June 10, 2013

Blog Tour ~ Review ~ Holding On and Letting Go (The Ties That Bind Us #1) by Lucy A. Kelly

I'm so excited to be a part of this tour for this incredibly moving book!
I have a review for you today - enjoy! :D

Title: Holding On and Letting Go (The Ties That Bind Us #1)
Author: Lucy A. Kelly
Published: March 10, 2013
Pages: 186
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Average Rating: 4.76 / 5
My Rating: 5 / 5
Blog Tour Organized By: Irresistible Reads Book Tours
Source: Review copy from the author 

~ Synopsis ~
Is there a way to describe the ties that bind us together? What happens when one of those ties is unexpectedly severed? Can everything else remain the same? Will the other ties hold strong?

Two years after her little brother's death, sixteen year old Emerson Caulfield returns to a home that she spent the last two years missing. In theory, everything should be the same. Her best friend, Matt, still lives next door. Her house is in the exact same condition as they left it. The scenery and hallways haven't changed, yet for Emerson, everything is completely different. The place may be the same, but Emerson is most certainly not. She returns home hurt, angry, and miles away from the girl she once was.

~ My Thoughts ~ 
This was such a deeply emotional read for me! After losing both my mom and maternal grandfather to brain cancer before I even hit high school, I'm all too familiar with the weight of grief that manifests in anger, sadness, loneliness, and just plain hurt. Every time Emerson visited her brother's grave and spoke to him, I cried. When she heard a girl making fun of her deceased brother, I cried. Who makes fun of a deceased little boy like that by the way?? I wanted to wring that girl's neck. Every emotion Emerson felt, I felt it too. We seemed to be kindred spirits. 

The book alternates between Emerson and her best friend Matt's point of view. The way Emerson describes her pain resonated with me, and the things she said are things I've said before. I was particularly struck when she said she has a hard time even just breathing and getting out of bed in the morning - I know what she's talking about. There were times I had to put down the book to catch my own breath. There is no better way the author could have expressed the toll grief takes on a person.

Matt's deep love for Emerson shows the strength of his character. He wants to love Emerson through this time, and what else can you do when someone you love is suffering from something you can't change or take away? He isn't afraid of the depth of Emerson's despair, and he doesn't give up no matter how many times she pushes him away. It's obvious Matt is wise beyond his years and cares about what's really important in life and not the silly superficiality of high school. How many guys his age can you say that about? 

I think there are times when a person becomes comfortable in his/her own grief - not that feeling miserable is what the person prefers but rather the person is afraid to move forward and do something to alleviate the pain. One worries that by letting go and accepting what's happened, the deceased loved one will be forgotten, not to mention that taking the first step forward is the hardest. This is why it's absolutely crucial that the person has all the support he/she needs. Matt was that support system for Emerson, and his perseverance in being there for her no matter what impressed me.  

I just could not and would not put this book down. I went through the entire spectrum of emotions while reading, and it was cathartic for me. I found myself examining how much progress I've made moving forward in my own life since losing significant loved ones and was surprised to see I've come a long way from where I began. It's amazing! And this is just the beginning to a series in which I'm really looking forward to where the author takes us next. :D 

~ Purchase Links ~ 
Barnes & Noble

~ About the Author ~ 
I'm not really going to write a biography. Though I am supportive of the high schools and colleges I have attended, it's probably not actually the most interesting stuff about me. I'm going to do a list of five really random things instead for now. 
  1. I like making lists. It's weird, and I never actually scratch things off of the list. 
  2. I sing and dance in the car like a maniac. 
  3. For the first six years of my life, I truly believed a shark lived under my bed. I watched Jaws at too young of an age. 
  4. Without a doubt, I am a night person. I am enormously grumpy when first woken up in the morning. 
  5. When I was younger, I read almost every Nancy Drew book, both new and old. I had a notebook, and I would take notes to see if I could figure out who the "bad guy" was before Nancy did. We probably tied.  
~ Author Links ~ 



  1. What a wonderful review, Jennifer! I got emotional reading it. I really want to read this one. Matt sounds so refreshing. I also can't imagine anyone teasing a deceased little boy. I would flip out even just reading the scenes in the book. I never handle that sort of stuff very well. I think your strength is amazing. That's sort of what struck me the most.

    1. Thank you, Robyn. I was emotional writing it! Going in, I didn't know what the little boy died from, and when I found out, I wasn't sure if I could do this. But I did! :) My mother-in-law picked up a copy of My Sister's Keeper, which is a book mentioned in this story, and after she read it, she gave it to me to read. Having my own sister, I'm not in a hurry to read that one though I will read it one day when I get a chance. I don't think I could watch the movie.

      About teasing the boy - how awful could a person's behavior get? But when our mom died, my sister was nine years old and teased mercilessly in elementary school. She was called an orphan, and a girl told her that her nails look awful because she doesn't have a mom to help her take care of them. Did they not know the definition of an orphan? We still had our dad. And even if she was an orphan, so what? It's ironic because the boy who led the teasing lost his mom to cancer a few years later. Wonder if he felt like an ass for harassing my sister for the very same thing?

      I was fourteen and three weeks away from my first day as a freshman in high school. She died about two weeks maybe three before school started. Even though it happened in the summer, everyone at school knew what happened, and I was looked at for quite a while as that girl who lost her mom. But it was okay because I had a group of amazing friends - still do! - who were there for me. :D

    2. I've seen those scenes in movies about the cruel teasing and I always thought it was unrealistic because I could never imagine it. I was teased about stuff I refused to care about, my skin color, my scars and freckles, but I'm not sure who I would be if I had to fight that kind of thing. Then I guess you and your sister are a force.

    3. It's really cool you say that because my sister is definitely a force - she's like a tornado, lol. Me I don't know about. I wish she had been in high school with me when this group of skanky girls were threatening to kick my ass. She would've made sure they wouldn't bother me again.

      A girl started harassing her best friend, and my sister hunted that girl down and knocked her head into a locker. Needless to say, that girl didn't bother my sister's friend again. I don't necessarily agree with violence, although the bullying girl would walk by the friend and try to knock her down "accidentally." So when my sister did this, our dad was called into the principal's office, lol. Oh, and that girl that made fun of my sister's nails and our deceased mother? My sister kicked that girl in the back of the head on the bleachers. I think I would've, too.

  2. Beautiful review, Jennifer! WOW - this is going straight to my TBR, even if it seems to be very emotional, and I know I cry very easily when I'm immersed in a sad story...

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. Thank you so much, Lexxie! I'm glad you're adding it to your TBR - it's one of the best rewards in writing a review. :) I like emotional stories because they can be cathartic for me. I cry easily, too! Thanks for stopping by! :D


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