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Friday, January 10, 2014

Warm, Engaging Don't Let Me Go Gives Me All the Feels

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Billy Shine hasn't left his apartment in 12 years.  Everything the 37-year-old agoraphobic needs to survive can be delivered to his door and retrieved after the hallway empties out.  He sees no reason to interact with another human being.  Ever.  Billy would be happy to leave it that way for the rest of his life, too.  But then Grace comes along.  And changes everything.

From behind the curtain veiling his sliding-glass door, Billy spies the little girl sitting outside, alone.  Again.  It's almost dark in their not-so-great L.A. neighborhood and he's worried.  With her tangled hair and the forlorn expression she always wears, it's clear the child's not being looked after properly.  No that it's any of Billy's business, of course.  Still, he's concerned.  So much so that he edges out onto his balcony—outside!—to talk to her.  Grace Ferguson, as he learns, is a 9-year-old who lives in the building with her mother, a drug addict and alcoholic.  From eavesdropping on other neighbors' conversations, he knows the situation has caught the attention of CPS.  None of Grace's neighbors want the girl to be put into foster care, but what can they do?  The others have busy lives, no money, and little patience for Grace's mom, who cares more about drugs than her own daughter.

Billy doesn't want to get caught in the unfolding drama, but he can't help himself.  And, suddenly, the man who has hidden in his home for over a decade, is part of a care system intent on sheltering a troubled child.  He's interacting, not just with Grace, but also with neighbors he's never actually met before.  The unusual situation terrifies him and yet, it may just be healing him as well.  While the neighbors' desperate ploy to shield Grace from the perils of foster care is helping Billy, will it be enough to save Grace?  Especially when Eileen Ferguson demands that her nosy neighbors stop "stealing" her daughter?  What if leaving her mom and neighbors really is the best thing for Grace?  How would Billy survive the loss of the only good thing in his life?

I happened on Don't Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde almost by accident and wow, I'm so glad I did!  It's a heart-felt novel that's warm, engaging and sweet without being overly sentimental.  The characters feel real, the conflict authentic—so much so that the reader can't help being invested in the outcome of the story.  Don't Let Me Go is a touching tale that teaches the importance of reaching out, letting people in, and using selfless love to lift and protect those who need it most.  If you can't tell, this novel just gave me all the feels.  I loved it.   

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs) and mature subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Don't Let Me Go from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.  


  1. This sounds like a really lovely book; however, I am a bit concerned that the apartment complex was trying to keep her out of foster care although no one was really stepping up to take care of her.

    1. Actually, they form a little family around her, each of them taking turns to make sure she eats, gets to school, has clothes that fit, etc. It's a very sweet book.


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