Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review: Keep Holding On by Susan Colasanti

Keep Holding On

**Received book from Around the World ARC Tours for review**

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  Between Noelle’s difficult home life and the bullying she endures at school, all she wants is to get out of her small town. Noelle would give anything to be with Julian Porter. But staying with her emotionally distant boyfriend is safer. When things heat up between Noelle and Julian, she has to decide whether she can be her true self with him.

My Thoughts:  This is the first book I have from from this author and I'm always excited to read new-to-me authors.  I was not disappointed by this book even though it isn't really my usual type of book.  It was heart wrenching and has a great message.  It's one of those books that I think teenage girls all over should read, despite a few problems I had with it.

Noelle has a rough life.  Her mom hates her, she has no father and her high school life is miserable.  The popular girls are mean to her because she isn't rich like them.  She doesn't have the ultra cool clothes, doesn't have her own car and can't even make a decent lunch for herself because there is no food in the house. She is constantly picked on.  

Noelle does have a boyfriend however he wants to keep their relationship a secret.  Matt meets up with Noelle in their "secret place" to make out but other than that, he is never around.  Is it because he is not ready for a relationship or because he is embarrassed to be seen with Noelle?

The Julian, the boy that Noelle is crushing on but is sure he is out of her league, starts talking to her.  In fact, he starts paying a lot of attention to her.  Noelle really likes him but she is so certain that she is not enough for him that she stays with Matt and their "secret" relationship.  When Matt and Noelle get caught in their "secret place", Noelle finds out some secrets Matt has been hiding and these secrets change everything.

I really liked Noelle most of the time.  There were times when I was really annoyed with her though.  There was another girl who was an outcast like Noelle.  She would ask Noelle to come to her house or hang out and Noelle would turn her down all the time for fear of being seen with her.  I was angry that Noelle was doing the same thing to this girl as the popular girls were doing to Noelle.  While she even admitted it was wrong, Noelle wouldn't do anything to change her attitude towards this girl.  I understand she didn't want things to "get worse" but it was a little hypocritical.  I was also annoyed with how Noelle would whine about having no money and no food in the house yet she was able to get free lunches from the school but wouldn't.  Why?  Because she didn't want people to know that she was that poor.  Really?!  The mustard and mayo only sandwiches didn't show that already?  People didn't already know that?  Man, if I were that hungry, I would accept free lunch.

Julian was amazing!  He was popular but really didn't care what others thought when he talked to Noelle.  They had a lot in common and he liked her for who she was and not how popular she was or how much money she had.  He was really sweet and I liked how he didn't just give in to Noelle after she made a mistake.  He really had to think about things.  

Sherae and Simon were also awesome.  Simon had his own style and just went with it.  He really didn't care what people thought and actually would go out of his way to be different.  He really cares about Noelle as a friend and tries to protect and help her without being obvious about it.  Sherae has her own secrets and problems but she is always there for Noelle.  She tries to take care of Noelle as well and once Noelle actually opens up to her, Sherae really helps Noelle in other ways.  

Noelle's mom is a single mom who obviously doesn't want to take care of Noelle.  She really resents Noelle and won't talk to her or even look at her.  The only time they talk is when her mom is ranting about her horrible job or how poor they are.  She never asks about Noelle and will even go as far as stealing Noelle's money.  Not exactly the ideal mother.

The one thing I really didn't care about in this book was the ending.  It was kinda "Brady Bunch" like in that everything gets resolved for the better.  Noelle gets the hottie boyfriend, is on the Lit. magazine and has this great new confidence after a horrible tragedy occurs.  Her mom gets scared by the school counselor and suddenly does an about face and starts caring about Noelle.  It just resolved itself too easily.  I wish all bullying situations could be resolved that easily and quickly but as someone who has gone through high school, I have seen these things happen and know that they aren't quite so quick to turn around.  

So I still think it is a book teens should read because it does deal with bullying and it does show you what could happen when you treat someone so horribly.  It does have some issues but all in all, it's a book that will pull at your heartstrings.

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