Review: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1 edition (October 20, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525421556

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 new found 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 .


The loss of a friendship is never easy, but when it is due to suicide it takes on a different meaning. The sadness, anger, grief and the ever present question why? Hold Still by Nina LaCour is a powerful and moving story about a girl that is trying to cope with the death of her best friend and how she is maneuvers her way through that grief to shine with hope.

Caitlin and Ingrid were the best friends, together through thick and thin, inseparable. ..until Ingrid takes her own life and Caitlin is left behind trying to comprehend this unbearable loss. At first Caitlin exhibits the emotional turmoil that is expected with such a tragedy and the depth and feelings that are witnessed are raw and deep. Then she finds Ingrid's diary that was obviously left for her to read and with each entry Caitlin comes to terms with the fact that her best friend was plagued by darkness. As I read through certain moments I would feel my breath catch and find it hard to breath, Caitlin's emotions felt that "real" to me and it gave life to a character that I understood and could relate to. I also appreciated how her love of photography and creative instincts helped her cope with her loss, this all gave her added depth that I rounded added to her believability.

Nina did a bang up job of creating Caitlin, but this story did not stop with her. Hold Still is a collaboration of amazing characters that are very well written and appreciated. They all gave this story it's heart and depth as you witness Caitlin break out of her shell, create new relationships and grow. Together, they set a hopeful tone instead of the weight of sadness.

I was a huge procrastinator in reading this book, because I have had it sitting on my book shelf staring at me for well over a year. I even went to Nina's book launch and left that night in awe after listening to her read an excerpt and the artwork presented in the novel not to mention the many kudos that went around the room that night. So, now I am kicking myself for being all kinds of stupid because I truly enjoyed this novel. Her simplistic yet effective writing style, beautiful imagery and message are not one to be missed.


  1. Like you, I fell in love with this novel. I still can't forget the strong impact the theater had on me, how it felt like a living breathing character itself. I agree that Caitlin's feelings were very real and that made her easy to relate to. Great review and I'm glad you liked this one as much as I did!

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