On My Bookshelf: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

October 02, 2017

Hold Still by Nina LaCour is a heart breaking, ugly cry inducing kind of book so have your box of tissues ready. Caitlin is struggling with normalcy after the suicide of her best friend Ingrid. She finds Ingrid's journal, whose entries paint one of the most accurate depictions of depression that I've seen in literature. Every girl that has had that one best friend at one point in their lives, the kind of best friend that excludes the need for any other friends, will connect with the beauty of Caitlin's friendship with Ingrid while she was living. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: In the wake of her best friend Ingrid's suicide, Caitlin is left alone, struggling to find hope and answers. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind for her, she begins a journey of understanding and broadening her horizons that leads her to new friendships and first love. Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin's first year without Ingrid to life with emotion, honesty, and captivating writing.

Why I liked it: Hold Still is a heart breaking, ugly cry inducing kind of book so have your box of tissues ready. Ingrid's journal entries paint one of the most accurate depictions of depression that I've seen in literature. She emphasizes that there is no way to explain or rationalize her sadness or her suicide (contrary to the message readers/viewers might have taken away from  13 Reasons Why).

I also found Caitlin's struggle with normalcy after the death of her best friend to be very realistic. Everyone is pushing her to move on, but she is overwhelmed with memories of Ingrid and the guilt that she could have and should have done something different. Each time Caitlin seems to making progress toward returning to normalcy, it's that guilt that drags her back down.
Hold Still by Nina LaCour is a heart breaking, ugly cry inducing kind of book so have your box of tissues ready. Caitlin is struggling with normalcy after the suicide of her best friend Ingrid. She finds Ingrid's journal, whose entries paint one of the most accurate depictions of depression that I've seen in literature. Every girl that has had that one best friend at one point in their lives, the kind of best friend that excludes the need for any other friends, will connect with the beauty of Caitlin's friendship with Ingrid while she was living. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Every girl that has had that one best friend at one point in their lives, the kind of best friend that excludes the need for any other friends, will connect with the beauty of Caitlin's friendship with Ingrid while she was living: their shared interest in photography and film, their inside jokes, the ways that their personalities compliment each other. 


Classroom application: This young adult novel would a great addition to a high school classroom library. It's themes are a little too mature for middle school.


The novel would be a great addition to literature circles themed around mental health issues and paired with other young adult novels like Challenger Deep and Every Last Word.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Hold Still for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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