Review: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Keep Holding OnKeep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Publication Date: May 31, 2012
Page Count: 224
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis From Goodreads:
Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.

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Keep Holding On deals with some very serious issues. The protagonist, Noelle, is bullied at school on a daily basis. At home, Noelle suffers terrible neglect from her mother. None of it is deserved. I really felt bad for Noelle and her situation and I wanted things to get better for her. But it takes a lot of courage to learn how to stand up for yourself and to not let yourself be bullied anymore.

Noelle is a pretty good character. She is caring and has a huge heart. She is obviously strong to have made it this far, but also weak because she doesn't attempt to stop the bullying against herself and some of the other students. The bullying scenes are tough to read. I kept wanting any of the observers to take a stand and do the right thing to put a stop to it. I felt proud of Noelle when she eventually managed to dig up enough strength and self-worth to stand up for herself against the bullies AND her mother.

I really liked Noelle's friends. Sherae is her best friend. Then Noelle becomes friends with Simon when he asks her to help out with the school's literary magazine. And Julian is the boy who Noelle has had a crush on since forever. They all like Noelle for who she is. My main concern with them is that none of them stood up to the bullies, even though they knew how miserable Noelle was. I admit there was a small moment where Julian confronted another boy over mistreating Noelle, and he told Noelle he wanted to protect her, but overall he really didn't do anything to stop the bullying. That was disappointing to me because I really wanted her friends to not only stand up for Noelle, but for all of the other students who were bullied.

Noelle's mother was pretty awful. I didn't like her at all. The neglect that Noelle suffers at her mother's hand is beyond ridiculous. The sad thing is that there is no real reason for her mother to be so cold and uncaring. After seeing the effect that these moments had on Noelle I couldn't help but feel sorry for her and her situation.

A smaller aspect of Keep Holding On is the romance. Matt is the boy that Noelle has been secretly seeing. Julian is the boy that Noelle has had a crush on for years, but she doesn't feel worthy of him because of her circumstances. When Julian finally shows an interest in her, she is afraid he won't like her if he knew the truth about her home life. I couldn't wait for her to open her eyes and see who was (obviously) the better choice for her.

Keep Holding On is such a great read and comes really close to being a perfect book. It should definitely spark some serious discussions about bullying. It was a short book, but that doesn't lessen the impact it will have on you. I really love the message that things will get better if you just keep holding on. I feel this is an important book, and everyone who reads it will take something from it or maybe even be inspired by it.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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  1. I have seen this book around but this is the first review I have read for it. Keep Holding On seems like a powerful read and I can't wait to see the discussions it sparks. Great review!

  2. I haven't read many books on bullying and I don't have much experience in that area, but I do really want to read this book. Not only does it sounds like a book that deals with a serious topic, it sounds pretty cute as well. Thanks for the great review! (:

  3. Wow I have read so many great reviews for this book.... I can't wait to read it! It seems really inspiring and touching, not to mention hard-hitting as well. Bullying is something that no one should ever have to face, and I'm glad that there's a book about it and I think this will be great! Susane is also a fab author. <3 Great review Sandra!


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