Wagner, Laura Rose. Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go. New York: Amulet, 2014. 978-1-41971-204-3. 272 $17.95. Gr. 7 and up.
Fifteen-year-old Magdalie is living with her aunt and cousin, Nadine, in Port-au-Prince when her world is shattered by the devastating earthquake of 2010. Her aunt is killed, and Nadine moves to Miami shortly thereafter to live with her father. Magdalie must adjust to life with her new caregiver, her uncle Elie, and come to terms with the fact that she can no longer afford to go to school. Although she hopes that Nadine will one day send for her, that dream is eventually squashed as well. Just when all hope seems to be lost, Magdalie travels with her uncle to the countryside where she is introduced to some of her ancestors. Here she finds love and comfort among relatives and new friends and is finally able to find peace for the first time since losing her family. This is an honest, emotional story about the struggles of rebuilding a country and restoring hope in the wake of a natural disaster.
Realistic Fiction Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area High School
I could see this novel being paired with a nonfiction title about the earthquake in Haiti. The author paints a very vivid picture of the conditions in Haiti following the disaster. Living conditions in the refugee camps are unsanitary, cholera runs rampant, and prostitution and peddling are prevalent in the streets. Given such descriptions, the reader is really able to get a feel for the struggles experienced by victims of the earthquake.