Hold Still by Nina LaCour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a story about a particular kind of grief, set in the aftermath of a suicide. Pretty grim subject matter, I know. But LaCour's handling of it is deft. The novel is wonderfully raw and authentic, without ever becoming maudlin.
After Ingrid kills herself, her best friend, Caitlin, is left with a few precious (and dangerous) artifacts: a diary, and the photos that Ingrid, an aspiring photographer, left behind. And by studying these entries and images, Caitlin comes to understand everything she didn't know (and perhaps couldn't know) about her friend when she was alive. Over the course of the following year, Caitlin struggles to make sense of what has happened and to redefine herself in Ingrid's absence. The other characters in the book are complex, and their responses to Caitlin (and her nearly debilitating grief) are credible and heart-breaking.
There is both photography and a tree house, which is pretty much all it takes for me to love a book, but this is a good one. And I would recommend it to both teens and adults alike, particularly to anyone who has lost someone to suicide.