"Hold Still"

Today we welcome a new reviewer, Megan Duncan, a junior at Washington High School who has a passion for reading, writing and journalism. Megan is “open to all books but her favorites are romance and fantasy related.” By reviewing for MO Books, she “hopes to help inspire others to read new books that they normally wouldn't choose for themselves.”

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“Hold Still,” by Nina LaCour, is an amazing depiction of how one event, especially a death, can turn many lives upside down with confusion and loss.

The book follows Caitlin, a high school junior, through the year following her best friend Ingrid's suicide. After Ingrid’s sudden death Caitlin is left feeling vulnerable and alone, wondering if she ever even knew her best friend and if she may have in some way caused her suicide.

Ingrid left no notes. Nothing for her parents or anyone else to read as to why she did it. That's what Caitlin thinks until she finds Ingrid's journal shoved under Caitlin’s bed. Caitlin is taken over by the journal, bringing it with her wherever she goes, not wanting to lose the only part of Ingrid she has left.

Through the book, we get to read Ingrid’s journal entries alongside Caitlin as she finds out all terrible events leading up to her friend’s death and all the depressive and suicidal thoughts Ingrid had.

Caitlin also struggles with moving on, struggles with feelings of guilt about living her life without Ingrid. Caitlin becomes friends with a girl named Dylan but constantly thinks of it as a betrayal to her once best friend.

Dylan is not the only new person in Caitlin’s life; she also is developing a relationship with a boy named Taylor. Letting people in, especially romantically, proves to be challenging for Caitlin as she is still trying to comprehend all the details of Ingrid’s death.

Both Dylan and Taylor try to comfort Caitlin in these hard times, but sometimes she may push them both a little too far leading to new problems that she must, in turn, face.

“Hold Still” is not an “easy” book to read. I cried...many times, especially because of Ingrid’s journal entries, but ultimately the book beautifully depicts how suicide not only takes a life but leaves many aching and feeling pain afterward.

I applaud LaCour’s writing style and how she did not shy away from the gruesome reality of suicide and how it happens. This heartfelt book leaves the reader thinking, and questioning the fronts many people put on that hide what they are going through. Anyone looking for a psychological book that hits on loss, love, and recovery should definitely read “Hold Still.”