Concord Public Library Book of the Week

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Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands

Chris Bohjalian

2014, 7 CDs


Emily Shepard, 16 years of age, lives in Vermont in the shadow of a nuclear power plant where her father is in charge and her mother works in public relations. Since her family moved to Vermont, Emily notices her parents’ marriage is crumbling and they are both drinking to dull the pain. 

Emily is in school when the unthinkable happens and the plant has a meltdown. Many people have to flee their homes and the environment is destroyed and under quarantine. Was her father drunk when it happened? 

Emily isn’t sure, but she is afraid she may be in danger if people find out she is their daughter. 

She narrates her journey as a runaway through living in an igloo made of ice and trash bags that she builds herself, staying some of the worst nights with other teens at a drug dealer’s apartment and inventing a new identity for herself based on her favorite poet Emily Dickinson. Along the way she meets a boy named Cameron who got the raw end of the deal too many times in foster care. As she tries to take care of Cameron, she realizes that she can’t hide forever and she needs to take care of herself as well and deal with her grief starting with going back home.

Author: tgoodwin

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