I first read Nina LaCour a few months back with her second book The Discenchanments. I completely fell in love with her writing style and her character development. Knowing I had Hold Still in my possession I was hesitant to read it because it was so different from the other book. But after a gentle push from a fellow reader I finally caved. And simply put, it was magnificent! That's really all I can use to describe this amazingly emotional book about loss, and being the one left behind.
Hold Still is the story of Caitlin, a high school junior, whose life has been turned upside down since her best friend Ingrid committed suicide at the end of their sophomore year. Without Ingrid by her side Caitlin is a mess and she has no idea how to put the pieces of herself back together when she feels one of them is missing. Then months after Ingrid's death Caitlin finds her friend's journal tucked under her bed. With each entry Caitlin finds out not only more about Ingrid but more about herself though Ingrid's eyes. With the help of the journal and a mismatch group of people Caitlin slowly begins to pull herself together and figure out that is sucks that she was left behind, but she needs to live her life and let Ingrid go.
It really was a fantastic story. My heart was completely shattered by Caitlin. I can't even fathom what it would be like to feel the pain and guilt she felt over the loss of her friend. I 100% believed every reaction she had and how she withdrew from everything and everyone until she was ready to come out of her self imposed shell and that credit goes hands down to the writing ability of LaCour. She managed to write Caitlin, her parents, Jayson, Taylor and Dylan in a way that made sense and all clicked together. Caitlin had a broken heart and that's exactly how she acted. And like all broken hearts they can only be healed with time and patience and that is exactly what everyone in the story gave her. They didn't treat her with kid gloves, but they didn't push. They were a support system even if it meant being silent and just looking out for her.
I have to say there were two things I loved the most in this book. The first was the way the story unfolded. As the readers we didn't get to see what was happening to Caitlin everyday. There were gaps in time and at places the story, but it all flowed in a way that made sense. We didn't need to read every detail to understand what was going on and I appreciated that. It's easy to get into agonizing detail, but LaCour managed to get the same story through without beating us over the head with it. In a book that could have been 400 pages easy, she got the emotional story out in less then 250. And secondly there was the relationships Caitlin had with her parents, the new girl Dylan and the boy she knew her whole life Taylor. Those relationships, no matter how subtle, were what made Caitlin strong enough to want to get out of the black whole she was in and to figure out what she meant to Ingrid even if she never said the words. Those people are people that all needed Caitlin and she needed them. Without that supporting cast I'm not sure the book would have been as amazing as it was.
All in all if you haven't read this one yet I highly recommend you do. Don't be like me and wait. Pick it up and you won't be disappointed. And when you are done with this one, pick up The Discenchaments and let LaCour take you on another fabulous journey.