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

Book Review | Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You Book Review Paige's PagesAUTHOR: Nina LaCour
PUBLISHER:
Speak
RELEASE DATE
: May 15, 2014
GENRE
: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Own Voices
PAGE COUNT
: 336
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One sentence blurb: when teen set design intern, Emi, gets her big break working on an independent film, her only distraction is Ava, the secret granddaughter of a Hollywood star.

One thing that everyone seems to be able to agree on is how cool Emi’s world is.  As a set design intern her passion is creating the perfect setting for a scene, which involves inhabiting the characters’ hearts and minds.  I love how she filters everything through a set designer’s lens, noticing details that no one else would see.  Emi’s unique voice and perspective as our narrator is strong and interesting to follow.  I have a lot of love for her. Continue reading

Choose Love, Read Diversely | Valentine’s Day 2018

This Valentine’s Day I’m celebrating love in all its shapes and shades.  Gender, sexuality, race, and religion have nothing to do with the authenticity of a couple’s love.  It’s important to raise up narratives that represent true love in all its forms.

While these recommendations may portray some of the challenges marginalised couples face, this post is about normalising diverse love stories and recognising the beauty of healthy, happy relationships.

 

all loveis createdequal Continue reading

6 Writing Tricks I Learnt from IT by Stephen King

6 Writing Tricks I Learnt from IT by Stephen King Paige's PagesI’m trying something a little different with this post.  Although I didn’t feel right reviewing IT by Stephen King, didn’t want to forget what I loved about it and how it motivated me to try out different techniques in my own writing.  

So the purpose of this post is to reflect on great writing techniques used in this book in a practical way that will help me grow.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find something here to inspire you too!  I have a feeling this post will grow into a blog series, so keep an eye out.

As always, if you have any opinions on this book I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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2018 Diverse Voices Reading Challenge

Happy New Year book lovers!  When you make your New Year’s resolutions, try injecting more diversity into your reading life. 

Diversity is all around us, but we often fail to find it in books and other media.  Check out my 2018 Diverse Voices Reading Challenge and recommendations to kickstart your journey.  This challenge is for readers of all ages!   

If you want more information about reading about diversity, please leave a comment or check out my Own Voices Book Recs page.

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