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Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
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's review
Jul 07, 2012

really liked it
Read from July 04 to 05, 2012

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Tackling a subject such as bullying is like walking on hot coal. Such books need to be able to evoke strong emotions in the reader and at the same time spread an important message. I finished reading this book yesterday and my feelings for this book are still very conflicted.

Noelle is a poor girl going to a school with rich kids. She is bullied on a daily basis by students at school and no one really knows the extent to which the bullying goes to. Things are not much better at home,as well. Her single mom cares about nothing but herself and as a result, there's basically never anything to eat. Soon a dramatic event at school forces Noelle to gain confidence and stand up for herself.

Noelle was one of the most confusing main characters I've ever come across. Part of me felt total sympathy for her, while the other part wanted to admonish her on several occasions. Although she was a smart and independent girl, she often baffled me with a couple of her poor decisions. She complained about how she had no food at home endlessly. However, at school she qualified for free lunch, but she refused to subject herself to such an "embarrassing" scenario. Honestly, I didn't see the logic behind that train of thought of hers. Would you rather eat or starve ? If I were in her situation, then I would have chosen the former. People who are starving don't care about humiliation. They care only about filling their stomachs. One other thing that struck me with her was the fact that she used $15 to buy a top instead of using that very money to purchase something to feed herself. She could also be very shallow at times, especially when it came to Ali, a fellow bully-victim. The girl was friendless and once attempted to talk to Noelle, but Noelle, knowing that Ali was yearning for friendship, dismissed her. In a way, that was hypocritical on her part. Despite all of the above, part of me also felt pity for her. She wasn't in a very pretty situation and some of the things that the bullies did to her was downright cold and heartless. Her voice was definitely raw and poignant. Her doubts, insecurities and pain were crystal clear and left my gut wrenching. I liked the fact that she shed her lack of self-esteem and gained some self-confidence, although it did take something major for that to happen, towards the end of the book. One character that truly won over me was Sherae. She was a fabulous and very devoted friend. Always there for Noelle, Sherae was the kind of person who was present to take Noelle in her arms whenever she would crumble down no matter what she was dealing with herself. Unlike the other kids at school, she didn't make assumptions about her friend and simply supported her by trying to make her happy.

What I loved most about Keep Holding On was the potent message it sent out. It's something important and I think that bully-victims can benefit from. In my opinion, it could maybe help them gain courage. Personally, I thought the bullying itself was well-illustrated with Noelle's feelings being intense and honest. The driving force that led to Noelle standing up for herself was heartbreaking, but the aftermath felt too rushed and seemed unreal. Part of me felt like all of Noelle's problems resolved way too fast while what I really wanted was for her to undergo a slow healing process with the aid of the people who loved her. Susane Colasanti manages to summon all sorts of emotions ranging from sorrow to blood-boiling anger in a way that makes the reader appreciate the book even with its flaws.

Keep Holding On might not be a perfect book, but it does deserve to be hyped because of the valuable lesson it spreads to teenagers and parents alike. I definitely think that it's a book that's truly worth reading.

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Reading Progress

07/04/2012 page 30
07/05/2012 page 150
67.0% "This is sad :("
07/05/2012 page 180
80.0% 6 comments
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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♥Rachel♥ Lovely review Nick. I've been afraid to pick this up because of the heartbreak I think I'll have reading it. I do think it's an important issue to address because it's so prevalent and that is truly a shame.

message 2: by Mimi (new) - added it

Mimi Valentine I just had this one come in from the library and I'm so excited to read it! But I'll make sure to have my tissues ready for this -- it sounds so sad! :( Bullying is a HUGE issue, and I'm so happy Susane took a shot at it! Beautiful review, Nick <3

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