Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
- ISBN-13: 9780670012251
- Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
- Publication date: 5/31/2012
- Pages: 224
- Source: Netgalley
A romantic and empowering book about bullying
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.
Keep Holding On is a well placed book with all of the news of bullying and the terrible outcomes that some teens who are bullied end up taking. Noellle not only has to deal with bullies at school, but a terribly neglectful mother. It is apparent from the beginning that Noelle thinks that she has no where to turn and is just counting down the days until graduation and her time to escape. But things begin to look up when she is offered an editor position at the school magazine and her best friend figures out just how bad things really are. Things get even better when her longtime crush, Julian, finally asks her out and after her best friend basically makes her accept. It takes a lot of convincing, but she finally accepts. Things are moving along okay until one of her classmates take her own life. Noelle know just how bullied this girl was and to keep herself from being picked on Noelle had not been as nice as she should have been. Especially since this girl had tried to reach out to her on numerous occasions. Noelle takes action and decides that she is going to live her life for herself. Noelle is surprised to find a teach interested in her well-being and she begins to fight her demons.
I really liked some of the secondary characters. Her best friend, Julian, and the magazine editor all had ways of silently helping Noelle without her really realizing it was happening. Sure as the story developed and Noelle became more aware of herself she begins to unfold these things. It made for great character development as Noelle realized people really did care and she was not alone.
I would say that this is your typical contemporary that deals with tough topics but at a leave that is approachable and palatable. It was very sad and frustrating to see the horrible things done to and said about Noelle by not just students but her mother. It was almost too much against her. I was also angry for Noelle and the other bullied students that so many teachers just stood by and let things happen. In my opinion, it is part of a teacher’s job to protect their students and take action if needed. And it was more than needed in Noelle’s situation. I found the ending to be just a little bit too perfect. I know that was done intentionally, however for me it made it almost unrealistic. Not that it would be impossible for this ending to happen just more improbable in my mind.
I enjoy Sussan Colasanti’s writing style it is honest and open. Very reader friendly and written at a level that it could be read from early teens, which I found to be a benefit due to the topic. It was also a quick read and under 250 pages. The title of this book, Keep Holding On, says it all.
4 penguins. Well developed and Touching Story