Book Review by El: Hold, by Rachel Davidson Leigh

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Hold, by Rachel Davidson Leigh
Publisher: Duet Books (Interlude Press)
Release Date: October 20, 2016

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


Luke Aday knew that his sister’s death was imminent—she had been under hospice care for months—but that didn’t make her death any easier on him or their family. He returns to school three days after the funeral to a changed world; his best friends welcome him back with open arms, but it isn’t the same. When a charismatic new student, Eddie Sankawulo, tries to welcome Luke to his own school, something life-changing happens: In a moment of frustration, Luke runs into an empty classroom, hurls his backpack against the wall—and the backpack never lands. Luke Aday has just discovered that he can stop time.


M/M Pairing
Gay Character
Bisexual Character
Young Adult
Powers (Stopping Time)
High School
Death & Grieving
POC (People of Color)


This book has so much good on the surface: a POC (Indian) MC, awesome geeky best friends, the super power to stop time, an intriguing mystery, a potential love interest, theater, and the story of a young man working to overcome loss and grief.

… But, maybe it’s too much? Because this book is disjointed, confusing, awkward, poorly paced, and touches on all of the above without actually exploring any of them.

Let’s start with the power to stop time. It’s referenced in the very title of the book: Luke calls his new ability the Hold. So you’d think this would be a book about him using his power. But it’s not; in fact, he barely uses it all for the vast majority of the book, and then only to pause and draw, or contemplate his crush on Edward.

But what about the mystery? Again, referenced briefly at the beginning, and then ignored in favor of the eighty million other things going on.

What is this book about? I’m not sure. The majority of it involves Luke helping Eddie with a theater project while ignoring his best friends. He’s conflicted. Does he like Eddie? No idea. Is Eddie involved in a mystery? Yes, but Luke manages to ignore that most of the time.

Honestly, this is a story where everything happens, and at the same time absolutely nothing happens. It has moments that I adore– Luke and Marcos watching Star Wars together, or Luke thinking about his sister– which is why I’ve rated it as I did.

But this book is a mess. It’s an identity crisis… Hold has no idea what it is or what it’s doing, and instead takes tiny pieces of a dozen plots and tosses them in whenever the author remembers them.


Rachel Davidson Leigh is a teacher, a writer and an avid fan of young adult LGBTQ fiction. Her hobbies include overanalyzing television shows and playing matchmaker with book recommendations. Currently, she lives in Wisconsin with her family and two neurotic little dogs. Hold is her debut novel. Her short story “Beautiful Monsters” was featured in Summer Love, a collection of short stories published by Duet Books, the young adult imprint of Interlude Press.

Find her online at

Buy Hold online from:


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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.


3 thoughts on “Book Review by El: Hold, by Rachel Davidson Leigh

  1. Darn. This is one of the better cover designs if the year. I know you can’t judge a book by… but it would be cool to show publishers and authors that non-sexualized covers can work for sales

    Liked by 2 people

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