Hold Still by Nina LaCour
Caitlin is just trying to navigate the life of a teenage girl and all that it entails: school, friendships, family; change, love, loss; grief, joy, identity. When her best friend, Ingrid, commits suicide, Caitlin is lost and floundering. Then Caitlin finds Ingrid’s journal shoved under her bed, and feels she has found a way to hold onto Ingrid just a little longer. Caitlin works through her grief, reading the journal entries that reveal so much about Ingrid and taking photographs that reveal more about her own identity than she cares to admit. Ultimately, through words and pictures, Caitlin finds a sense of self without Ingrid and comes to see her friend in a different light.
There is pain and struggle, but the book is also about finding joy and comfort in knowing someone so well and seeing yourself through their eyes. The writing is full of emotion sprinkled with lighter bits, lending a sense of authenticity to Caitlin and the other characters. Overall, it is a compelling, thoughtfully written debut novel.
Gateway Mondays is a weekly series in which we feature staff book reviews of this year’s Gateway Award Finalists. Learn more about this Missouri teen choice award.