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Keep Holding On
by Susane Colasanti
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 12 and up
PUBLISHER: Viking Children's
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2012
NO. PAGES: 224
GENRE{S}: Realistic Fiction
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Female
ISBN: 0670012254
READ & REVIEWED BY: Tiffany - StorySnoop


The Story
Keep Holding On—Book Review

Noelle's life is far from easy. She is relentlessly bullied at school, her mother is neglectful and uncaring, and Noelle is simply trying to survive it all. She keeps much of her horrible life a secret, until she just can't any longer. When her longtime crush starts paying attention to her, and a variety of factors make her realize that she needs to stand up for herself, things finally start to change for the better.
The Scoop
Keep Holding On—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

Keep Holding On highlights the issue of bullying and one girl's high school experience. Noelle is a poor girl in a wealthy town, her mother doesn't pay attention to her (except to blame Noelle for ruining her life), she is viciously bullied at school, is a social outcast, and has extremely low self esteem. Even her "boyfriend" is simply using her as a make-out buddy, and hides their secret relationship from everyone else at school. The bullying that takes place in this story is verbal, threatening, humiliating, and escalates to physical violence. Noelle's mother does not provide food, or even the basic necessities such as feminine hygiene products. Supportive friends make a big difference in Noelle's life, particularly her best friend, Sharae. Sharae is also dealing with some traumatic issues, resulting from her boyfriend forcing her to have sex against her will. Language in this story is strong (sl-t, a-shole, b-tch, dumb-ss). One character tragically commits suicide, bringing even more attention to the damage that bullying can do. Noelle does speak up to her mother at one point, and their relationship improves slightly. Her life at school also improves thanks to a few good friends, finally finding the courage to stand up for herself, getting involved in the literary magazine, and having a particular boy express kindness and interest. An important afterward by the author discusses bullying and her own experience with it, and provides valuable resources for teens who may be in emotional pain. The maturity of the subject matter may make this book more appropriate for those slightly older than the publisher's recommended age of twelve and up.
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