cover image  Hold Still

Hold Still

Nina LaCour, . . Dutton, $17.99 (229pp) ISBN 978-0-525-42155-9

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.)