19 July 2011

Review: Hold still - Nina LaCour

Hold still by Nina LaCour
published 2009
young adult, stand-alone
bought my copy

Caitlin doesn't know how to go on, ever since her best friend Ingrid comitted suicide she feels lost and guilty. She torments herself with questions like: Could I have helped Ingrid and rescued her? Everyday life and high school feel strange and incomplete without Ingrid by her site.
Caitlin needs to learn anew to have fun in life and to not feel guilty for living. With the help of her parents, friends and a journal, that Ingrid left at Caitlin's place, she tries to understand why her best friend killed herself and to go on with her life.

I bought my copy of "Hold still" on a whim when I saw it in an online bookstore. I had just finished a great young adult book about loss & grief by Amy Kathleen Ryan (Shadow Falls) and was interested in more books with these themes. I was suprised by how perfect "Hold still" worked for me. I loved it even though it gave me a headache because it made me cry a lot.
Caitlin is an amazing character, I loved everything about her. The way she questioned her own behaviour was tormenting and I felt everything she felt. The strength that Caitlin showed at the end of the story was outstanding and I was fascinated by every step she took on her journey back to a "normal" life. I loved that Caitlin's parents were wonderful and helped her with her grief. Both her mom and dad were truly adorable and I especially liked her dad's way to bring some joy back into Caitlin's life. It's always nice and refreshing to read a young adult story with parents that are just as they should be.

The insight that sometimes you are powerless to help a loved person is always hard to accept. Caitlin asked herself some hard questions because of keeping quiet when she knew that something with Ingrid was not ok. There are no easy answers to these questions and I liked how Caitlin dealt with them in the end.

Ingrid's journal was full of heart-breaking messages and reading them was very emotional and disturbing. I could feel Ingrid's pain and self-doubt. In the end I could even understand some of her feelings and realized that the pain she lived with was hard to explain to other people. The way Nina LaCour portrayed Ingrid's depression and her boundless despair was very powerful and felt real.

i spend all of you pretending i'm ok when i'm not,
pretending i'm happy when i'm not, pretending about
everything to everyone.

"Hold Still" was a very emotional and gut-wrenching book and I would recommend it to all readers because it's so powerful, arresting and full of interesting and great characters. I loved that the author didn't shy away from showing the dark reality of depression and that she gave Caitlin time to deal with what happened.

final appraisal
"Hold still" is a very emotional book about loss, suicide and depression. To read how Caitlin went on with her life after her best friend died was arresting and to read how strong she became was wonderful. Make sure to have some tissues with you when you read the book. 


  1. Uh oh. Sounds wonderful and powerful but I'm weak. I am not sure I can handle a book that has me crying right now, but I think I'll keep it in mind when I need one of those cleansing cries, because this book sounds like it delivers that.

    I agree that the hardcover seems to fit the premise better than this cover.

  2. I too loved this book. I didn't really expect much from it before I read it, but I thought it was so heart wrenching! It's a great story

  3. @ Jillian: Dito to what you said.

    @ Janicu: I read this book when I was in a very good and positive mood, otherwise it would have been too emotional for me. So I can understand what your are saying.




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