Lynn Steger Strong – Hold Still

What happened to Ellie? Her mother Maya and her father had done nothing wrong, but nevertheless they find their teenage girl taking drugs and offering herself randomly to the boys around her. At a certain point, the parents’ helplessness leads them to take drastic measures: they send their daughter away to live with a good friend. However, what was intended as a means to give them all room to breathe again and to start anew, ends in even worse chaos.

Narrating the story from two points of view at different times is certainly a good way to increase the anticipation of what might come and to keep the audience reading on to find out what happened to the girl. Yet, I would have liked some more creativity. It is all too obvious what Ellie does and which big event changes everything. Too many apparent hints take away a lot of suspense and when I finally reached the relevant pages, I was rather disappointed since I had hoped to be surprised and not just to see my expectations fulfilled. What I liked, however, was the way the mother’s and daughter’s development was paralleled. Telling both their stories and struggles and having them run into the abyss and repeating each other’s mistakes had some interest. All in all, the idea was quite good but I had expected more from the description.

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