Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review, Giveaway, Author Interview: Holding On & Letting Go by Lucy Kelly

Holding On & Letting Go

(The Ties That Bind Us #1)
by Lucy Kelly
YA Contemporary Fiction
with a side of romance :)
Self-Published March 10, 2013
*Ebook obtained directly from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis via Goodreads:

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.

The 60,000 word novel alternates between the perspectives of Emerson,
who is struggling to keep breathing on a daily basis, and Matt, who
wants to have his old best friend back so badly that he is willing to
overlook the fact that she has completely changed. Though their
friendship and relationship is a major part of the story, it takes
backseat to the unique bonds between siblings, what happens when your
worst enemy is in fact yourself, and the hardships that come with
growing up and changing.

Grab Your Copy:

About the Author:
I was born in 1985, and yes, I have a huge appreciation for the Bowling for Soup song titled "1985". I've carried a book with me since I learned how to read. Even now, I still have a soft spot for the Berenstain Bear books and Nancy Drew. I graduated high school from a decent sized suburban high school in the top five percent of my class. From there, I got a Bachelor's degree in English Literature. Go Panthers! Growing up and even in college, I considered myself a reader and not a writer. Sure, I could churn out papers when I needed to, but I didn't actively consider writing a possibility for me. Who was I to write a book? More importantly, who has time for it?
When I started teaching, I actively attempted to read books that students liked. Some of them were amazing such as The Fault in Our Stars, and some of them just made me cringe because the characters were so predictable and shallow. I'm definitely a character type of reader. If I don't like a single character in the book, the writer has lost my attention. Holding On and Letting Go isn't actually the first book I have written; it is, however, the first book I have loved enough to publish. Somewhere in the middle of writing it, I fell so hard for the characters that I started to wonder what the future had in the store for them. Gratefully, since I wrote this one, I get to flesh that future out.


My Review:

There comes a time when you find a book(s) that just grab you and won't let go until you finally reach the end.... this was one of those novels. I absolutely adored this book! I started this book one morning before work.... finished that night when I got home. I could NOT put it down. It was glued to my finger! Darn the convenience of reading on my iphone/ipad. LoL

The characters in Holding on & Letting Go are absolutely stunning. They're complex and very well-rounded. I honestly felt like I could bump into them walking down the street. Loved that! You get a feel for their individual quirks & things that drive them forward.

I have to admit that this is a heartbreaking read.  20 pages in, I was already in tears! This novel deals with siblings trying to cope with the death of their young brother. I honestly felt like Peter was there with them the entire time. Even though he had passed away by the time the novel picks up the story, you still felt like he was a moving, breathing, live character in the novel. It was heart-breaking & touching.

I wanted to reach out and hug the characters on several instances. It was THAT emotional.

Emerson comes home to live with her older brother after 2 years of being stuck in Paris with her mom & dad. She's definitely not the same girl she was when she was forced to jump on a plane that horrible day 2 years before. When Emerson begins to work through the memories of her brother Peter & his death, I boo-hoo'd. When she brings Peter the fishing hat... Oh my gosh....I've not been THAT emotional, THAT quick when reading a novel. I was completely taken off guard. The more that you learn about those last days with Peter in the hospital, the more you want to & do cry for Emerson, Peter, Matt & Em's older brother. (And the more you want to ump through the book & smack their parents).

Matt wants his best friend back... He's so busy trying to focus on "getting her back" that he loses focus on what's right in front of him. His best friend left 2 years ago and came back and changed girl... There were things that happened to Emerson that takes Matt by surprise and finally gives him the knock on the head he needed. It was an emotional plot twist when you finally get Emerson to open up... I wasn't expecting the things that came out of her mouth.... but I really couldn't blame her for the extreme measures she went through. I wanted to reach into the book, grab her parents, and shake them until they saw what was right in front of them. >_<

Oh gosh... The last twist in the plot... took my breath away... I can't go into detail because it would ruin the plot for readers & I don't want to do that. Let me just say right now, I didn't know I had more tears to cry for these characters... but I did. I was almost mad at the author for this last swing but I understood why it happened. You see the changes in Em... you begin to see how she's finally changed roles & isn't breakable. Even Matt has to come to terms with it. It's hard. It was a difficult scene for me to read... I can only imagine how difficult it was for the author to write. Sigh....

Holding On & Letting Go is a beautifully written, emotional, tear-jerking tale of accepting the fact that you can move on without forgetting or betraying your loved one when they pass away. It's not fair (when is anything fair anymore), it makes you angry, sad, hateful, bitter, try crazy things, but eventually, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. It's just really damn hard to figure out how long the tunnel actually is before you reach the end.

Get it!

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Plot: 5 Stars
Characters: 5++ Stars
Ending: 5 Stars

Interview With The Author:
This is one of my favorite things (besides the amazing novels of course) about being a book blogger: I love having the opportunity to ask the authors a few questions! Lucy was such fun to work with - not only is she a great author, she's also a great gal!

~Do you have any particular favorite authors or novels that you look up to or absolutely adore?
I love Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why. I read it at the beach, and I actually stayed out of the water because I couldn't put it down. It takes quite a bit to keep me out of the ocean. In general, I read the Harry Potter series maybe every other year. I reread Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights basically every year.

~What was the hardest part of getting Holding On & Letting Go out there for readers? Was it the actual writing, plot sequence, character make-up, going through the process self-publishing, etc?
Letting it go was the hardest part, and no, I actually didn't intend to make the pun on the title. As much as I'm not any single character in the novel, I am a little bit of all the characters. Though my life isn't like Emerson's, I tend to have her sarcasm and loyalty. I have Savannah's bluntness. Matt's inability to remember history. Eliza's love of dancing. In that way, it was very hard to put the novel out there because I'm inadvertently putting pieces of myself out there as well.

~Holding On & Letting Go was absolutely amazing. What's next?
The second novel is senior year in Savannah's perspective. By switching perspectives, it gives the reader a whole new side of the characters. As a writer, Savannah is a dream to write. Savannah's unfiltered which is just plain fun. The following is a sneak peak from the second book.
"Don’t get your hopes up or believe in people too much because you will always be let down. It happens every single time. I’ve always known this little fun fact which has made life easier. When you expect nothing but the worst of people, you never have to be disappointed. In fact, you get to sit back while everyone else is in shock over what just happened and pat yourself on the back for knowing better. To be honest, it’s a pretty fantastic feeling knowing that you are above worrying about the masses below. And so for the first seventeen years of my life, I had it unbelievably easy. My parents trusted me. Probably a little too much but that’s not really the point. My little sister looked up to me and constantly asked for advice. Guys wanted to date me, and girls wanted to be me. It was a pretty good little life I had carved out for myself. And then I made the world’s dumbest mistake. I started to care about people. I broke my own damn rule."

~You mentioned that this isn't the first novel that you've written - but the first that you loved enough to publish. Do you think you may ever go back to your other novels and move forward with publishing them?
The first novel I wrote was called the The Turn of Winters. It was young adult and fantasy. While it's nothing like Harry Potter or Twilight, there were so many copycats of those books that came out following their release. I may release it in the future, but I didn't want to release it when so many others books of the same type were coming out. For the record, I'm totally "Team Hermione" and "Team Katniss". I like when female characters bring something to the table other than the need to be rescued.

~Where can readers follow you online?
I try to blog weekly on Goodreads.
Readers can also e-mail me at I really enjoy hearing what people thought of the book.

~At the end of the day, what's your take home message for your readers?
Tough question. First, I truly believe in following your dreams. It's such a cliche, but it's important. If you have quit dreaming, you have quit reaching. I've already accepted the fact that I will do whatever it takes to become a force in the young adult world of literature. I have a long way to go, but I'll get there one day. Second, I wish everyone knew that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. When things are bad, it is very easy to forget that there is a tomorrow, but there always is a better day to come.

~Do you have anything else you'd like to share with readers? You've got the floor! :)
I really hope you read Holding On and Letting Go. To be blunt, I normally cringe when I go back and reread my own writing. Frequently, I think, "What was I thinking when I wrote this scene? Yikes." Yes, I say "yikes" in my head. I don't feel that way about Holding On and Letting Go. I'm actually proud of how this one turned out in the end. Look for the second book to be release near the end of May/beginning of June.
Thank you Lucy for allowing me the chance to read/review Holding On & Letting Go! To say that I'm excited to read book 2 is an understatement! I can't wait! Thank you for also giving me the chance to ask you a question (and get a sneak snippet from book 2!!! *happy dance*)

Use the Rafflecopter Below for your chance to win a
Kindle ebook of Holding On & Letting Go by Lucy Kelly!
Open Internationally - ends 4/30 :)

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  1. This book got a glowing review from one of my friends, that is good enough for me. It is now on my TBR list.

    1. That's great Jackie!! It's honestly an amazingly written, emotional, heartfelt read. I loved it!


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