Hold Tight by Harlan Coben is a suspense novel exploring how much parents have the right to, and morally should, invade their childs’ privacy in order to protect them. Mike and Tia Baye are worried about their son Adam, he’s completely changed since the suicide of his best friend, Spencer Hill. Adam is withdrawn and secretive, dresses different, acts different, and has given up his life’s passion – playing hockey. Tia is concerned that Adam is into dangerous things, and she is afraid he may be contemplating suicide. She justifies setting up a spy program on Adam’s computer, arguing that Spencer’s parents must wish they had done more to find out about their son’s life.
At first they come across normal teenage boy things, until Adam receives an ominous message telling him to keep quiet, and he’ll be safe. Now Tia and Mike begin to unravel the truth about what Adam has gotten himself into. Related stories surround Adam’s sister, best friend, and a teacher at school, a psychopathic murderer killing for revenge, and Spencer’s mother. For most of the book the reader does not know how all these stories will connect, but by the end they intertwine beautifully.
Hold Tight is very suspenseful, and Coben’s has a wonderful set of characters. You can empathize with each in their own way – including the psychopath. However, I felt like Mike and Tia were to apologetic for their spying throughout the novel. I thought that once you make the decision to do it, right or wrong, you have to follow the path without any reservations to protect your kid. They often hemmed and hawed over how to explain to Adam how they knew where he was, and I kept thinking that it didn’t matter how they knew. They caught him doing something bad, and that’s the end of it. He doesn’t need to know where his parents got the information; he’s doing something wrong. Basically, I didn’t see the moral dilemma Coben tried to present. But, the story was fast-paced, the characters well rounded and always had some surprises, and the plot was interesting and timely.