Review of the Week

HOLDFASTBalliett, Blue.  Hold Fast. Fic.  Scholastic, 2013. 288p. $17.99.  978-0-545-29988-6.  OUTSTANDING.  GRADES 4-7.

“Hold Fast.” That’s what Early Pearl’s dad Dash would say to them if he was here.  “Hold fast to your dreams.” However, Dash is not with them. He disappeared on
his way home from his job as a library page at Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington branch. As his wife Summer and two children try to piece together what happened to him, they suffer a home invasion in their apartment, and all their books and money are taken. The police don’t believe them, and they are forced to go to a homeless shelter. Prior to this event, the family was
extremely close-knit and loving and spent their time reading together and enjoying the beauty of life, even though they didn’t have much. The mature and strong Early tries to piece together what happened to her father while simultaneously trying to hold her family together. Balliett beautifully weaves in the poems of Langston Hughes, which provide hope to the Pearl family. Helplessness and hope, pride and perseverance permeate this beautiful story. Review based on an ARC.

Jamie Renton, Harvest Park Middle School

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