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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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

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

6 Writing Tricks I Learnt from The Hunger Games

Writing Tricks I Learnt from The Hunger Games Paige's PagesWelcome back to my Read Like a Writer series!  My first post, 6 Writing Tricks I Learnt from IT by Stephen King, was fun to write and also helpful as a reflective practice, so I’m back for more. 

The purpose of this series is 1. to reflect on the technique the author is using and how, and 2. ask how I can practically apply this technique to my own writing.

I’m currently rereading The Hunger Games.  Even the second time, it is gripping and tense, well-structured and full of great characters.  I think Suzanne Collins’ writing tricks apply to any genre and audience.  

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Reading Highlights 2017 Part One | Young Adult & Junior Fiction

Dear bloggers and book lovers, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!  I know this time of year can be both relaxing and stressful, so I hope you are practicing good self-care.  One of my favourite things about the holiday season is reflecting on the books I’ve read.  I covered YA + junior fiction and adult fiction + nonfiction in two separate posts, since I simply had too many favourites this year!

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Book Review | When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi Book Review Paige's PagesTITLE: When Dimple Met Rishi
AUTHOR
: Sandhya Menon
PUBLISHER
: Simon Pulse
RELEASE DATE
: May 30, 2017
GENRE
: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance
PAGE COUNT
: 380


When Dimple Met Rishi is a light-hearted rom-com for anyone who’s ever questioned what they want from life.  This book excellently portrays the dilemmas “new adults” face when leaving the nest, and explores generational relationships when cultural traditions are at stake.  We even get a fab feminist protagonist to lead the way on this adventure.   Continue reading