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Review - The Art of Holding On and Letting Go by Kristin Bartley Lenz

I admit, I've been holding out on you guys.

It's been a bit since I've done a review, but then I've had a bit of a snag with the literature I've currently been trying to read.

In my effort to delve deeper into the adult literature world of mystery, crime fiction, and historical ventures...I found myself drowning in certain books that not only didn't hold my interest, but also didn't capture what the story was supposed to be truly about.

Certain novels tend to get carried away with being overly descriptive, overly emotional, and overly fact driven.  The sky is blue, the birds flew overhead, the grass was green...

Getting caught up in the description of something, the factual basis, and the emotional scale of things, sometimes isn't a good thing.  For a reader to thoroughly and completely enjoy the story they are reading, they have to connect with the character and feel as if they have been placed into their world...into their mindset you might say.

This is why, when I read a story, I'd rather you show me what's going on rather than tell me with too many words, and many authors just fall short of getting it right.

After a brief stint in my reading schedule, I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the first readers to enjoy a novel from debut YA author, Kristin Bartley Lenz, entitled The Art of Holding On and Letting Go.

I can tell you now, my reading snag, is officially over.

Kristin is one of those few authors who has painted a picture with her words and brought me right into the mindset of her lead character.  She's shown me her main characters world and everything it involves, and I've come out on the other side with a different outlook than when I first started the novel.


Cara Jenkins is a fifteen year old competitive rock climber.

From the very first line of the story, we are introduced to her world as she sees it.   We are thrust into the middle of a competition, set in the beautiful landscapes of Ecuador and quickly find that Cara is one of the best.  We also find out that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, as her parents and Uncle are rock climbers as well.

After tragedy strikes on one of the highest mountains in the world, Cara finds her whole world turned upside down when she is forced from her slightly nomadic rock climbing lifestyle, to the jungles of life that is public high school.  To compliment this fact, she's been forced to live with her grandparents in Detroit, the farthest place away from where she truly wants to be.

Cara's hard transition into high school life is just the first obstacle she has to face.  She finds that after a certain incident in Ecuador, she no longer wants to do the one thing that really brought joy to her life.  Rock climbing is a thing of the past for her and she in no way wants to relive it.

But suddenly something amazing happens...Cara survives.  Through all her struggles dealing with tragedy across the world, entering a whole other life, meeting new friends, and figuring out who she REALLY wants to be...she overcomes.

The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, is a novel that I feel most people will connect with in the sense that everyone struggles with one thing or another.  Tragedy strikes, things get difficult, and life gets hard.  Throughout everything you must force yourself to endure, climb your mountains, overcome and achieve.  If anything, this novel should serve as a triumph to our biggest fears and our greatest accomplishments.  Cara should serve as the model of ourselves who, deep down, we are in constant fear and worry over the issues before us.  Like Cara, we should dig deep within ourselves and find the will to continue to climb and continue to make ourselves better and be the people we want to be.

Kristin Lenz, has done a phenomenal job of maintaining a story line that both connects physically and emotionally to her readers.  The imagery that courses throughout this novel, really places you within Cara's world in a show, not tell, fashion.   There's something in this novel for everyone and I doubt anyone would regret reading it.  Kristin is going to be an author to keep an eye on, and I for one cannot wait to read her next book.

The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, hits shelves this September.

**Stay tuned on September 1st as I have a very special surprise in store regarding Kristin! **


  1. How nice to wake up to your review this morning, Amy! Ha, you had me worried at first - so glad my book ended your reading snag!

  2. How nice to wake up to your review this morning, Amy! Ha, you had me worried at first - so glad my book ended your reading snag!