Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian...

How I Heard About It:  You would have to live under a rock to not have heard about Chris Bohjalian's new novel that was released on July 8th.  The pre-release press was everywhere and it was all POSITIVE.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on his latest book to see what all the hype was about.  Let me tell you that it lived up to all the expectations I had for this novel.    

What It Is About:  Emily Shepard is a high school student living in the Northeast.  She is an only child and her parents work for the local Nuclear Plant near their home.  At times, both of her parents drink too much and Emily has had more than her share of high school "problems."  After their is a meltdown at the plant and her father is said to be the cause, Emily's world gets turned upside down.  With all the negative attention turned toward her family and complete chaos in the town, Emily runs away from it all.  She spends the next year or so on the streets and dealing with some pretty heavy stuff.  At times she lives with other runaways in some rundown dwellings.  At other times, she stays in shelters.  There comes a time when she meets a nine year old boy named Cameron that will change her life on the streets.  Emily takes him under her wing and they struggle to survive together.  After some devastating events, she decides to make her way back to "exclusion" zone to her family's home.  What happens when she finally reaches her home and the nuclear plant, will break your heart and haunt you for days to come.

What I Thought Of It:  I absolutely LOVED this novel.  I'm not surprised because I have really enjoyed everything I have read by Chris Bohjalian.  What amazes me about his novels is that they are all so different and his writing is so unique to each book.  To sum up this story in one word would be "haunting."  I found myself wanting to read very quickly because I wanted to know what was going to happen.  But then I forced myself to slow down and take in the beautiful writing and the story that was tugging at my heartstrings.  I'm not sure I have ever read a book where the "voice" of the narrator has come through so loud and strong.  It felt like Emily Shepard was sitting with me telling her story. When I got to the section in the book where the title "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands" comes in, I had to take a moment to catch my breath.  Once I got to the last third of the book I couldn't stop and had to finish.  It was one of those great late night readings that we all love to experiences.  I'm so thrilled that I picked this novel for the next #ABCT (Adult Book Club on Twitter) and even more thrilled that Chris has agreed to join us on August 5th for the discussion.  For more information about #ABCT, please click on the following link.  

Blog Post about #ABCT

Who Should Read It:  If you love fiction, read this.  If you are an avid adult reader, read this.  If you love stories of survival, hardship, and courage, read this.  If you are a fan of Chris Bohjalian, read this.  This novel should not be missed.  It is like nothing else I have read.  You should also read it and join us for the next #ABCT.  Happy Reading!!!  

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars 

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