Jan 25, 2013
Free Book Friday: HOLD STILL
This weekend, thousands of librarians will be converging on Seattle for the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. One of the most eagerly awaited events takes place at the crack of dawn on Monday morning, Jan. 28, when the ALA Youth Media Awards will be announced. This is when we learn which books the ALA has selected for its Newbery and Printz awards, among others. This is also when we learn which novel — of the five finalists announced in December — has won the 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award.
Three years ago, my debut novel, Ash, was one of the Morris Award finalists. This was an honor that I truly had not been expecting, partly because I didn’t know what to expect my debut year! I’m so glad I didn’t know, because it made the Morris Award that much more exciting.
Back in 2010, Ash was recognized alongside Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, The Everafter by Amy Huntley, Hold Still by Nina LaCour, and Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan. Lisa (aka L.K.) won the Morris that year for her funny, sharp novel. Sadly, Lisa passed away in February 2011. Although I didn’t know Lisa well, in the brief time I did know her, I was impressed by her passion and groundedness. Every year when the Morris Award finalists are announced, I remember Lisa, and I think of the time that has passed since our debut year.
So much has happened since then. I’ve learned a lot! I know much more about what to expect in publishing, and I’m probably more grateful for the Morris now than I was then. Now I know how crowded the YA market is; how difficult it is to make one book stand out. Three years later, Ash remains my most successful book, and I know it’s partly because of the Morris.
That’s why today for Free Book Friday I’m giving away one of the books that was honored three years ago: Nina LaCour’s Hold Still.
Back in 2010, when our publishers invited us to gather together for dinner with the Morris Award committee, I received an extra copy of Nina’s beautiful book. It’s even signed by her! Even though I had a copy of hers already, I couldn’t resist taking a second one. Over the holidays I discovered that I had never given that second copy to anyone as a gift, as I’d been planning (apparently I’d been hoarding it), which means it makes a perfect giveaway for Free Book Friday right before this year’s Morris Award winner will be announced.
If you don’t know much about Hold Still, here’s the description:
In the wake of her best friend Ingrid’s suicide, Caitlin is left alone, struggling to find hope and answers. When she finds the journal Ingrid left behind for her, she begins a journey of understanding and broadening her horizons that leads her to new friendships and first love. Nina LaCour brings the changing seasons of Caitlin’s first year without Ingrid to life with emotion, honesty, and captivating writing.
And here are some of the wonderful reviews it’s received:
“This novel is a poignant and beautifully crafted depiction about the grief that a person goes through after a profound loss, whether through suicide or illness. Caitlin is an incredibly real character who seems to step out of the book to sit beside the reader as they move through her first year without Ingrid. A fresh voice to the world of young adult literature, LaCour offers a style of mixed diary entries that blends flawlessly with the sections of Caitlin’s interactions with the world around her, creating a moving novel that speaks to the hope that can come from such a devastating grief.”
— VOYA, starred review
“Interspersed with drawings and journal entries, the story of Caitlin’s journey through her grief is both heart-wrenching and realistic. [With] A smart voice, an engrossing story and genuine emotion… LaCour strikes a new path through a familiar story, leading readers with her confident writing and savvy sense of prose.”
“A beautifully written, gently moving account of a long goodbye that will resonate with anyone who has ever had to let go before they were ready.”
— Sara Zarr, author of Story of a Girl
Would you like to win a first-edition hardcover copy of Hold Still, signed by Nina LaCour? This giveaway is open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Enter here:
(Note: Sometimes I give extra entries for tweeting or liking me on Facebook, but if you’re like me, you might find it annoying if people are always asking you to tweet or like things. So sometimes, like this week, the giveaway will be really easy: Just enter to win. That’s all, no strings attached. Of course, you’re welcome to share the giveaway info with your friends if you’d like! Of course, that would decrease your chances of winning, so … it’s up to you. I just want someone to get this awesome book!)