Hold Still deals with a girl’s life in the aftermath of her best friend’s survival. It’s not a deeply dramatic or very dark book, and I found that Caitlin’s story was tinged with honest realism. Sure, she’s really torn up about what happened, and she’s kind of a mess, but not in an extreme sense. She still goes to school, talks to people, hangs out. This book isn’t so much about suicide or grief as living life, even when things go bad. That’s definitely a message I can stand behind, and the author’s simple treatment made this much more my style of book.
As a character-focused reader, I love books when the characters are believable and three-dimensional. I especially love books where everyone is nice. Hold Still has no villain, and I appreciated that so much. No character is perfect, but everyone is trying to do their best. Caitlin’s friends and family make mistakes, but they’re nice people through it all. Caitlin doesn’t like everyone at her school, but none of them fall into the “bitchy blond cheerleader” or “asshole bad boy” character type. LaCour peopled this novel with authentic, real people, and that was definitely the best part of this book.
At the same time, this is still an extremely short book. It covers all its bases and I didn’t feel like there were missing pieces, but there still could have been more. I’m not sure how impacting Hold Still is going to be in the long run. I enjoyed the story and liked Caitlin, but nothing stood out to me. It was kind of a case where I saw potential and loved the concept, but didn’t think the idea was played out as well as it could have been.
I think that, overall, this is a very worthwhile read. I don’t have any major criticisms to make about it, though it didn’t quite blow me away. Hold Still is a wonderful coming of age story about a strong young woman. It was unique and definitely one I’d recommend to other readers. And after this, I’ll be more willing to read other books Nina LaCour writes in the future.