HOLD TIGHT, DON'T LET GO by Laura Rose Wagner
Kirkus Star

HOLD TIGHT, DON'T LET GO

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two cousins, close as sisters, survive the Haitian earthquake, but will life ever be the same? 

Magdalie and Nadine, two 15-year-old schoolgirls, instantly lose their Manman, their home and their equilibrium to the disaster of January 2010. When Nadine’s father resurfaces and whisks her off to Miami, Magdalie is forced to confront her new life in a relief camp with her uncle-turned–reluctant caregiver, Tonton Élie, and heartbreaking challenges, still holding out hope that Nadine will one day send for her. Eventually Magda’s anger and grief find release via visits to a vodou priestess, the mourning and burial rituals for Manman, and emerging love. Debut novelist Wagner lived in Haiti and wrote her cultural anthropology dissertation on disaster and community in Port-au-Prince. She successfully folds in sensory experiences of the capital city and beyond, along with meditations on love, loss, home and hope, without lecture or contrivance. Readers will find the characters believable and engaging. The title reflects a form of Haitian Creole goodbye that captures the complexity of separation, while the final chapter is Magdalie’s hopeful projection for the future for herself and Nadine, as well as all of Haiti.

An insightful disaster-survival story with far-reaching emotional resonance. (brief history notes, glossary) (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4197-1204-3
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2014




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