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Karen Maitland
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Daniel James Brown
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David Mitchell

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands - Chris Bohjalian 3.5 Stars, rounded to 3

A resident of the Northwest Kingdom located in Vermont, Emily Shepherd, like everyone else there is forced to flee when a nuclear reactor melts down. The only difference is that her father is the one believed to be at fault, possibly drunk, and he and Emily's mother who also worked at the facility, are both killed along with 17 others. Scared, believing the whole world hates her, Emily runs away and through a series of poor decisions finds herself living on the streets of Burlington, a runaway foster child Cameron in her care.

Written in the form of a diary or memoir, this narrative is Emily's stream of conscious accounting of her life on the street and what happened after. It is written in a non-linear format jumping back and forth between the present day, her life with her parents, life before Cameron, life with Cameron, and life after Cameron. It was incredibly well-written and emotionally engaging, just as I have come to expect from Bohjalian. I am always astounded at how well he writes women and this time he managed to pull off a very believable teenage girl, for which he credits his daughter for her assistance. I didn't love this story as much as some of his other books, but this was still quite good and I will freely recommend it.