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Extended Audio Sample Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands: A Novel, by Chris Bohjalian Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chris Bohjalian Narrator: Grace Blewer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A heartbreaking, wildly inventive, and moving novel narrated by a teenage runaway, from the bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is the story of Emily Shepard, a homeless girl living in an igloo made of garbage bags in Burlington. Nearly a year ago, a power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a meltdown, and both of Emily’s parents were killed. Devastatingly, her father was in charge of the plant, and the meltdown may have been his fault—was he drunk when it happened? Thousands of people are forced to leave their homes in the Kingdom; rivers and forests are destroyed; and Emily feels certain that as the daughter of the most hated man in America, she is in danger. So instead of following the social workers and her classmates after the meltdown, Emily takes off on her own for Burlington, where she survives by stealing, sleeping on the floor of a drug dealer’s house, inventing a new identity for herself, and befriending a young homeless kid named Cameron. But Emily can’t outrun her past, can’t escape her grief, can’t hide forever—and so she comes up with the only plan that she can.

A story of loss, adventure, and the search for friendship in the wake of catastrophe, Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is one of Chris Bohjalian’s finest novels to date—breathtaking, wise, and utterly transporting.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I have a new favorite Chris Bohjalian novel. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands is a book I wish I’d been smart enough to write: a masterpiece of narrative voice, of emotion, and of how—as Emily Dickinson might say—the sparest of words can hold a wealth of pain. If you need any proof that fiction can scare us, move us, and break our hearts simultaneously—look no further.”

    Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller

  • “With his new novel, Chris Bohjalian has created an intense, gripping story of a young girl coming of age under extreme conditions.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Impressive…Already troubled, rebellious Emily Shepard becomes orphaned and homeless after the meltdown of Reddington’s nuclear power plant in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom…Her admiration for kindred spirit Emily Dickinson serves to humanize her plight, as does an epiphany in the book’s bittersweet conclusion.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Wrenching…Emily’s voice is a compelling one…and hers is a journey readers will avidly follow.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Emily’s story is both heartbreaking and frightening…The book rings with poetry and truth.”

    Library Journal

  • “In his sixteenth novel, the versatile Bohjalian has Emily tell her harrowing, tragic story retrospectively…[A] brave saga.”

    Booklist

  • “Bohjalian once again reveals an uncanny talent for crafting a young female protagonist who is fatally flawed but nevertheless immensely likable…resonates with a message of hope, truth, and the fragility of life.”

    BookPage

  • “Grace Blewer, the author’s daughter, gives a heartfelt portrayal of Vermont teenager Emily Shepard…Blewer captures all of Emily’s complexity—her emotional troubles, her ferocious determination to protect a homeless boy she stumbles across, and her longing for her beloved dog. While on the run, Emily creates a new identity--inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson. There’s no doubt that listeners will know this book shines in the audio format when they hear Blewer singing a Dickinson poem to a popular tune.”

    AudioFile

  • One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books for July 2014
  • A 2014 Library Journal Editor’s Pick
  • A July 2014 LibraryReads Pick
  • A BookPage Top Pick, July 2014
  • A New York Times Bestseller
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