Author: Chris Bohjalian
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition
Genre:Literature-Coming of Age
Bottom Line: Heartbreaking, raw – a must read.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she’s a pariah, Emily’s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.
Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn’t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she’s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever. – amazon.com
I have a soft spot for books that get me emotionally wrapped up into a character. Such was the case for Emily Shepard, our main protagonist.
Chris writes a no holds barred look into the life of a not-your-average teen who lives through the unthinkable, and just when you think things couldn't get worse, Emily endurs even more. It's rare to see a level of writing that is so factual when portraying a teen, which is probably why I find the YA genre difficult to read. Not the case here: Chris delivers writing that is beautiful, raw and realistic. This is far from a YA read and in the end, is a beautiful coming of age story.
This book is a stark reminder that we never know the battle someone else is fighting until we've walked a mile in their shoes.
I snagged Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands from the new trade paperback releases shelf at the airport about a week ago, and only later realized that Julie had reviewed the hardcover edition. I echo her sentiments in that this would make a fantastic book club read. It'll provide some difficult questions for the group to debate, as so much controversy and pain surrounds Emily's life.