Title: Hold Still
Author: Nina LaCour
Release Date: October 20, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Rating: 4 out of 5
Caitlin doesn’t know how she’s going to keep herself going. Her best friend, Ingrid, committed suicide and life just doesn’t feel right without her. Caitlin is haunted by her memories of Ingrid, which are compounded by something that Ingrid left behind for her.
Caitlin tries to move forward in life, but it’s hard being surrounded by all the places she and Ingrid used to visit. It doesn’t help that the teacher she used to rely on while Ingrid was still alive is giving her the cold shoulder, so she is utterly alone. Through her memories of Ingrid, Caitlin begins to pull herself together and realizes that she has to come to terms with Ingrid’s death before she can really begin living again.
As you can see from my summary of Hold Still, this book deals with some very heavy subjects. The issue of teen suicide is more prevalent than ever – more and more, teenagers are having to deal with their friends and acquaintances trying to take their own lives. Therefore, this book, while difficult to read at times, is very important and deals with some incredibly serious issues.
Caitlin is a great character that I enjoyed getting to know in Hold Still. While she was in a very dark place at the beginning of this novel, she doesn’t wallow in self-despair for the duration of it. She really wants to come to terms with Ingrid’s death so she can start living again. While she does act out at times, it’s perfectly understandable. – it’s not really frustrating or annoying. Caitlin is very easy to like and sympathize with.
I thought the discussion of depression in Hold Still was very interesting and well done. Often in situations such as this, there is a measure of survivor’s guilt – why didn’t I see the signs? I should have known something like this was going to happen, I should have paid more attention! While Caitlin does experience a decent amount of this, Hold Still makes the effects of depression clear. There was nothing Caitlin could have done – it wasn’t about her.
Hold Still was a solid read about Caitlin’s healing process as she accepts Ingrid’s death. While this book is interesting for adults, I also believe it’s very appropriate for older teens. Though it deals with very heavy subject matter, it’s an uplifting novel in the end.