Hold still / Nina LaCour ; with illustrations by Mia Nolting.
Booklist Reviews 2009 October #2
After teen Ingrid commits suicide, Caitlin, 16, is overcome with grief and guilt: "My best friend is dead, and I could have saved her." Why didn't she see it coming? Then she finds Ingrid's diary, and the journal entries (including a secret of sexual trauma) are woven into the story along with Caitlin's memories as she goes through stages of sorrow, depression, anger, and recovery, with the support of her loving parents. She also becomes close to a gorgeous, understanding classmate, Taylor ("his lip grazes my earlobe, and my body fills with light"); makes friends with her lesbian classmate, Dylan; works on her photography; and bonds with her art teacher. Set in the suburbs of San Francisco, this first novel may try to cover too much. But the immediate, present-tense, first-person narrative stays true to a teen's daily experience, and whether Caitlin is building a tree house or watching the demolition of a theater, the metaphors of loss and recovery are rooted in the surprising dramas of daily life. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
Caitlin is adrift after the suicide of her best friend, Ingrid; even her beloved photography course fails to inspire her. When Caitlin finds Ingrid's journal, she gains insight into her friend's complex life and discovers a measure of hope for herself. LaCour's debut is a fresh take on a well-worn subject and a passionate argument for creativity as a vehicle for healing. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
PW Reviews 2009 August #5
LaCour makes an impressive debut with an emotionally charged young adult novel about friendship and loss. Caitlin begins her junior year in high school bitter and stunned over the recent suicide of her best friend Ingrid, a talented photographer and artist. Afraid to risk new friendships and unable to continue her own artistic endeavors, Caitlin finds herself in a state of paralysis, wrestling with questions that may remain unanswered. Then she discovers Ingrid's journal, a record of her thoughts during her final days, and reasons for her tragic, perhaps inevitable fate begin to come to light. What is most remarkable about LaCour's tale is her ability to make the presence of an absent character so deeply felt. The entries and pictures in Ingrid's journal vibrate with feeling and provide insight into the pain of chronic depression ("the sun stopped shining for me is all. the whole story is: i am sad. i am sad all the time and the sadness is so heavy that I can't get away from it"). Ingrid's secrets are excruciating to discover, but the ample evidence of her creative force makes it clear that her life had meaning. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)[Page 1]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.