"Mom says Ingrid's name and I start to hum, not the melody to a
song, just one drawn-out note. I know it makes me seem crazy, I know
it won't make anything change, but it's better than crying, it's
better than screaming, it's better than listening to what they tell me."
Caitlin, protagonist of Nina LaCour's Hold Still, has a lot to
deal with. Her best friend has committed suicide. After a summer
screening out her concerned but seemingless parents, she must return
to school without her best friend. The photography teacher who has
been a mentor to Ingrid and Caitlin, from whom Caitlin had expected
understanding and support, is cold and distant.
One day, looking for a remote, Caitlin reaches under her bed.
She makes an unexpected find: Ingrid's personal journal. Was it
kicked there by mistake? Was it left there for her to find?
"For some reason, I feel afraid. It's like I'm split down the
middle and one half of me wants to open it more than I've ever wanted
to do anything. The other half of me is so scared I can't stop
The book gives her a glimpse at the Ingrid her best friend hid
from the rest of the world. It portrays a girl who, despite
psychiatric help and meds, deserately sought a reason to live but
increasingly succumbed to despair. The final page is a letter to
Sadly suicide is all too common for young people. A lot of high
school kids lose friends and family this way. Hold Still, with its
poignant portrayal of a girl struggling to cope with this needless
loss of her best friend, is a must have for public and middle and high
school libraries. Teachers and guidance counselors--put this fine
book on your summer reading list.
On a personal note, I lost a very good friend recently. Paul was in
my writing class. He always sat beside me. He was an humble,
thoughtful man--a nonegenarian who lived more fully that many people
years away from AARP membership eligibility. I really miss him. I
will always treasure the shell, coral, sea star, hardened volcano
lava, and sarong he brought me back from a trip to Hawaii.
A great big shout out goes out to Paul. He touched many peoples lives
for the better.
Sent from my iPod