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Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

Hold Fast (original 2013; edition 2015)

by Blue Balliett (Author)

Series: Hold Fast (1)

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4632547,378 (4.03)12
On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early's father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless--and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.
Title:Hold Fast
Authors:Blue Balliett (Author)
Info:Scholastic Paperbacks (2015), Edition: Reprint, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Hold Fast by Blue Balliett (2013)


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The story of a girl’s search for her missing father and her family’s perseverance as they fall into Chicago’s shelter system. Many issues are explored, including homelessness and what people do to survive and keep their family intact
  NCSS | Jul 23, 2021 |
children's middlegrade fiction; homelessness/missing father/mystery. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
This book barely held my interest. I really had to slog through it to get to the end.

I loved the opener describing the disappearance of Dash at 1:11, 2:22, 3:33 and 4:44. Although Dash and his wife Summer got married in high school, he is really intelligent. He works at the library and loves Langston Hughes, books, words, dictionaries and rhythms. His daughter, Early, and son, Jubilation, appreciate their dad's love of books. But the library job doesn't pay much, so Dash gets involved in book collecting on the side. Things go awry. He disappears. Their apartment is ransacked. Summer and the kids end up in a homeless shelter.

I felt like this book was running two plots. Life in a homeless shelter and the mystery surrounding Dash. Trying to connect them into one story was like mixing oil and water. It totally didn't work. I found myself interested in Early's experiences at the homeless shelter and the new school. Balliett did an excellent job with the details. But all of the detective work seemed out of place in this story. I didn't buy it at all. I also didn't buy Early and Jubie calling their parents by their fist names. The character's names drove me absolutely nuts. They just would not stick in my brain, especially Early. I would read it and my brain would say adverb. It made the reading difficult.

This book would have been great if it had focused on homelessness. As it is, that part is lost, and so is the book's popularity. ( )
  valorrmac | Sep 21, 2018 |
I just finished Hold Fast. I think it's Blue Balleitt's best book so far and it didn't even get a mention At the book awards don't think. A great mystery with a real world connection as well as eye opening into the world of the homeless. ( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book. I love words and I love the way that this book beautifully described the immense power of words.I got really caught up in the plot and mystery of this book and couldn't put it down. I also think that this book is really powerful in that it shows people not to judge those down on their luck. ( )
  alaina.loescher | Jul 8, 2016 |
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Home, from the Middle English horn and Old English ham

Noun: a place to live by choice, sometimes with family or friends; a haven; a place of origin, comfort, and often of valued memories.

By the end of the 2012 school year, an estimated thirty thousand children in the city of Chicago were without a home.  This number does not include those living in the surrounding suburbs, and is thought to be low.  What does thirty thousand look like?  Count out thirty pennies and pretend that each one has a name.  Now make one thousand groups of thirty pennies.  These are our children.

Time, from the Middle English and Old English tima.

Noun: an even flow in which events occur from past through present and into future, with measurements kept by a circular system of numbers; the beat found in musical rhythms; a fated moment.

Lost, from the Middle English los and the Old English losod.

Adjective: missing; no longer known to be in existence; gone.

On February 16, 2003, the biggest diamond heist in history took place in Europe.  Four thieves were caught, but the gems were not found.
Under pressure and over time, the mineral carbon can become diamond, the hardest and perhaps trickiest stone known to man.  Although appearing to be clear, it hides every color in the rainbow.  Although promising joy, it can also destroy.
For Jayden, who welcomed me to his world with a hug and an unforgettable message
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It was the bitterest, meanest, darkest, coldest winter in anyone's memory, even in one of the forgotten neighborhoods of Chicago.
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On a cold winter day in Chicago, Early's father disappeared, and now she, her mother and her brother have been forced to flee their apartment and join the ranks of the homeless--and it is up to Early to hold her family together and solve the mystery surrounding her father.

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