Hold Fast

22 Mar

HOLDFASTI fell in love with Blue Balliett’s writing after reading her first middle grade novel – Chasing Vermeer.  She was able to combine so many unique elements into one story that held me spellbound from beginning to end.  In fact, Chasing Vermeer, was the first book discussion book choice that I led as a young college student (even before I got to library school).  I’ve revisited the story many times and have also read the sequels – The Wright Three and The Calder Game, although somehow The Danger Box escaped my book list.

Hold Fast is Blue Balliett’s newest novel just published earlier this month and I truly enjoyed it.  It would make an amazing book discussion book as well with so many issues to discuss.  Early’s father a lover of language and words has gone missing, but Early, her brother Jubilation, and their mother Summer knows that he wouldn’t disappear like this… so what’s happened?  When the police are no help and a home break-in occurs, Summer is forced to take the children to a homeless shelter until they can figure out more information about her husband’s disappearance.  Although her family is not wealthy, Early’s eyes are opened to a whole different world once they settle into the shelter.  And she soon becomes the rock that keeps her family steady as her mother becomes more depressed and her little brother becomes ill.  A story filled with the importance of language and books is sure to please an avid reader, but there’s also a sense of urgency and mystery as the family finds more and more questions with very few answers.

The story also tackles a difficult subject for children and even adults to grasp – homelessness.  I could easily relate as Early is on the train passing deserted buildings while the homeless don’t fit into shelters.  I’ve done the same thing wondering how those buildings could be used to help people and be transformed into something a city could be proud of.  This was a wonderfully written, moving story about a girl holding fast to hope, when it’s so hard to do.

Title: Hold Fast
Author: Blue Balliett
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: 2013
Page Number: 274 pgs.

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