Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

  • by Chris Bohjalian
  • Narrated by Grace Blewer
  • 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the best-selling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls.
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves. Half a year earlier, a nuclear plant in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom had experienced a cataclysmic meltdown, and both of Emily's parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault. Was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to flee their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that, as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer's apartment, and inventing a new identity for herself - an identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. When Emily befriends a young homeless boy named Cameron, she protects him with a ferocity she didn't know she had. But she still can't outrun her past, can't escape her grief, can't hide forever - and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.
A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian's finest novels to date - breathtaking, wise, and utterly transporting.


What the Critics Say

"Emily's story is both heartbreaking and frightening.... The book rings with poetry and truth." (Jeanne Bogino, Library Journal)
"I have a new favorite Chris Bohjalian novel. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is a book I wish I'd been smart enough to write: A masterpiece of narrative voice, of emotion, and of how - as Emily Dickinson might say - the sparest of words can hold a wealth of pain. If you need any proof that fiction can scare us, move us, and break our hearts simultaneously - look no further." (Jodi Picoult)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

narrator so bad, i could not finish

What would have made Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands better?

I could not even read half. The narrator spoiled it completely. Would have liked to have heard more pf the story,, but could not tolerate the narrator's voice or storytelling. I am going to return it.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not sure yet

Would you be willing to try another one of Grace Blewer’s performances?


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?


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- Joanie

Narrator practically "hurt" my brain.

Would you try another book from Chris Bohjalian and/or Grace Blewer?

Yes with Bohjalian; no with Blewer.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

A different narrator.

How could the performance have been better?

Character in the book is young but the narrator isn't skilled enough to sound "young" well.

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- Michelle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2014
  • Publisher: Random House Audio