Title: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Genre: Fiction, Coming of Age
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Format: egalley via Edelweiss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My review (published at Read, Run, Ramble):
Thank you Knopf Doubleday via Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this book!
Emily Shepard is on the run. She’s lost her family, her dog, her home, and she’s pretty sure letting others know who she really is will only turn them against her.
Told from Emily’s 16-year-old point of view, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, is a tragic story of how catastrophe can alter lives in ways we can’t always even imagine. There’s been a nuclear meltdown and all information seem to indicate that Emily’s own parents may have been responsible for the accident.
Bohjalian has a way with words and he captures a youthful voice with accuracy and potency. Emily tells her story through a string of journal entries that will make readers feel even closer to her (and she’s promised to tell the truth no matter how ugly – she keeps to that promise faithfully throughout the book). While this method of telling the story is useful and very engaging, there are times that the entries jump around in time and I did get a little lost in the timeline of events occasionally.
The story is touching and moving as Emily makes her way through her situation making the decisions she thinks are best or the only option at the time, but admits several times in the story that she knows she’s not doing that great – she’s not perfect (now or before the accident).
I enjoyed this novel and I liked the characters, but I never felt as connected to any of it/them as I thought I would. The circumstances, the story, it all lends itself to being deeply connected, but I never got there. I can’t explain it and I can’t pinpoint anything specific; I just never felt as intensely as I wished or thought I would and it has left me feeling quite incapable of writing a review (so sorry if this one is lacking)!
I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.