If I Stay is to music.  Plus, the photography/art  aspect to this book seems much more visual and exciting than Drawing With Light, another book about photography and visual things that I've read of late.  Reading Hold Still feels like looking through a photo album. It would make an excellent film.  So kudos to Mia Nolting for making the artwork mean as much as the words (after having looked at her website and seen some more samples, I am completely in love with her work). 

The supporting characters are good, too.  Of all the exciting cast of characters, I think Dylan was my favourite. Ingrid played a massive role in the book too, of course and I feel like I ought to say something about her.  But we only read about her anger and fear and intense emotions through her jounal and Caitlin's memories, but at the same time despite all her importance, she still seemed a little vague. But perhaps that was just because she was dead. 

Summary: Heartbreaking but hopeful, and sad but sweet. As any good tearjerker ought to be, I suppose.  Rating: 4.

PS  50 Followers!  Yay!  Thank you, blogosphere! 


  1. YA Book Giveaway at:

  2. This was one of my favorite books from last year. Great review!


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