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Holding on to Zoe

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  182 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
After sixteen-year-old Jules has her baby, Zoe, it doesn't matter anymore that her mother thinks she's a drama queen, or that her father left them years ago, or even that Zoe's father is gone, too. She and her baby make a family now; she doesn't need anyone else in the world except Zoe.Though it's tough being a new mom, balancing Zoe's needs with working at the Toyota fact ...more
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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May 01, 2012 Kelly rated it did not like it

I can't review this without spoiling almost the entire thing. The strength of this book was also the weakness in that it was very short and very quick.

Jules has sex with a boy, gets pregnant, and despite being told by the doctor it's an ectopic pregnancy that'll kill her and the child, she still manages to have a baby and name her Zoe. Jules works at the Toyota factory to make ends meet.

(view spoiler)
Jul 15, 2012 Aeicha rated it it was ok
THREE WORDS: Intriguing but Fragmented

MY REVIEW: Holding On to Zoe by George Ella Lyon has a really intriguing premise, which is, of course, what drew me to the book. I went into the book expecting a powerful, raw glimpse into the life of a troubled teenage mother, but what I got was something disappointing.

At sixteen years old, Jules finds herself pregnant. Even when the baby’s father takes off and her mother refuses to accept what’s happening, Jules wants her baby more than anything else. But
Jan 07, 2014 Jordan rated it really liked it
Holding On to Zoe
George Ella Lyon

"Holding on to Zoe" is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Jules. Jules and her mother did not get along. Her mother thought she was a drama queen and didn't care for her all that much. Her dad left them years ago and they don't know why. Jules goes to high school and was dating this guy until Jules got pregnant. She had the baby and named her Zoe. Her mother told her that she needed to put it up for adoption and get rid of it. Jules did not want to get rid of it
Jun 01, 2012 Paris rated it liked it
Jules becomes more than the average 16-year-old -- she becomes a mother. As hard as that may be at her age, she embraces it whole-heartedly. She is happy to have a baby and she is ready to take on the challenging task. However, the people closest to her don’t want to accept the new person in her life, her baby Zoe. Jules is upset by this but nevertheless she continues to be a strong mother. She does all she knows how to do for her baby and she does her absolute best to keep Zoe safe. Still, her ...more
Amanda (Good Choice Reading)
This is one of those books that are difficult for me to review without giving too much away.

Holding on to Zoe is a compelling read. I couldn’t stop reading, wondering what pushed Jules into her current situation. It left me thinking about a lot of things. It was fascinating, but also very sad and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her, despite her naivety. It is an understatement to say that her mother isn’t the warmest person, and you can see the affect that this has on Jules on top of everythi
Ash †Reviews of a FearStreetZombie†
Oh my gosh, I hated this book, it was so heart shattering. I give it 5 stars. It kept me wanting more, I had to finish it. Even if I knew the outcome, I just had to finish it.

Through this book, I bout cried my eyes out, my heart raced and shattered, my guts felt like they were being knotted into a million knots.

This book is so haunting, it really makes you think.

I have a love hate relationship with this book.

I will admit, I'm glad I read it, but I will not read it again. I highly doubt I will
Rebecca  Payton
Jan 15, 2013 Rebecca Payton rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book a lot. I liked how the author, George Ella Lyon, kept his readers wondering throughout the book. This is a story about a girl who had a child at the age of 16. It doesn't matter to Jules if she doesn't have her dad around. Jules doesn't care about anything, except for her baby girl,Zoe. Zoe is Jules' life and always will be. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy mystery books and who will keep reading even if the book becomes a little confusing in some parts.
Vibiana Cruz
Sep 11, 2012 Vibiana Cruz rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book even though there was some confusion in the beginning. There is a lot of emotion throughout the book. I really like how the the author, George Ella Lyon, kept the book in suspense until the end. I recommend this book more to girls because it shows the problems they face once getting pregnant and then having to lose their baby.
Lauren Watts
Sep 12, 2015 Lauren Watts rated it really liked it
So I know this book has gotten some low ratings. But I personally loved this so much. It actually made me cry my eyes out. I can't really say much about it without spoiling it. But its a recommended book from me.
Most of my Psychtember reviews will be formatted differently than my standard reviews, to reflect the mental health theme. I've structured things as though the book is the patient and I'm giving it an assessment. Each axis is an aspect of the book that I'll give my thoughts on (characters, plot, etc.), and the validity score refers to how psychologically accurate I think the book is. Then I may list some other books that this one "shares symptoms with" (i.e. novels dealing with similar topics) a ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Nicole rated it really liked it
Review Pending!

So not fair to make me cry first thing in the morning!
Apr 08, 2014 Cecilia rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zoe Pieti
Jan 05, 2017 Zoe Pieti rated it liked it
I think this book was good but it was too short. you get the main idea but there was really no twist or turns overall the theme is good but I definitely think it could be better.
Aj Sterkel
Jun 05, 2014 Aj Sterkel rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I've decided that it's impossible for me to review this book without giving away the plot.

(view spoiler)
Jul 15, 2012 Sana rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012, arcs
Sometimes people take extreme measures to live in denial and sometimes, just sometimes, a person is blissfully unaware of going to that extreme level. Life finally catches up with them and they end up getting out of it a better human being. So does that mean that the mind needs its own time to come to terms with their life to carry on? Maybe.

Jules is living a normal life, better than some. But she has lost one thing: a chance at having a normal family ever since her father skipped town when she
Dorine White
Jun 21, 2012 Dorine White rated it really liked it
I have a deeply moving YA contemporary to review today, it is Holding on to Zoe by George Ella Lyon. Published by FSG, it will be released mid July.

The Story- Sixteen year old Jules just wants to take care of her baby Zoe, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. Of course, telling herself that and living life like that are two different things. At the beginning of the book Zoe works at a Toyota plant assembling cars, but soon she is forced to go back home and live with her control freak moth
Jan 19, 2012 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
16-year-old Jules left home and started working at a Toyota factory once her baby Zoe was born. The facility offered free baby care and a small apartment for them to live in together. But her best friend and mother don’t seem to be accepting Zoe at all. It’s almost as if they’d be happy to Jules just forgot about her baby altogether. But Jules is determined to be a good mother to this perfect little baby. It means that she has to juggle a lot of responsibilities and even more when she heads back ...more
E. Anderson
Feb 17, 2012 E. Anderson rated it really liked it
This isn't a casual read. Although you probably guessed that from the whole teen pregnancy theme. What makes it even more intense is that HOLDING ON TO ZOE is psychologically intense from the very first page. The narrator, Jules, has a mother who is too focussed on her own reputation to even believe that her daughter is pregnant, and her boyfriend, while first proposing they get married, calls the next day from the bus station to tell her his mom freaked and is sending him to live with his uncle ...more
Mar 03, 2012 Kimberly rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one.
This book was such a disappointment for me. I had been hoping that my streak of "bad" books was over for the year. Apparently that's not the case at all. I really hate writing negative reviews, because I don't want to hurt the author's feelings but they are necessary.

When I first saw this book listed on NetGalley I was so excited to read it because it reminded me a lot of the book Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks which I've read at least a dozen times since I first discovered it when I was 10 yea
Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
Well, I read this story in one sitting. But, it definitely was not what I thought it would be. I knew something was off a few chapters in, and I knew mostly where it was going. I think that I didn't pay as much attention to the last line of the summary or I probably would have been expecting more of what this book was about.
This is not to say that I disliked this book, it was just kinda like getting a sip of sweet tea when you were expecting diet coke.
Holding on to Zoe is also hard to revie
Nov 16, 2012 Suzanne rated it liked it
Trying to explain why this novel didn't work for me is a challenge. It's hard to even write about the book without giving away too much; however, savvy readers will know almost at once that something is very off about Jules and her baby Zoe.

From the news of the teen's pregnancy being extopic and a surgery being scheduled to take care of it, we are next quickly confused by Jules' insistence that she works in a factory where Zoe has good day care. It just doesn't quite make it as psychologically
Jul 12, 2012 Alexa rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
(Review originally posted on Alexa Loves Books)

It’s been surprisingly common for me to read about characters that have deep-rooted issues (psychological, emotional, or physical) lately – and Holding On to Zoe is another book on the pile. I sped through this read, and I’m happy to say it pleasantly surprised me.

This book follows Jules, who has just had baby Zoe. It chronicles her struggle to deal with Zoe and her real life, as well as with her mother, who refuses to acknowledge that Zoe exists.
Nov 08, 2012 Peg rated it it was ok
In this brief, tightly written novel, sixteen-year-old-Jules initially seems perfectly normal as she deals with her pregnancy, her absent boyfriend, and her cold, unfeeling mother. You quickly learn, however, that all is not as it seems. It becomes evident that Jules has had an emotional breakdown of some sort, but the reader isn’t sure whose reality is real. Is there a Zoe? A caring professional helps Jules to face her past and begin to resolve her emotional issues. Her mother is unbelievably d ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, tragedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2013 Becky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
I don't have time to read YA lit often, but I want to read everything George Ella Lyon writes. This book was so emotionally charged and suspenseful that I could not put it down. While my heart went out to Jules and the secret she had repressed for so long that it was making her sick, I also identified with Lana, her Mom, who was struggling to hold her family and life together after being abandoned by her husband. Jules and her invisible Zoe were just about the last straws, but Lana came through ...more
Apr 14, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Jules has gone through some drama in her young life, including getting pregnant at 16, and her dream of becoming a little family is shattered when the baby's father takes off. Jules' own father left when she was small, and her mother is a slightly bitter, no-nonsense, overworked woman who struggles to get by. Jules tries to make a life for herself and her baby girl Zoe, but no one will acknowledge the baby, which alienates the relationships Jules has with her best friend and further strains the ...more
This book did not get the rating from others that I felt it deserved. But then that's what makes reading and reviewing books so much fun! I actually loved this book and I felt sorry for Jules. Teen pregnancy can't be easy but having to deal with s dysfunctional family only heightens the pain. Who cares for a non-existent baby? Who baths and feeds a pile of socks? Well Jules did and my heart bled for her. In the end, we see that once again, we are victims of our childhood because Jules real probl ...more
Dec 03, 2016 Katie rated it really liked it
Even though there isn't a twist or a shock (the author tries for there to be one, but it's really not a surprise at all), this is still a good read. A bit too short to really tackle the heavy subject matter, which is probably why it wasn't a shock.
Sep 25, 2012 Kerry rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Erin
Cover Story: Two Faces, No Waiting
BFF Charm: I Think So
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Straight Up But Short
Bonus Factors: Unreliable Narrator, Crazy Pregnant Ladies
Anti-Bonus Factor: The Patty Chase Awful Mom Award
Relationship Status: Therapy Buddies

Read the full book report here.
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George Ella Lyon is a Kentucky author who has published in many genres, including picture books, poetry, juvenile novels, and articles.
More about George Ella Lyon...

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“I just know when I quit looking to other people for directions, I found my own map.” 11 likes
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