*I received Held by Edeet Ravel as part of my YABA jury duties.
I was dreading this book because I hate horror movies and I was sure that I was going to be horrified but what I read. I was wrong, it was amazing.
This novel was incredibly compelling, and managed never to drag even though much of it takes place in the same room with little action. It’s mastery lies in the psychology and the artfully crafted narration.
I felt as though I was going through the stages that Chloe, the kidnapped girl, did. I was afraid when she was afraid, I was sad when she was sad, and even though I think falling in love with your captor sounds ridiculous in theory, I was convinced by the way Ravel had their relationship unfold. I had mixed feelings about him at the same times she did, I questioned what it is to be a good person, how far people can take things and still be decent human beings. Although I didn’t always agree with Chloe’s emotions or conclusions I could see where they were coming from, how the isolation could lead to this.
I thoroughly enjoyed that between each chapter we got a view from the outside world: a letter, an e-mail, a website, a newspaper article… These reactions of her family, friends and the media framed the story beautifully and created a whole new side to the story. I particularly identified with the best friend’s disgust at how everyone at their school and in their town jumped on the bandwagon and acted like they’d always loved Chloe. People who bullied her or ignored her or broke up with her suddenly thought she was awesome just because she was gone and they wanted their moment in the limelight being interviewed, or they wanted to be a part of the drama of the missing girl. Their hypocrisy and falseness is terrible, and yet it contributes to the cause of helping her so again there is a thin line between the good and the bad.
The ending is a bit post-modern, and it makes you question everything. I love a book that makes me ask questions.