Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti (picked up copy at BEA 2012.)
Noelle is a survivor. She’s survived a mother who is so self-obsessed she barely notices her daughter or her daughter’s needs. She’s survived a bare refrigerator and even barer cabinets, making do with nothing more than mustard sandwiches. She’s survived clothes so old and so big they hang from her slender form. But the one thing she may not survive is high school.
High school is tough for any kid, but for Noelle it’s downright brutal. She’s often teased and taunted for things out of her control, things she wishes she could fix. The names she can tolerate, but when she gets physically assaulted by a clump of cafeteria mashed potatoes that’s about all the bullying and abuse Noelle can take. Biding her time until she graduates Noelle needs a safe haven, away from the lunch room and away from her tormentors.
When she’s offered a position on the school lit magazine, Noelle jumps at the chance. There she finds food, friends, and a reason to Keep Holding On.
Keep Holding On written by author Susane Colasanti is a painfully beautiful story of bullying and persevering in the face of bullying.
In a few hundred pages Colasanti’s portrayal of a bullied teenage girl shows readers the repercussions of being bullied. Beyond the physical effects, with honest and compassion Colasanti shows readers that bullying affects both the mental and spiritual states of the person.
Keep Holding On is a fantastically believable read. What makes it’s so is Colasanti’s writing. Beyond being smart and brutally honest, her writing is in tune with the teens she writes for. Besides that, readers will appreciate just how realistic this book is.
Personally, Keep Holding On is Colasanti’s most relatable book to date. It’s not just because her characters are real and full of raw emotion, it’s because I felt deeply connected to her characters, Noelle especially. As someone who knows what it’s like to be teased and picked on, I fully understood how Noelle felt. So much so that I found myself shedding tears alongside her.
Keep Holding On is a story that readers will sympathize with. One that’s full of characters that readers will cheer wildly for.