A romantic and empowering book about bullying
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.
I really liked Keep Holding On, and it may be my new favorite of Colasanti's book. The story and the characters are well-written. The book has a powerful message about bullying. The message is that no one should have to be bullied.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Noelle is a well-developed character, and it is impossible not to feel bad for her. She used to have a mother who actually took care of her, but once her mother's boyfriend died, Noelle's mother began to neglect her. She does not keep enough food in the house for Noelle to eat, and she never asks her daughter anything about school or her life. She has dinner with Noelle and complains about work the entire time. She blames her daughter for making her life miserable, and she always talks about how hard it is to be a single mother. Noelle not only has to face life at home with her mother, but she also has to face life at school where she is picked on for being poor.
There are many secondary characters in this book. They are all developed and have a role to play in the story. Simon is the editor of lit mag, and he recruits Noelle to be his coeditor. This saves her from the cafeteria because she can go to lit mag during lunch. Simon is a good guy, and even though he is wealthy, he is not stuck-up like the others at the school. Sherae is Noelle's friend, and she is a good person. She doesn't care how much money Noelle has. I liked the friendship between these two. Julian is a good guy. He likes Noelle, but she thinks she isn't good enough for him. By the end of the book, he convinces her that she is good enough. Matt is Noelle's secret boyfriend, and I didn't like him. He has a girlfriend, but he doesn't tell Noelle. He only sees Noelle in secret to make out with her, and he doesn't want anyone else to know. Audrey, Carly, and Warner are all bullies and I didn't like any of them. They make Noelle's life miserable.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.