Monday, 18 June 2012

Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Keep Holding On
Susane Colasanti
Viking Juvenile
[May 31, 2012]

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.

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.

--Julie

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