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Keep Holding On

Review

Keep Holding On

For Noelle, being constantly bullied at school is just one of the many problems stacking up in her life. Her mother hasn't taken care of her for years, putting little food on the table and even less in the fridge, filling up the silence in their apartment with her complaints without ever asking Noelle how her life is going. She has stolen from Noelle's college fund and isn't afraid to tell her that having her ruined her life.

"KEEP HOLDING ON is a powerful book that does a great job capturing the feeling of helplessness the victim of bullying can feel.... This is a must read for anyone who has ever been picked on."

If her home life is tense and lonely, her time at school is even more painful. First, there are the bullies who constantly mock her for her inadequate lunches, cheap baggy clothes, and anything else they can point to that makes her different. Her one-time friends abandoned her after her mom stopped caring and they sunk farther into poverty. Now all she can do is watch them eat lunch together and remember how it used to be. She doesn't know how to help her best and only friend as she silently struggles to come to terms with the fact that her ex-boyfriend went too far one night, and she doesn't know if she should stick by him as he keeps putting off making their relationship public.

Just when she thinks her life can't get any more complicated, the guy with whom she has had a crush unbelievably starts to show an interest in her, and the bullying at school and neglect at home escalate to a point that she can't ignore any longer. The change forces her to make some decisions about how she will handle bullies for the rest of her life and how she will help others deal with their tormentors.

KEEP HOLDING ON is a powerful book that does a great job capturing the feeling of helplessness the victim of bullying can feel. Noelle is counting down the days until she can leave school, get out of town, and start what she knows will be a better life in a better place. However, there are moments when the wait seems too long and the promise of a better future too good to be true. Her desire to support another bullying victim tempered with the fear her bullying would escalate if she did rings true too, as does her desire to trust a caring teacher balanced with the knowledge that she doesn't have the absolute power to make the bullying stop.

The addition of Noelle's best friend's sexual assault just seems to clutter an otherwise fast-paced read. Susane Colasanti handles the subject of bullying and the emotions surrounding it so well that the book really didn't need another issue with which to deal.

KEEP HOLDING ON captures the fear of walking down a high school hallway not knowing if you'll reach your classroom without a taunt thrown your way. It's a novel about holding your breath, keeping your head down, and eventually gaining the courage or pure frustration to look up and face your bullies head on. This is a must read for anyone who has ever been picked on.

Reviewed by Molly Horan on June 27, 2012

Keep Holding On
by Susane Colasanti

  • Publication Date: May 31, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • ISBN-10: 0670012254
  • ISBN-13: 9780670012251