I've spent the last few hours thinking about how in the world I was going to explain what I thought of the book. This is a story that hit pretty close to home for me. I had been close to someone that took their own life, so the emotion that I read about weren't just words on a page. I didn't have to try to imagine how she felt, or think too much about what was going on in her head, because I'd been through something similar. The sadness, the anger and the guilt, towards her friend and herself, were all emotions that I've felt before.
Caitlin was amazingly written! I felt like the author perfectly described the emotions and thoughts that Caitlin was going through. After losing her friend, Caitlin withdrew into herself but as time went on and she found Ingrid's journal, she slowly started to put herself out there and began to move on.
I loved Dylan. She was interesting and different from all the other characters. I loved that she just didn't care about what people thought of her and that she knew who she was and she wasn't ashamed of it. She was a great friend to Caitlin and really helped her move forward with her life.
Although he wasn't as big a character has the others, I really liked Taylor. I wasn't fond if him at first because he seemed a little insensitive, but he started to grow on me after a while. He was supportive and was there for Caitlin when she needed him to be. (I absolutely loved the part when he freaked out about his 'Will work for sex' shirt!)
This story was about more than just suicide, it was about a girl who's life had come crashing down around her, who needed desperately to find herself again and to move forward. She had to let go of the past, focus on the present and fight for her future.
LaCour dealt with a sensitive issue with great nuance, and I cannot wait for her next book. Readers are dropped into Caitlin's story just after her best friend Ingrid has committed suicide, and we follow her through a year of grief, acceptance, and finding a new path. Not a new identity, but new relationships. Her family tries to smother her with love, Ingrid's family gives her distance, and school "friends" don't know how to deal with this young girl still coping with such a devastating loss. But then she meets new girl Dylan and rediscovers Taylor; these new friends are supportive but treat her like she has something to give to them. Readers get glimpses into Ingrid's thoughts through her journal, left for Caitlin under her bed. While the novel deals with many heavy subjects - cutting and suicide being the largest - ultimately this is a story of hope and possibility.
Caitlin doesn't know what she's going to do after her best friend Ingrid commits suicide. Anger mixes with guilt and grief within her, and she struggles through life at school and at home, with people treating her differently as a result.
The discovery of Ingrid's prized journal under her bed, however, helps Caitlin begin to heal and accept the tragedy. As she makes new friends, reconciles with people she's drifted away from, and falls in love, Caitlin begins to better understand the depth of Ingrid's sadness and how she will be able to move on.
HOLD STILL is a beautifully written debut novel about a difficult subject. It will tear at your heart and leave you feel wiser, more fulfilled than when you started out.
Nina LaCour's novel is perhaps more effective than other books about suicide I've read because we are able to step out of Caitlin's head and instead also watch her interact with others. âIssuesâ books run the risk of being too âin the main character's head,â and I appreciated that HOLD STILL shows us how friendship and love are an integral part of healing as well, alongside emotional acceptance and forgiveness.
The characters are a gentle and enjoyable lot, even if they are somewhat lacking in development. How do different people react differently to the loss of a loved one? One person's existenceâand eventual deathâmeans different things for different people, and I felt that HOLD STILL really impressed that satisfactorily.
If you're looking for a challenging but ultimately inspiring read, consider HOLD STILL. The book will linger with you long after you put it down. It is an exceptionally well done book about the aftermaths of suicide, and I look forward to what Nina LaCour has to offer us next.