Sunday, January 27, 2019

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian ~ My Thoughts


Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by Doubleday

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.

My thoughts about Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First line—"I built an igloo against the cold out of black plastic trash bags filled with wet leaves. It wasn't perfect."

Chris Bohjalian's books are always thought provoking and so well written. Close You Eyes, Hold Hands takes the reader into a world where a nuclear plant experiences a meltdown. We are dropped into the life of a young teen who is left a homeless orphan. This is her story of survival. 

I was not expecting the story that unfolded when I started this book but I enjoyed it immensely. The pages flew for me as I worried about Emily and how she was going to handle her life and the people, sometimes not good people, she encountered.

Close You Eyes, Hold Hands is another great read from a master storyteller. I'm just sorry that it took me so long to read it. I will definitely be reading more of his books. 

I received Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands from Goodreads in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the author

No photo description available.

Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 20 books. Chris's work has been translated into over 30 languages and three times become movies ("Midwives," "Secrets of Eden," and "Past the Bleachers.")

"The Flight Attendant" lands March 13, 2018. It has been optioned by Kaley Cuoco and set up with Warner Brothers Television for a limited series. Kaley will play Cassie Bowden, the flight attendant.

Chris's books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.

Awards include the ANCA Freedom Award for educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia's Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; and the Anahid Literary Award. "Midwives" was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick.

Chris is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude of Amherst College, and has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. ~ Amazon

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  1. What a scary situation! It sounds like a good book.

  2. You're right about Bohjalian: he's a wonderful author. I've read a few of his books and picked up more at used book sales. But I haven't read and don't own this one. That's because YA novels bore me, and it sounds like this is YA. But if I see it at the used bookstore I work at, maybe I'll give it a try.

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