Sunday, May 18, 2014

ARC review: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Book Synopsis(via Goodreads):
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily's parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to leave their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer's house, inventing a new identity for herself, and befriending a young homeless kid named Cameron. But Emily can't outrun her past, can't escape her grief, can't hide forever-and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.
***Many thanks to Net Galley and Doubleday books for this advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.***
This insomniac's opinion:
I adore Chris Bohjalian's writing. He is one of my go-to authors and I know that if he writes something, I will read it.
I have to admit something, however.
I have no idea how to pronounce his last name. It seems to have to many consonants for my white lady tongue. I'm so glad that this is a blog and you don't have to hear me attempt his name and, likely, butcher the hell out of it.
Ah, well-on to my review.
My favorite thing about Bohjalian's(nope, still can't pronounce it) writing is that he writes each novel as a distinct story with distinct characters. When I pick one up, I have no idea what I am going to read and what the characters will be like. He is not, in any way, formulaic.
I have to admit that this one is not my favorite of his. It was still good and quite engrossing. However, it was just out there enough to be unbelievable. Somehow, the story always seemed like just that-a story-and I never quite found my bearings enough to sink my teeth deeply enough into the novel to believe it.
I adored Emily, her gritty honesty and self-doubt were perfect for the situation that she was in. Her love for Cameron was endearing and heartbreaking.
I, unfortunately, didn't love Emily's story as much as her character.
Worth staying up all night to read?
The first half was engrossing, but at the second half I found that I was unable to suspend my belief any further.
3 stars

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