This book was good, but it could have been much, much more. What was meant to be a story of grief and loss felt underdeveloped and slightly unrealistic, relationships between characters were often confusing and it didn’t seem like the behaviour of the teenaged characters was quite right. The boys populating the story seemed more like the fantasies of what girls want them to be like – openly sensitive and vulnerable in a way that I have never heard of guys acting. I have also never heard a guy say “he’s my best friend” about someone, yet they say it frequently in this story.
Despite its flaws, this was not a bad book. It had its good parts and many of the characters were interesting, it just was not as deep or powerful or thought-provoking as it could have been. The way the characters deal with their grief, while probably in line with real-life reactions, didn’t strike any chords with me as a reader. All I could glean from it was that if I lost my friend, I would have no amazing carpentry or photography skills to fall back on.
All in all this felt more like a Looking For Alaska by way of Paper Towns attempt, with a little bit of Thirteen Reasons Why thrown in but it never reaches the emotion or poignancy of John Green or Jay Asher’s work. Somehow, though, I still found things to enjoy about this book. It’s worth checking out if only for the awesome cubby-house ideas. Recommended for ages 15-18. Contains coarse language, mature themes and sexual references.
View this book on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6373717-hold-still?ac=1
View all current information on the movie adaptation: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2334536/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1