Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hold Still: Nina LaCour

SUMMARY (Courtesy of

Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid has 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.


This isn't an action story. It isn't an adventure, it isn't full of twists and turns. It's a story of development and a story of healing. It's a story of the aftermath of a best friend taking her own life and leaving behind thousands of questions and few answers.

As far as angst goes, I would rate this one actually relatively low. Going in, I knew the premise and I knew it would be an emotional story but there were few times where I was completely overcome with emotion which I find to be both good and bad. Good in the sense that LaCour certainly wrote a great story with plenty of emotion but bad in that I felt it could have gone deeper sometimes.

The writing is choppy- but it has to be in this story. This is written in Caitlin's perspective- and if it wasn't choppy, and didn't skip, and if scenes didn't cut off abruptly, I think the overall effect would have been diminished. This is more than a book about the stages of grief although they are in there, but in the background rather than the central focus.

Caitlin is a photographer and although there are plenty of other books where that is a common hobby, I really liked how big a part of the story it actually was- and the progression with it. It was as central a focus as Ingrid's death and there are several scenes that focused on the photography aspect that stand out in my mind.

I think what I liked even most about this book was that it showed both sides of the suicide thing- the people left behind, and the person who was so far gone that it seemed like the only way out. While the latter was not the central focus, it was still there- and I couldn't help but ache for Ingrid and understand how hard she tried until she just couldn't do it anymore. The incorporation of her journal into the story- and into Caitlin's steps towards getting better- were quite well done.

The characters, across the board, were ones I liked. Dylan was tastefully done and I like how her sexual preference also showed up many times, rather than being said once or twice and ignored. I think she was my favorite character in the book, followed by Jayson- both were more minor than major but still played important roles in the book, ones which I appreciated.

The writing was really good, considering the state of mind of the person it was being written in the perspective of. It didn't need to be wowing and poignant because Caitlin is a teenager that is broken, hurting and confused- and the writing certainly reflected that in my mind.

Overall, I give this 4 stars because while it was good, I did enjoy it- things fell into place- I still felt like it could have used a little more depth throughout the book although I did find the ending to be quite fitting and surprisingly good for closure.


  1. I've been dying to read this book - it looks amazing! I have it on hold at the library and it just came in so I am excited!! Great review, glad you enjoyed it. :)

  2. such a FANTASTIC review :) You really covered the book well. I agree with you that angst-wise, it was dealt with in an amazing way. Perhaps it would have been angstier if told by Ingrid, but LaCour dodged that by giving it a totally interesting different perspective.

  3. I just got finished reading this is amazing. It really makes you think.