Hold Fast

Featured
 
4.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1600   0
Write Review
Hold Fast
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
11+
Release Date
March 01, 2013
ISBN
9780545299886
Buy This Book
      
From NYT bestselling author Blue Balliett, the story of a girl who falls into Chicago's shelter system, and from there must solve the mystery of her father's strange disappearance.

Where is Early's father? He's not the kind of father who would disappear. But he's gone . . . and he's left a whole lot of trouble behind.

As danger closes in, Early, her mom, and her brother have to flee their apartment. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to move into a city shelter. Once there, Early starts asking questions and looking for answers. Because her father hasn't disappeared without a trace. There are patterns and rhythms to what's happened, and Early might be the only one who can use them to track him down and make her way out of a very tough place.

With her signature, singular love of language and sense of mystery, Blue Balliett weaves a story that takes readers from the cold, snowy Chicago streets to the darkest corner of the public library, on an unforgettable hunt for deep truths and a reunited family.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0  (2)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0  (1)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0

Hold Fast and Hold Tight

It has been a long time since I have read a book and completely fallen in love with the characters. All that changed when I picked up Hold Fast. I didn't want to finish the book - I didn't want to leave the characters- I just wanted to keep on reading. Early, Sum, Dash, and Jubie are characters you want to hold on to. I wanted to know how things ended but didn't want to say goodbye.

Reading is important to the Pearl family and Early's father reads to his children constantly. The Pearls dream of owning a home in a nice neighborhood. So to earn extra money, the father starts a side job delivering old books. But this job lands him in serious trouble. Early's father just disappears!

Balliett demonstrates her own love of words throughout this novel. She writes poetically about the city of Chicago and the power of family. Her use of wordplay through Early's voice allows the reader to see the magic and power of words. Being a self-proclaimed word nerd myself, Hold Fast illustrates all the wonder I see in language.

The characters in this book are well developed and believable. Early is persistent, clever and true to her family. The story line is intriguing as Balliett takes readers on a variety of twists and turns. What happened o Early's father? Will the family ever be together again? Was Early's dad the man they thought he was?

Hold Fast also introduces younger readers to the poetry of Langston Hughes. One of his books is at the center of the main mystery of the book. The poems ring true to Early and touch deep into the heart of the family and Early starts to see his words as clues. As Hughes reflects on the importance of dreams, Early has dreams of her own.

Students who like a bit of mystery and a story of persistence will enjoy this book. Hold Fast is great as a read aloud and for adults as well. The book doesn't stay long on my classroom bookshelf and has gotten rave reviews from my class.

Was this review helpful to you? 
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Mystery with social importance.

Early Pearl's parents Dash and Summer, are having a hard time of it-- Early was born when they were still in high school, they don't have Early's grandparents around to help, and Dash, the father, works hard at the Chicago Public library to make ends meet. The family lives in a small but cozy apartment, reading lots of books and playing together. One day, Dash is apparently hit by a truck and disappears. Summer knows that Dash isn't the kind of father to run off on his family, but all of the police and social workers look at the family's socioeconomic status and decide that he is. Things go from bad to worse without Dash's income, and after the family's apartment is trashed by masked robbers looking for something in the family's book, the Pearls end up in a homeless shelter. Early is especially upset by this (her brother Jubilation is too young to understand their plight fully) and is determined to find out what has happened to her father so the family can get back to their dream of owning their own home. She spends time at the library where her father worked, interviewing those who knew him and trying to figure out why he was selling books out of their apartment, and finds her father's former teacher, Mr. Waive, who has fallen on hard times himself but does all he can to assist Early. How are the books tied in to her father's disappearance? What does the largest diamond heist have to do with the masked robbers? Will Dash return to the family before things become even more dire?

Good Points
A strong sense of place, as well as excellent details about what it is like to be homeless, add a lot to this mystery. Lyrical language and the use of Langston Hughes' poetry will make this one teachers love to use as a class read aloud. The social aspects of Early's homelessness and her desire to help other families in her situation is a good touch as well. I found this a more intriguing read than Chasing Vermeer and the books in that series.
Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Come Home, Angus
Angus woke up mad and knew today was not his...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rulers of the Playground
A stunning picture book about sharing, friendship, and kindness in...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
June Sparrow and the Million Dollar Penny
June Sparrow and her best friend—a miniature pig named Indigo...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Story Sparks:  Finding Your Best Story Ideas & Turning Them into Compelling Fiction
Find rock-solid story ideas before you start writing ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Girl in the Tower
A remarkable young woman blazes her own trail, from the...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Coming Up For Air
Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework....
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Landscape with Invisible Hand
National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
26091228.jpg
Follow-up to the New York Times bestselling novel, Forget Tomorrow!...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Follow Me (Amateurs #2)
It was the perfect night for a party. That is,...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fireblood
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Nothing
From Annie Barrows, the acclaimed #1 New York Times–bestselling...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome Home
Welcome Home collects a number of adoption-themed fictional short...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Even the Darkest Stars
The first in a sweeping and action-packed debut fantasy...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright
Stephen Albie Bright leads a happy, normal life. Well, as...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Roar (Stormheart #1)
 
N/A
"DNF PAGE 133 - I hate DNFing a book. I hardly ever do it. I personally feel like I'm giving..."
Truthers
 
3.3
"So, I've said before that for some reason I love conspiracy theories. Do I believe any of them? No. I..."
Mask of Shadows
 
3.3
"Okay I loved the premise of this book and I love the fact that it features a Genderfluid MC but..."
Hunted
 
3.7
"What I love most about this book is the setting. Medieval Russia, like hell yeah sign me up! I love..."
The Hanging Girl
 
4.0
"The Hanging Girl was a quick, suspenseful read. Author Eileen Cook has a great writing style. The story picked up..."
Princess Breeze
 
4.3
"This is the second book in a very adorable, fun series. This book starts with Breeze Brannigan's end of eighth..."
Coming Up For Air
 
4.3
"Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat. All of Maggie’s focus and free time..."
Landscape with Invisible Hand
 
4.3
"Aliens have invaded Earth and promise to share their technology. Of course most people are very excited about the idea..."
Invictus
 
4.7
"Time-travelling thieves. Who doesn’t want to read about that? Invictus follows Farway Gaius McCarthy, a wannabe time-traveller who was..."
Follow Me (Amateurs #2)
 
3.7
"The gang's (Seneca, Maddox, Aerin, and Madison) back again in "Follow Me" by Sara Shepard, author of the "Pretty Little..."
Even the Darkest Stars
 
3.0
"Kamzin dreams of being an explorer, climbing mountains, and finding adventures. When a twist of fate allows her to journey..."
Welcome Home
 
3.7
"WELCOME HOME is a collection of stories about adoption from a number of perspectives, from teens who are meeting their..."
A Short History of the Girl Next Door
 
5.0
"I HAVE NEVER CRIED SO HARD READING A BOOK. Or laughed. Or laughed AND cried at the same time. I..."
Fireblood (Frostblood #2)
 
3.7
" Fireblood is the sequel to Frostblood and thus follows Ruby as her journey furthers..."
Frostblood
 
3.0
"Frostblood follows a young girl through a journey of revenge and romance. Ruby is a Fireblood, one of the last..."
No Good Deed
 
4.0
"No Good Deed is the book you didn’t know you needed in your life. Goldy Moldavsky has been..."
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
 
5.0
"THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING is a tale that will take you into the weird, fascinating, and adventurous world..."
Nothing
 
4.0
"'Nothing' by Annie Barrows has an intriguing premise. The two girls in the story - Charlotte and Frankie - feel..."
The Hate U Give
 
5.0
"I am honestly floored by The Hate U Give. Everything about this novel touched me in irrevocable ways and I..."
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
 
4.7
"I was excited to be asked to read and review I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER. I love stories..."