Book Review | Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Hold Still Book Review Paige's PaigesAUTHOR: Nina LaCour
PUBLISHER: Dutton Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE
: October 20, 2009
GENRE
: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 230
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Nina LaCour has become one of my favourite authors because I feel like I can count on her to deliver great character development and themes. I love her way of unravelling themes cyclically, returning again and again to whimsical and nostalgic images that grow to carry strong meaning for the characters. 

At the heart of Hold Still is loss and loneliness.  When the story begins, Caitlin is feeling  lost at sea after her best friend, Ingrid, commits suicide. The first half of the book is heavy with Caitlin’s grief and her seemingly futile search for meaning and belonging.

The plot is broken into four parts, one for each season. The changing seasons make a poignant backdrop for the changes in Caitlin’s life. Her school photography assignment that forces her to find a new perspective on Ingrid’s life, and her project to build a treehouse in her backyard both spark Caitlin’s character arc. I also love the motif of the abandoned cinema in her neighbourhood, which takes on so much more meaning as the story progresses. Art and the vulnerability to openly express emotion, whether that be in a photograph or a friendship, are key themes.

Since Hold Still deals with suicide and self-harm, it is potentially triggering for some readers. If you’re not sure, keep in mind that it does include explicit details, but not in an overly graphic way (and not in a romanticised or dramatised way). The mood of the book is melancholy with gentle glimpses of hope that emphasise what comes after this trauma. I think this would be a great read for teens who do not experience mental illness, or who knows someone who does, because Caitlin’s point of view as an outsider to Ingrid’s pain means she has to learn to understand her friend’s experience. Basically, this is not Ingrid’s story, but rather the story of someone who does not have a first hand understanding of mental illness.

This is a sad book that may leave your heart aching, but it’s also hopeful and beautiful with its motifs of regrowth, reimagining, and remembering.

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If you like Hold Still, try:

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera ★★★★★ My Review | Add to Goodreads

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3 Mini Reviews of Recent YA Reads

I’ve read a lot of thought-provoking books recently, so I decided to sum up my thoughts quickly for you! If you’ve read any of these titles I would love to hear your opinion in the comments. 

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Take Three Girls

Take Three Girls Review Paige's PagesAUTHORS: Cath Crowley, Fiona Wood, Simmone Howell
PUBLISHER: Pan Australia
RELEASE DATE
: August 29, 2017
GENRE
: Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
PAGE COUNT
: 439
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Told from the alternating points of view of three Melbourne private school girls – each written by a different author – this book looks at the impacts of cyber bullying and the true meaning of friendship. Although cyber bullying is a dark topic, the overall vibe of this book is shiningly positive. I love how each of our narrators, Clem, Ady, and Kate, has a distinct voice and their own emotional journey. Continue reading

2018 YA & Junior Releases I Can’t Wait For

When I was a teenager and read a lot of classics, I never knew the agony/joy of anticipating a new release because all my favourite authors lived decades or centuries ago. But since falling in love with YA and junior fiction and becoming a fangirl of a handful of contemporary authors, all that has changed. I restricted myself to listing only 2018 releases. Here are my highest anticipated releases in chronological order!

2018 Releases Paige's Pages.png

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5 Books You Should Read on Transgender Day of Visibility 2018

March 31st is a day to respect and support transgender people in our community (people who have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from the biological gender they were assigned at birth). 

You want to be an ally?  Be a good listener!  So here are 5 books written BY people from the transgender community.  There’s something here for every age reader, no matter what sort of journey you’re on – be it a journey of awareness and acceptance or self-discovery.

5 Books to Read On Transgender Day of Visibility 2018 Paige's Pages Continue reading

Mini Book Review | Ida by Alison Evans

Ida Book Review Paige's PagesAUTHOR: Alison Evans
PUBLISHER: Echo
RELEASE DATE
: January 1, 2017
GENRE
: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
PAGE COUNT
: 246
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One sentence blurb: Ida’s secret ability to switch at will between parallel universes becomes complicated when she starts to lose control and is stalked by shadowy doppelgangers.


The lightdark surrounds, skin-tight and consuming. Warmth starts at the top of my head; it’s quick this time, and I know in my bones, my skin, I’m going in the right direction – page 9 Continue reading