Reader’s Guide

Hold Tight

Hold Tight

Written by:



Tia and Mike Baye never imagined they’d spy on their kids. But their sixteen-year-old son Adam has been unusually distant lately, and after the suicide of his best friend Spencer Hill, they can’t help but worry. Within days of installing a sophisticated spy program on Adam’s computer, they are jolted by a cryptic message from an unknown correspondent that shakes them to their core “just stay quiet and all safe.”

As if Mike Baye isn’t dealing with enough, he also learns that Lucas Loriman, the sweet kid who grew up next door, is in urgent need of a kidney transplant. As the boy’s doctor, Mike suddenly finds himself in possession of an explosive secret that threatens to rip the Loriman family apart at the seams.

Nearby, while browsing through an online memorial for Spencer, Betsy Hill discovers a surprising detail about the night of her son’s death. Before she can find out more, Adam disappears, taking the truth with him and sending shock waves through the neighborhood.

As the lives of these families collide in tragic, unexpected, and violent ways, long-hidden connection in their small suburb begin to work their way to the surface. And whn an unidentified Jane Doe is beaten to death not far away, those connections threaten to turn this quiet community upside down—and force these desperate parents to decide whether there is any line they won’t cross to protect those they love most in the world.


Winner of the Edgar Award, the Shamus Award, and the Anthony Award, Harlan Coben is the #1 bestselling author of fourteen previous novels, including The Woods, Promise Me, The Innocent, Just One Look, No Second Chance, Gone for Good, and Tell No One, as well as the popular Myron Bolitar novels. His books are published around the world in more than thirty-seven languages. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

  • Did Mike and Tia Baye make the right decision by spying on their troubled son Adam’s online activity? What would you have done if Adam was your child? How do you weigh a child’s privacy against a parent’s right to know?
  • Prior to reading Hold Tight, were you aware of some of the seamier aspects of life among suburban teenagers that the author describes, such as pharm parties? Was there something you learned that shocked you?
  • “Nash’s upbringing had been normal. His were good parents and siblings. Maybe too good. They had covered for him the way families do for one another. In hindsight some might view that as a mistake.” [page 227] Are there other examples of people covering for or ignoring potential warning signs about family members? Were the results of these attempts good or bad?
  • “Teens today do not have room to rebel.” [page 246] Consider this statement in terms of your own teenage years. Did you enjoy more freedoms than young people today? Do you agree with the above sentiment that by having freedom kids are better able to avoid missteps such as drug use and underage drinking?
  • Talk about the investigation into the deaths of Marianne and Reba. Do you know any police officers or investigators? What did you think of Chief Investigator Loren Muse and her police work?
  • Why wasn’t Adam more open with his parents about the danger he was in? Would the story have been different if he had been honest with them sooner?
  • Do you understand why Susan Loriman concealed the fact that she had been raped and subsequently killed her attacker? What would you have done if you were in her situation?
  • Discuss communication, and the lack thereof, between parents and children in Hold Tight. Is the “generation gap” the main reason why it’s so difficult for most parents and children to relate to one another? Are there other factors?
  • What did you think of the revelations Adam’s sister, Jill, makes to Tia in Chapter 40?
  • Answer the question posed in Chapter 21 by Nash: “Why do we humans never really learn the lessons we are supposed to? What is it in our makeup, in fact, that draws us to that which should sicken us?” [page 198]
  • Talk about individual adult characters and their respective careers. Do you think each one’s attention to their work distracted or distanced them from their families? If so, at what cost?
  • What did you think of the author’s storytelling style, how he employs different voices in the narrative and uses flashbacks and foreshadowing? How did it affect your reading experience?
  • Consider the mothers in the book. How are they alike and different? Which one(s) exhibits good parenting methods?
  • Hold Tight‘s characters are connected, some unexpectedly, through some baffling twists. What did you think of the ways the author tied up the story’s many loose ends? Were you surprised by how these plotlines were resolved?
  • To what—or to whom—does the “hold tight” of the title refer? Parents and children? Innocence? Hope? Something else?
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