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A Junior Library Guild Fall 2016 Selection “When every piece falls into place it’s like a dance a delicate but powerful balancing act The art of holding on and letting go at the same time”   Competitive climber Cara Jenkins feels most at home high off the ground clinging to a rock wall by her fingertips She’s enjoyed a roaming life with her mountaineering parents making the natural world her jungle gym the writings of Annie Dillard and Henry David Thoreau her textbooks But when tragedy strikes on an Ecuadoran mountaintop Cara’s nomadic lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt   Starting over at her grandparents’ home in suburban Detroit Cara embarks on a year of discovery uncovering unknown strengths friendships and first love Cara’s journey illustrates the transformative power of nature love and loss and discovering that home can be far from where you started

10 thoughts on “The Art of Holding On and Letting Go

  1. says:

    Yes I'm kicking off my book launch by giving my own novel a 5 star rating I was so excited to see the beautiful cover I'm in the final stages of editing with my publisher this month and the release date is September 12th 2016 Stay tuned for giveawaysUpdate July 12 2016 Editing is done advance reading copies have been sent out and reviews are rolling in Thanks to Kirkus A compelling unusual coming of age story And Publisher's Weekly Lenz offers a thoughtful meditation on life after loss Congrats to the winners in the first Goodreads giveaway More chances coming up soon I appreciate your support

  2. says:

    Gorgeous debut novel All the details about rock climbing and the peace to be found in nature are a breath of fresh air in the YA world I love the strong female and male characters with different backgrounds and physical challenges presented as real rich individual voices Clean enough to give to young middle schoolers a bit of swearing a bit of kissing but really aimed at high schoolers who are learning how to hold on and to let go

  3. says:

    Not rated Review only Advance Reading Copy This is one of those rare books where the story lives up to its cover and title I couldn't wait to read this one The idea of holding on and letting go being something that anyone can relate to and strive for It's an especially good concept for those of us who may have a tendency to hold on a little bit too tightly But also important for those who have experienced loss and are in danger of letting go completely And of course it quite literally applies to rock climbing as well This story is perfect for those who want to walk or climb in another person's shoes It's very atmospheric from beginning to end so you can easily get lost in the story It breaks a lot of cliches regarding stereotypes and it questions how we define peopleThere are some great concepts to explore I enjoyed the addition of literary quotes including Thorough and my personal fav Mary Oliver and how the author keeps coming back to them so that both the protagonist and the reader are led to interpret them in different ways I especially like the concept of rock climbing not to conquer the mountain but to become the mountainI love the line about Cara untangling her thoughts like strands of cold spaghetti And the idea of having a scallop shell of quiet And how Cara's uncle gave her rocks as birthday presents There's some great subtle girl power in this book as well Of overcoming obstacles both physical and mental Challenging the things that hold you back This book will enchant you with its mysteries and romance as well as break your heart wide open as you feel Cara's loss and rediscover what it means to be alive right along with her You'll cheer for her to get back to climbing and find homeAs a note I wasn't sure at first how I felt about her parents just taking off and leaving her like that But then I see that Cara needed to grow and become an adult and find herself on her own as we all must do Plus I actually appreciated the reminder that parents are still people too with their own lives drives ambitions and ways of dealing with loss and moving on Maybe the best thing they could do for Cara in this moment was to let her go

  4. says:

    Lenz's book pulled me right in with her descriptions of mountain climbing in The Art of Holding On and Letting Go She offers so much sensual and lyrical detail about the climbing process that I felt I was on the cliffs and mountains with main character Cara The book follows Cara's emotional journey from Ecuador where tragedy strikes her family to the flat concrete streets of a Detroit suburb where she is sent to try to restart her life with her grandparents She must try to make new friends try to grapple with the loss she faced in Ecuador and try to understand where she fits in to her new locale as well as the world as a whole Being a metro Detroiter it was cool to see Cara going to the climbing facilities near her new home since I've been to those as well Lenz creates well drawn characters especially the agoraphobic grandmother and the witty grandfather who made me bust out laughing on many occasions This is a book about Cara's intense passion for climbing up walls of rock as well as the drive to climb higher than who she was before in order to become a stronger girl in the end A beautiful debut about holding on to what's most important and letting go of those things that stop us from moving forward

  5. says:

    First what an amazing cover So beautiful and ties directly to the storyThis is one of those books that is so full of emotion and depth it sticks with you long after you finish reading it Cara is a complex character and the growth that she goes through in the different parts of the book is very real And the secondary characters are just as full and rich with emotion Seeing how they interacted together made me root for the different relationships between family and friends Lenz's writing style pulled me in and made me care about Cara her new friends her grandparents and even her parents although as a parent myself I had a hard time relating to them and their lifestyleAs a YA novel I can see how it will appeal to that age group or even upper middle grade And as an adult with children of my own I enjoyed reading the thoughts and feelings that the YA age groups deals with on an every day basis

  6. says:

    I really loved this book and would have finished in one day but had to pack for a week's vacation At first I didn't think the rock climbing aspect of the story would appeal to me much I'm not an outdoorsy person unless sightseeing counts But almost as soon as I started the book I became enthralled with the characters the plot and yes the rock climbing Kristin Lenz does a marvelous job of keeping the reader engaged in the story I never once felt like skimming a page which says a lot Definitely one of the best YA books I've read

  7. says:

    This review will also appear on A Leisure Moment as a part of the blog tour on Aug 22 2016I received an ARC of this book via Elephant Rock Books in exchange for an honest reviewFirst let’s talk about how much I love this cover It’s beautiful in its simplicity yet it describes Cara perfectly Next I’ve never been to Detroit or California—really any of the places mentioned in this book but Cara made me feel like I was there Me someone who hates heights lived vicariously through Cara as she climbed her way across the world She didn’t just climb mountains and her hands weren’t the only part of her left with a few scars Her story was about her metaphorical mountains as much as it was about the physical ones As I read The Art of Holding On and Letting Go I pegged it as a young adult novel for any age It had complex ideas of existentialism but could easily be enjoyed by someone just discovering the glorious young adult section The characters acted their age but that isn’t to say that each didn’t grow I liked watching that growth transpire whether through new friendships or stepping outside one’s comfort zone The friendships that Cara made in Detroit made so much of the story Kaitlyn and Cara were a dynamic duo of sorts and Nick had a welcomed presence Lenz also added Kaitlyn’s struggles with her looks and identity in a graceful way but still tackled what it means to be different and that being different is okay Because of their amazing friendship and how Nick loved Kaitlyn for the girl under the goth I rooted for her and Nick to get together the entire time and wanted their friendship to go to tbe next level First love is such a precarious thing What defines it and how do you know when it happens? Tom Torres was Cara’s question She had been one of the guys for so long that she didn’t know what to do when one of those guys saw her as Cara Jenkins girl climber—or just a girl that loved Agatha Christie novels They didn’t have a hot and heavy romance but a slow burn Cara’s most integral relationship was that with her grandparents The family had to mend through an unwilling volunteer and it took some time for them to find their footing Cara acted like any sixteen year old would and her grandparents could only do what they knew to do It was entertaining and heartfelt and carried a lot of the book The beginning of the book was a tad drawn out but necessary Some things happened at the beginning that I did not expect but I liked the twist that Lenz added I can see why this book is already winning awards The Art of Holding On and Letting Go will take you to new heights

  8. says:

    I served on the Sheehan Book Prize committee that selected this book as the winner It's a wonderful exploration of grief of friendship and of relationships broadly A solid voice some really fantastic settings with incredible details that really make clear Lenz knows how to world build and a book that will linger with readers

  9. says:

    This is a fantastic debut novel by Lenz I loved the symmetry between rock climbing and personal loss and love Beautiful prose and imagery Congrats Kristin Emily S Deibel author of Cecilly in Cinderland

  10. says:

    In The Art of Holding On and Letting Go homeschooler and competitive climber Cara’s life falls off balance when the unthinkable happens Cara is left to pick up the pieces in unfamiliar territory when she moves in with her grandparents Detroit is much different than her California mountain cabin home plus she has to adjust to the stresses of high school New friends help her navigate these uncharted waters in this journey of self discoveryThis debut is a quick absorbing read about friendship grief family love and following your passion I’ve never been mountain climbing but I was caught up in Cara’s love for the sport and the vivid descriptions made it feel like I was right there with herRead here and enter to win a copy of the book for yourself