HOLD ME TIGHT by Lorie Ann Grover


Age Range: 9 - 12
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An unrelenting string of bad experiences related in brief poems, this is another issue-oriented story by Grover. Essie’s father leaves the family abruptly and unexpectedly. Her mother is pregnant and unable to work, so money troubles loom, along with the shock and hurt that Essie, her mother, and her younger brother feel. Then Essie’s classmate Chris disappears, kidnapped by a stranger in a pick-up truck. Finally, to add to Essie’s misery, fear and self-doubt, an old family friend assaults her. Essie’s first-person, present-tense narration offers readers an intimate, if narrow, view of events. Unfortunately, the narrative isn’t always convincing—would a contemporary child, for example, truly not be aware of French kissing, at least as a concept? In addition, there are problems with the flow of the text; line breaks often seem arbitrary, rather than emphasizing or enhancing meaning. Essie and her family do find ways to connect with friends, new and old, who help them to cope. Whether readers will hang on long enough to appreciate the positive ending is an open question. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-85248-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2005


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