Friday, October 23, 2015

Review: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

Title: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Page Count: 288
2 TURTLES: A so-so read. It had some redeeming qualities, but not enough to recommend.
*This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

About the Book:
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.

Well, that was depressing…

That was the first thing I thought after I finished Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t give this book the rating I did merely because there was very little happiness in it. Some of my favorite books have horribly tragic endings (The Book Thief, anyone?) but perhaps what sets them apart from this book is what the tragedy accomplishes. Whether it relays a message that resonates with me or channels the ancient Greeks by evoking a sense of catharsis, if a book is going to be a downer I want my initial reaction to finishing to be different from “well thank goodness that’s over”.

This book was very nearly a DNF for me, in fact I started it over a year ago and took a break because I couldn’t get into it. I picked it back up and finished it recently, but never felt totally invested in the story. I did really like some aspects of Chris Bohjalian’s writing. I thought his out-of-sequence narration really added to the suspense, the narrator’s voice sounded really authentic (which can be tricky with a teen MC), and I enjoyed how he interweaved Emily Dickinson through it. I just couldn’t get past how dark and bleak it all was.

If you love really dark fiction then I’d suggest take a look at it. Personally, I like to stick to stories that are a bit more hopeful.

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

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