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 newfound 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.More
"LaCour strikes a new path through a familiar story, leading readers with her confident writing and savvy sense of prose." (Kirkus)
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For Those Who Remain Behind
I was concerned about starting this book when I did. A student at the school where I teach chose to take his life and I thought my timing might have too big of an impact. However, I feel like I read an accurate portrayal of all the multiple emotions felt by those left behind and the one who chose to leave. I have several students who knew it was in my queue and are now reading it for themselves. One has suggested that it is helping. I can only hope.
A Moving Story of Love and Loss
Hold Still is a story about a young woman who loses her best friend to suicide. Ingrid's suicide is linked to her battle with depression, and I appreciate that this book and its characters were not hung up on trying to understand *WHY* the suicide took place. Rather, the book gives credit where credit is due - depression is a serious illness and people who have it sometimes do terrible things to free themselves from the pain. Instead of focusing on why, we get to follow Ingrid's best friend through her first year without Ingrid - the good, the bad and the ugly. We get to watch her best friend and others (her parents, her teacher, her crush) try to accept that life must go on without her. Ingrid leaves a journal behind that helps to heal her loved ones even as it reveals the brutal reality of her depression.
There is nothing worse than listening to a young adult novel read by an adult trying to sound like a teenager. Some adult's voices are simply too mature to carry it off. A good example is the woman who narrated the Hunger Games series. I read the first book and developed my own idea of what Katniss sounded like, then I listened to the second and third book and the woman who read them was a real buzz kill. It was like listening to my mother attempt to portray Katniss.
Emma Galvin's voice, on the other hand, is perfect to portray a young adult. It has a youthful ring to it, balanced nicely by smart clarity as she reads. She has the ability to bring the characters to life without making them all seem the same. I rated Emma's performance higher than the story itself, and I believe I probably enjoyed this story more because Emma was the reader.
Overall, Hold Still was an enjoyable read. It is thoughtful without being too heavy. It is respectful the nature of depression. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the impact of depression on teenagers, and the impact of suicide on those who are left behind.