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Review - Keep Holding On

Monday, May 21, 2012
Keep Holding On
by Susane Colasanti

Publication: May 31, 2012 (Paperback)
Pages: 224
Author: Website | Facebook | Fanpage | Twitter  |  Youtube
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Buy it: Amazon | KindleB&N | Book Depository

A romantic and empowering book about bullying

Noelle's 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.

Noelle is a quiet teenager in the process of finding herself. Because of various issues from her home troubles to bullying at school, she feels undeserving of anything good in her life. She's afraid that if she starts wanting more, then it'll all be taken away from her. Noelle is the girl that readers want to support because so many of her fears are ones that we've all gone through and because she's a good girl who has been played with by external factors.

I do feel that the story moves rather quickly. While the story eventually reveals everyone's secrets and inner fears, I never quite felt as though I got to know the characters. Despite Noelle's crush on him, all I know about Julian is that he wants to be an architect and that he's a nice guy who genuinely cares about her. I know about Noelle's life, but I don't know why her secret is so bad and to be ashamed about. I would have liked to see the story fleshed out more, but because it is so short, I can see how this book is geared towards younger readers.

The story wraps up beautifully. It is a bit of a perfect ending, but one that I feel is deserving in this case. This is a story that I can recommend to upper elementary school children just as much as an older teen, and I may recommend it more for the former because of the brevity of this book and definitely because of the themes of friendship, love, self identity, bullying and other teen issues.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.
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