Feb 22, 2015

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian Review

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Doubleday; 288 pages

A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the best-selling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless teen living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags filled with frozen leaves. Half a year earlier, a nuclear plant in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom had experienced a cataclysmic 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 flee 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 apartment, and inventing a new identity for herself - an identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. When Emily befriends a young homeless boy named Cameron, she protects him with a ferocity she didn't know she had. But she still 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.

A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian's finest novels to date - breathtaking, wise, and utterly transporting.


Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands was definitely a book I think that everyone should read. It is fiction, but a very possible fiction and shows what happens to people in disasters and how people react and what we do to survive.

Emily Shepard in this story is an innocent, that takes the brunt of her parents mistakes and runs and hides to not feel the backlash of people displaced anger. With running away, her life changes drastically and the things she ends up doing, is no where where she thought her life would ever end up. I really enjoyed how this story was written, sort of a recalling/journal type of style. It really made you feel that was just how Emily ha remembered the events of her life and helped you feel the feelings that she felt.There were times where her recalling of events seemed redundant, but it all help build the story and the emotions this girl went through.

The conclusion was sad, but the story as a whole was sad, but not a horrible heart breaking ugly cry sad, just sad. There were parts at the end that really made me happy, I won't spoil it though. It was a touching moment that Emily needed for sure. I am definitely going to check out more of Chris's books, because I was just in love with his story telling!!!

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