Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A family struggles to hold fast

Hold Fast

By Blue Balliett
288 pages, $17.99
ages 8 and up

With her newest novel, Blue Balliett warms the heart, even as she's breaking it.

Hold Fast is the story of a family striving for something better. Dashel Pearl works as a page in the Chicago Public Library. He and his family – wife Summer, daughter Early, young son Jubilation – live in the biggest apartment they can afford, one room in a former gang neighborhood. But they have their eye on a home like the pretty two-story house in their neighborhood. That's what Dash is working toward.

They hold fast to the dream, but their tiny apartment is warm and cheerful. And they all share a love for words and the rhythms of Langston Hughes ("Hold fast to dreams ...). 

It's a happy life and a happy family – until the day Dash disappears. He's not the type to run out on his family and we soon find out that there's mystery and criminal activity involved. A scary event takes place and the family is forced into the shelter system.

Summer becomes more wrecked as the weeks mount that Dash is missing. Jubie's only 5. So it falls to Early Pearl to use her brains, heart and resourcefulness to try and save her family – and maybe some other homeless kids in the process.

Balliett's writing is nearly poetic, but the pace of the story never lags either. There's enough mystery and excitement to keep kids reading. There's also enough reality to teach them a a bit about how some families struggle or to resonate with those in similar situations. A little education on words and Langston Hughes is an added bonus.

-Rebecca Young


Anonymous said...

I love it when authors incorporate poetry into their novels!

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the info on this book! I should pass this info on to my sister for my niece and nephew.

-blessed holy socks said...

[ live long and prosper -Spok ]

Greetings, earthling! Can't stay long, done gotta git, Paw ...yet, if I'm a sower, we plant the Seed; if I'm an artist, we write the Word:

I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET any moe curly, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs when my beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girl passed-away at 17 (God calls U.S. home regardless).

"Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness, as bright as stars for all eternity"
-Daniel 12:3

Here's what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you'
-the Infant Jesus of Prague.

Go git'm, girl. You're incredible.
See you Upstairs...
I won't be joining'm in da nasty Abyss where Isis lies


cbse books for class 5 said...

Nice article.

BJ Rae said...

This book tells a powerful story...Love it...Love the realistic family life aspect...

BJ Rae, author Near A River

Anonymous said...

<- grrr. dunnoYi dint put a link 2B1:
● ●

Anonymous said...

Prooo'bly cuzz I wasn't very mature
in the past though our RITEn was
Puh-Ray-Zah Gawwd!!!!!!!
That maybe the reason, y'think, maw??
tok2me Upstairs.
Cya soon, dollface.