Keep Holding On

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Keep Holding On
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
May 31, 2012
ISBN
978-0670012251
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Chew. Swallow. Chew. Swallow. Don't look up. Lunch is the worst, but there's no safe place at school for Noelle. Keeping her mortifying home life a secret and trying to ignore the kids who make her life miserable are Noelle's survival strategies. Her emotionally distant boyfriend, Matt, isn't the one she really wants to be with. But there's no way she could ever be with Julian Porter. When Julian starts talking to her, Noelle is terrified. It seems safer to stay with Matt than risk a broken heart. But when the bullying of a friend goes too far, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself - and for everything that makes her keep holding on.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Not the story I was expecting.
(Updated: April 25, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
"What's in front of you, is not necessarily the entire story."

This book may be small but it has the potential to make a big impact. It affected me personally because the subject matter is something I could identify with.

The summary and the cover leads the reader to believe it's a book about teenage romance with a few difficult issues thrown in but it isn't. The romance aspect is minor compared to the overall message of the book which is epic. Noelle has endured a life of neglect both at home and at school. She's so beaten down she can't even see that her boyfriend, Matt might not be the best choice for her. Julian, (the best part of the story in my opinion) is the boy she really wants to be with is beginning to show serious interest in her but he can't possibly like someone like her, can he?

Julian is smart, kind, beautiful and rich, all the things that Noelle is not. Her BFF Sherae tells her she deserves to be with someone like him but Noelle can't fathom that. If he knew the truth about her life, the secrets she keeps in order to make it through each day, he would see she really isn't worth it, or so she believes. She's not the only one at school who suffers in silence and when the bullying finally goes too far and a friend suffers the heartbreaking consequences, Noelle must decide what kind of life she really wants to live. Choosing to keep quiet is no longer an option but standing up for what's right means risking everything. It's a risk she's not sure she's willing to take but as she begins to realize, the things we want most in life are always worth the risk.

Susane encourages readers with a bit of her own story and lets them know that once High School passes, things change, life gets better and it really does. Seeking help for whatever you're struggling with is SO IMPORTANT. Help is available.
Good Points
The subject matter is very relevant to today and what teens are dealing with. Also, last line of page 133 says this: "Life would be so much easier if fictional boys were real." True.Story. ;)
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Antoher Wonderful Susane Colasanti Book
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Every year I count down and wait until Susane Colasanti‘s next book comes out, because they are always just amazing. Keep Holding On has taken its place as my second favorite Susane Colasanti book, after When It Happens.

Keep Holding On addresses bullying and is the sort of story that just needs to be shared. There were so many heart breaking moments in Keep Holding On and it basically just broke my heart. These were balanced out with happier moments of friendship.I do wish there had been more with Julian at the end, as he was quite an awesome character.

Noelle was a character who was super easy to connect with – she gets bullied, and I know I’ve been there, and I’ve watched other people be in that position as well. But Noelle’s issues don’t end with being bullied, there is also the story of her home life. I really loved Sherae, she was the best sort of friend and a wonderful character.

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti is a must read sort of book. It was truly touching, and has a story that is absolutely worth reading. It was an awesome book from one of my favorite authors.
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Overall rating 
 
4.4
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4.2  (6)
Characters 
 
4.5  (6)
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Keep Holding On (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
When I read the description for /Keep Holding On/ I couldn't help but think I'd be left annoyed by Noelle and her decisions. Sometimes I did just want to grab her by the shoulders and tell her like it is, but she had a friend that did a pretty good job of it, so I understood where she was coming from in those instances even more. Instead of being super annoyed with Noelle, my heart went out to her.

I went to a small school that didn't really have any bullying. When I say small, I'm talking pre-K through 12 in one building. There was a few groups of outcasts, of course, but for the most part, everyone was either friendly or indifferent to each other. So, I've never experienced anything like what Noelle went through. I can't even fathom the cruelty she dealt with. She skipped lunches at school for fear of the torture that'd be inflicted on her because of how poor she was. And her home life was no better. I honestly hated her mother. She was cruel to Noelle in every way possible: yelled at her for simple things, blamed her or their poor situation, rarely fed her or kept any food in the house, and even stole her money. I was itching to call child services despite the fact that it was, you know, fictional...

And then there's Matt. Stupid, idiot Matt. Anyone could see how crappy of a guy he was, but after so many years of torture and being ignored by nearly everyone around her, Noelle can't help but be pulled in by all the attention. Well, the secret attention. Every time she explained his secrecy away I just wanted to go "Oh, honey.."

It hurt to see her go through all that when she really wanted Julian anyway I hated seeing her push him away just because she was disappointed in her life and thought she wasn't worth it.

/Keep Holding On/ is my first Colasanti book, but it definitely won't be my last. She handles bullying in a way that made me want to get up and do something to change it. I felt for Noelle so much and the thought of real life kids dealing with that stuff makes my heart hurt.

The Nutshell: /Keep Holding On/ was not the story about a stupid girl who can't see what's best for her that I expected. Colasanti pulls out the big guns with bullying and really makes you feel for Noelle. If you're in for a story about a girl with a tough life and her journey towards loving and respecting herself then you'll love /Keep Holding On/.

Hit
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Fantastic Empowering Book!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I wasnt expecting much when i first bought this book. I mean i thought it would be a great book. Turns out it was that and then some. I could not put this down! Ah it was just so good. I really like the ending, too! I really hated the mom and her changing was awesome. Sometimes when I read a book and its so true to life I can picture it happening at my school. Great read, everyone should read this book.
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Powerful and Relatable
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Keep Holding On is the first novel by Susane Colasanti I've ever read, and I have a feeling it won't be the last. It's not the best book I've read this year, by a long shot, but it contains something special that I can barely put name to. It was powerful, relatable on various different levels. And more than anything, this book has meaning.

Bullying is something I have absolutely zero experience with. I am a lucky teenager, because the majority can't say that. But even though I've never been bullied, I can relate to this book in ways I never even realized. Like, feeling like you're not good enough. There are always people out there waiting to belittle you, make you feel like you're not worth the air you breathe. That's something Noelle, the protagonist, battles a lot with. Another thing I can relate to is feeling gross. I know this is weird, but I think everyone understands. I'm pretty sure everyone has something about them where they think, "If anybody found out about this, they'd probably never talk to me again." Susane Colasanti really gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of people that most books overlook. The cringe-worthy stuff. The things that make people more than rainbows and unicorns.

Noelle was a character I enjoyed reading about, but didn' necessarily love. She is constantly bullied. The kids at school call her rotten eggs, they make fun of her scarce lunch, and they push her around. And the primary reason they pick on her so relentlessly is because she is poor. How sad is that? Tormented for something she can't even control? Sure, she did her best to hide the worst parts of her life, but she could only manage to thinly veil them. So, ya know, I really did feel for her. I wanted so badly to tell everybody that messed with her to EFF OFF. And I admired that she gathered the courage to get dressed and go to school every morning, that she didn't give up. She was strong in that way, but she was also crippled by her fear. When others were getting bullied, she was too scared to be there for them. She thought that if she stood up for them, or even if she just provided a shoulder to cry on, the bullies would just target her more. I get it, I do. But I didn't like it. Then there is Julian. He wants to be an architect, the kind who designs crazy houses with trees coming out of them and stuff. He is a total sweetheart throughout the novel, even when he was hurt by Noelle's actions. He is always fighting for Noelle and defending her. He knows what she is going through, and he doesn't care. He just wants to be with her and be there for her. The dude even designs Noelle's dream house for her. He is amazing and nonjudgmental.
.
There's a balance of awful and fabulous secondary characters. Sherae and Simon are Noelle's good friends. And when I say good, I mean the best! They are there for her through everything, even when she doesn't realize it. They try to do things for her in ways she won't realize because they don't want to embarrass her. Like Simon always buys Noelle lunch because he knows there's no food in her fridge. Sherae puts these gift baskets together with things Noelle really needs like socks and whatnot. Simon was probably my favorite character, with his wacky fashion sense and passion for the school newspaper, but Sherae reminds me a lot of my friends. I can't even count the number of times my friends have been willing to buy stuff and pay for me when I had no money on me. Noelle is luck to have such great people in her life, but she also has to deal with people like her mother, who is a horrid creature. She blames Noelle for everything bad in her life. She hardly feeds her daughter, and does nothing but complain. She's utterly awful and it is difficult for me to fathom that there are actually parents out there like her.

The ending left me with a smile on my face and a satisfied hum in my belly. Things aren't perfect for Noelle, but they're looking up. The growth in this novel is tremendous. Noelle is beginning to realize that she deserves happiness. Her friends have learned more about her life and of course they're more willing than ever to be there for her. Even her horrible mother is making an effort. So there's no shiny ribbon tied in a perfect bow, but it's better that way.

I'd recommend this book to anyone. Like I said, it's not the best book in the entire universe, but I can almost guarantee everybody can take something away from it. It is definitely worth the read.
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A must read for all tweens/teens!
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Such a strong and empowering little book. Keep Holding On is a story that was written from the heart and should be on ever tween and teen's mandatory to-be-read pile!

Keep Holding On is about Noelle, a teen who is being neglected by her mother and bullied at school in addition to going through the normal ups and downs of a regular teen -
self doubt, insecurities and pride.
She doubts that she is able to stop the things that continue to happen to her.
Without any encouragement from anyone in her life, she has no idea as to what she is capable of.
Noelle also doesn't like to take charity from anyone when she feels that it wouldn't be necessary if things in her life were normal aka her mother would step up and make the right choices.
She doesn't allow herself to hope that she is worthy of more.
Until something happens to one of her fellow classmates that forces her to question herself and finally realize that she is more than capable of taking matters into her own hands.

Keep Holding On is encouraging and reminds all of us, no matter the age, that we are not alone and that we should always hold on, no matter what.
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Keep Holding On
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
A story great story about bullying and the consequences that can result from bullying in high school. This story is pretty emotional and really touched a nerve. Noelle has a pretty rough go of it and is hanging on by a thread.
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Thought Provoking
After first reading this book, I sat down and wrote a bit about judging and bullying and all kinds of deep meaningful stuff to include in the review. Sitting down again today, I didn't think it was necessary for me to go into that. You're all intelligent people, I don't feel the need to restate the obvious.

So, why am I sharing that? Because I do want to make the point that this isn't just a book. Keep Holding On made me think and feel. It's That Kind of book that inspires the deep thoughts and the contemplation of society and how teenagers - and people in general - treat each other.

Noelle was this awesome narrator because she was so real. She was insecure and afraid and angry and honest. So, so honest. I never pitied her, but I wanted to help her. Hug her. Do something for her because she was just this wonderful person who got a crappy hand in life and it wasn't fair. Occasionally, her choices made me want to shake her (alright, it was one choice, mostly), but for the most part, she was smart and clever, even if nobody else realized it.

There is a bit of a love triangle going on, except it's not really a love triangle. One guy is Obviously Wrong and the other is Obviously Right, even if it takes Noelle some time before she understands that. The Obviously Wrong guy made me stabby, giving me the creeps from the beginning. Mr. Obviously Right made me happy and I wanted to hug him too.

This isn't my usual kind of book. I mean, of course I like my romances, but the heavier aspects? The bullying, the major family issues...not my usual cup of tea. But the way Susane wrote it, I was engaged. I was interested. I was in love with the characters from the start and I just wanted everyone to be happy and have puppies and cake.

I wasn't head over heels for this book. Like I said, it's not my usual read. But I was very impressed and have every intention of reading more of Susane Colasanti's books in the future. And I highly recommend this one for anyone who likes romances with a lot more substance.
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Keep Holding On
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
I went into Keep Holding On with only the knowledge that it was a book about bullying and that Susane Colasanti wrote it. I was expecting it to be a light read, like some of the other books I have read by her. Quick and easy to get through. With a heartwarming ending and a life lesson.

I’ve never read a book focused mainly on bullying, especially one that is so heart breaking. Well, unless you count a Courtney Summers book, but I expect that going into one of her books. (It’s why I read her stuff! Make me cry, Courtney!)
At some parts of this book I was cringing, and felt like I couldn’t read further. It was deep and rough, and Noelle made me hurt like crazy.

Let me say this, I have never been a victim of bullying. There was also never any bullying going on at the high school I went to, that I could see anyways. It was an extremely small school. I graduated with 56 people in my class. And I do not live in an “expensive” town like the characters in this book. If you didn’t like someone, you just ignored them. Easy as that. Even now, 3 years after high school and we still ignore each other when we see them on the streets or at the grocery store. Some things never change.

But this Carly chick in the book is fucking crazy. I have never witnessed someone so openly vile, especially not in real life.
I wanted to scream at Noelle to just say something back to her. When she finally does, it is way over do.
Personally, I do not think they handled that situation the right way.

There was no need to call Carly out on her drunk ass mom. That’s almost just as bad as what she was doing to Noelle. And Carly was right; Noelle was not the only one with problems.
But, Carly’s actions are in no way justified just because her home life is bad. She should just needs to find another place to put her pain. Another medium. Throw it into something productive instead of bullying.

With that being said, I hate that some of the characters in this book (and outside of it) are affected by their home life. Something that they really have a limited control over. It’s not fair that they let it define how they think of themselves. It really breaks my heart into a million pieces.

That’s why this book was so hard to get through. I felt helpless to any of the fictional characters. But Susane gave me that life lesson at the end; it’s why I finished reading. I knew things had to look up.

So, my last words are this. Surround yourself with people who care and you can depend on. Sherae, Julian, and Simon are the perfect group of friends.

Don’t judge someone by what you see on the outside. Everyone is going through their own struggles, and you just really don’t know how bad it could be for them. Something you say could be the last thing they need to push them over the edge. Just Keep Holding On.
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