Lucy A. Kelly’s Holding On and Letting Go is a poignant tale about love, loss, and growing up. Two years after the death of brother, Emerson Caulfield returns home. There's one person excited to see her, her childhood friend, Matt, but he quickly realizes that the Emerson he knew isn’t the girl standing before him. Emerson's happy to cut ties with everyone who knew Peter and that means acting indifferent towards Matt. When Matt’s ex-girlfriend sets out to ruin Emerson’s reputation by spreading a nasty rumor, Matt steps up to the plate and he quickly realizes he’s never stopped loving Emerson. Will Emerson and Matt be able to put the past aside and rekindle their friendship or will they go their separate ways?Holding On and Letting Go is told in both Emerson and Matt’s perspective. Kelly informs us when the narrative changes and it doesn’t distract the reader. I particularly enjoyed both point-of-views because it gives us the benefit of knowing both characters. It was important to know them separately because we are slowly fed information regarding Emerson’s move and ultimately why she stopped talking to Matt. Kelly also introduces us to a few secondary characters that you’ll love. Luke is Matt’s best friend, but in many ways he’s the rock that both Emerson and Matt need. He and Matt often discuss Emerson and he’s there to support Emerson as a friend and doesn’t judge her. Of course it being it high school, we need to have a girl that makes life impossible for Emerson and we get that with Savannah, Matt’s ex-girlfriend.The writing is good and the language used is how your average teenager would talk. There are some heavy issues discussed including anorexia and dealing with grief. Ultimately, Kelly delivers the message of asking for help and it’s okay to ask for it. We’re given two characters that desperately need help, but can’t find a way to ask, while those around them are helpless. There’s also the underlying issue of people changing and not knowing them fully. There’s one particular scene where Matt realizes Emerson isn’t the girl he’s put on this pedestal; she’s different and she’s done some things that make you raise your eyebrows, but what he didn’t realize is, that was Emerson’s call for help. Her parents may have been oblivious to her actions, but Matt should have realized what Emerson was asking for. After all, he’s known her his entire life, but then again maybe that’s the message all along, that we really don’t know the people we love.What I particularly enjoyed was the character development and how everyone including the secondary characters changed. It’s not easy being friends with people who treat you badly and the fact that Kelly made Savannah remorseful especially at the end was a breath of fresh air. I loved the importance of siblings because unless you have them, you can’t understand the special bond. Kelly also showcases the importance of friendship and how the people we call friends can become part of our family. This is especially true regarding Luke asking Emerson to help him with his sister. I was in tears in the end, which I won’t spoil, because I loved how Emerson took his sister on and adopted her as her own. I wish I could touch upon the ending, but I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say, Peter, would be smiling at Emerson and thanking her.I have several favorite scenes, but the one stands out is the fishing spot scene. What Matt did was incredible and I was happy that Emerson was given that special treat. I do wish Kelly had given us a scene with Emerson and her parents even if it was from Emerson’s perspective. I’m not a parent, but I can sympathize with the Caulfield’s and I suspect their indifference to Peter’s illness wasn’t because they didn’t care, but rather the inability to save him. They are doctors after all and it must have been devastating to know they couldn’t heal him.I really enjoyed Lucy A. Kelly’s Holding On and Letting Go. We can all associate with Emerson and at some point we’ve experienced a loss in our lives. It’s a beautiful heartbreaking book. Do keep tissues on hand because you’re going to need it.This review is posted at Literary, etc.