This week's focus is on Nina LaCour's Hold Still, and Nina talked about how it was difficult to portray main character Caitlin's grief at the suicide of her best friend Ingrid without having the whole story filled with angst, which would be hard for a reader to bear.
For discussion: If you've read Hold Still, did you stay with Caitlin in her dark moments, and follow her into the times where she found light? How did you think the balance worked? Did it feel true?
And, in general, have you read other books where the narrator was grieving? How did the author do with the balance of despair and hope?
My favorite book about someone grieving is Looking For Alaska. The despair and hope balanced there is incredibly perfect.
I loved the balance in HOLD STILL and I think Nina did a gorgeous job with it.
One of my favorite books that deals with grief is THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen, which was also probably the first YA book I read after I grew out of the official "YA" age range. Love.
Yes, I did stay with Caitlin on the journey.
Isn't the key to end the novel with some measure of hope?
Ahhh, The Book Thief.
That cover is beautiful!
Yes, I stayed with her throughout.
The book summary on the back cover revealed the loss, as did the first bit of the book, so it wasn't about that being a surprise, but instead, why she did it, and how her friend dealt with it. It was about the after.
If you liked HOLD STILL, you've got to read SWOLLEN by Melissa Lion.
Erin and Melissa: I love Looking for Alaska and The Truth About Forever also.
I definitely stayed with Caitlin all along. I always felt that she had just enough hope that I wanted to be with her when she started to turn around. I think the only times I've felt distanced from a narrator are when he or she seems self-pitying to an unreasonable degree. But everything Caitlin experiences felt very true to me as a reader.
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