Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian
A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the bestselling author ofMidwives and The Sandcastle Girls.
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.


Publishes in US: July 8th 2014 by Doubleday
Genre: Dystopia Sci/fi
Source: random house via netgalley
Series? No

Read an excerpt from the novel here
Pre-order the novel at

Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter: chrisbohjalian ~facebook

   I wanted to read this one because it sounds like a combo of a type of dystopia/post-apocalytpic and the contemporary grittiness that I enjoy. Emily sounds like such a fighter and a fighter in order to survive not only a literal nuclear meltdown, but also losing both of her parents that same day. 

   The idea of homelessness hasn't been explored much in YA and I think that its an important topic too, and hopefully one that most readers would never face, but we also hope that readers don't have to experience the bad stuff of the contemporaries out there. Or the chilling government or earth/town ending things like aliens, meltdowns, power losses, etc. And while it scares me that things like this have happened and can happen again, I still can't stop being drawn to the genre. 

    The world building was believable. I just have to wonder what the actual fall out would be, if the impact would be larger, how we'd react in a similar real life situation. But I don't think that anything was stretched or out of the realm of possibility. On top of the hair-raising, hope to goodness never happens to me element of the story, I liked Emily. True to my prediction she was so strong, she had a will to keep surviving and to protect herself. She was easy to pull for even though I can imagine if it were real life I might be like the other kids and be wary of her because of her parents involvement with the plant. 

    The beginning did take a bit to get me in, but I liked the premise so I stuck with it, and I was rewarded for that. I think that the jumps in time were a little abrupt and it was pulling me out of the story. I understand that its giving a full picture of Emily's life and what happened before, during and after for her. 

    At times it did start to ramble and I would skim a little bit, but I always got pulled back in. It felt very literary and then other times just like a teenage girl talking to me. 

    Cameron was another highlight. He is a kid that she picked up along the way with her journeys, and they effected each other a lot and I saw growth and development with both of them. 

Bottom Line: Gritty and thorough account of a girl before and after a nuclear melt-through.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Are you afraid of nuclear meltdown?
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  1. This cover is so cool :O You're right! homelessness hasn't been explored that much in YA and I wish it was. Yay for great world building :) I'm glad you enjoyed this as a whole, Brandi :)

  2. kirstymariejonesstudioreadsJuly 4, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    I think what draws you is the possibilities and seeing if that could happen, well, it is with me anyway. Glad you stuck with it, I would've given up if I wasn't getting into it. I guess everyone would be afraid of a nuclear meltdown.

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

  3. I'm not a big reader of Dystopia, plus I'm sooo far behind after taking 2 weeks off that I do not need to add a 3 star read to my towering TBR pile. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. This cover is so pretty, but I've never heard about it before! It sound fabulous, though, and I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. Great review!

  5. I do love dystopian reads, and this one sounds like a topic that would be interesting to explore. It would be interesting to see this book play out! Great review and glad you did like it!

  6. I hadnt heard of this one before but as a dystopian fan myself i am pretty intrigued! I'll have to keep my eye open in case i spot any more word about this book! Lovely review :)

  7. Scary premise and I don't think I would or could survive and event this big. I'd be too scared!

  8. First I adore this author and this was a big change in direction for him, but I love how realistically he portrayed this young woman. Great review!

  9. Melissa (Books and Things)July 4, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Skimming isn't a good sign, but I do love the sound of the worldbuilding. Might have to give it a try for that! :)

  10. I'm very picky with my dystopians, but this one does have me curious. May have to check it out. Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

  11. I've not heard of this one before but it sounds interesting. I'm glad you still enjoyed some aspects of the story. Great review!

  12. This one is new to me. It does sound interesting and I'm glad you enjoyed the world-building!

  13. I'm glad that you ended up liking this one. I am currently taking a break from dystopians, but this one does sound good. I like how the world building was believable. It's always nice to have that. Truth be told, I hope that no dystopian book ever becomes real. Whether it involves nuclear war fare or not. Let's hope they just stay books :)

  14. This sounds gritty! Thanks for sharing that you liked the characters as well as the world setting.

  15. I hadn't heard of this one before but I have to say that I'm intrigued and curious. I'm going to look this one up and see what everyone is saying about it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!


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