Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

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  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/31/2012
  • Pages: 224
  • Source: eARC provided by NetGalley/Penguin for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

Overview

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.


My Thoughts

This book was just beautiful. It was sad, but really uplifting too. It is a touching and emotional story about overcoming bullying. I don't even know where to start with this review or even where to go with it really. I have been reading much more contemporary lately, but I still find it hard for me personally to review. This book broke my heart, but also made me smile. It's definitely a very emotionally draining book to read if you are a sympathetic reader.

Noelle is one of those characters you just really ache for. At some times I did feel a bit angry at her, but I totally understand why she did or didn't do certain things. High school is rough and it's a shame that she was embarrassed, but the fault really lies on her mother. It's sickening that her mother just kind of gives up and Noelle is basically trying to take care of herself. He mom is embarrassing, she is ashamed that she is poor and has nothing. I remember how horrible some kids can be to the people who didn't have as much. She isn't the only one getting picked on, but what is sad is that she is too ashamed to even hang out with another girl who is being bullied too. She is afraid that it will make things worse for her. She keeps saying how she wishes that people would do something, stand up for others, whatever, but then she won't do it either.

I loved Julian. He is such a great character. He is plenty well off, but he doesn't act all high and mighty like the other kids do. He isn't ashamed to talk to people who get picked on, or stand up for them. He doesn't feel the need to be in the cool crowd. He like Noelle because of who she is, not because of what she has, or more accurately, doesn't have. There needs to be more Julian's in this world. He is a good example of how people should treat each other and act. Is he perfect, no. Nobody is perfect, but he is pretty close.

The bullies made me so angry, but besides them, the teachers and others made me angry too. Like, how can the teachers just stand by and let people be treated so badly. Warren I totally wanted to punch in the face...repeatedly. And Carly too! Ugh! Just the things that they do and say it so horribly sad. They treat people however they want, throw food at people, push them verbally attack them, I could go on and on. My heart was aching through so much of this book.

I loved that Noelle still had a good friend to stick with her through things. Sharae was really awesome and always reassured Noelle that she was a great person. Noelle had still hid a lot of stuff from Sharae, but her are Sharae have a great heart to heard and tell each other about the secrets they have been hiding and how they feel. Sharae has her own issues in this book to that are very serious too.

This book was just very real. I could see these things happening. I have seen these things happen for real. This book brought out a lot of my emotions, mostly anger, anguish, and disappointment. So many of the characters really, really disappointed me, but that's realistically how it is. I also did feel very happy at a lot of moments. I liked the strength that Noelle eventually found in herself with the help of Sharae, Simon and Julian. I also loved how brave Sharae was. She not only stands by Noelle, but she stands up for herself and what is right where a lot of girls wouldn't. I highly recommend this book to teenagers and adults. The message in this book is just so heartbreaking, but wonderful. You can overcome bullying, don't let it define you. Find your inner strength. 4 out of 5 stars

18 comments:

  1. Great review Amy! This is what's on my blog today too :) Ugh fer freaking mother huh!? I wanted to slap her so hard! I also loved Julian and Sharae she definitely needed them! I understood why she wouldn't stand up for others, though. When you can stop from being bullied even worse you just do. It's rare that people who get bullied help others in the same situation - at least I've never seen it. I know it's one of the points people often complain about in the reviews but in her situation I would have done the same. High school was hard enough for her huh!? But it's super sad, I should have seen it coming with Ali but I never really though about it so it took me off guard a bit. Anyways, It's a great emotional read for sure and I think it could really help a lot of kids going through this! I'm glad you liked it !:)

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    1. I totally get why she didn't stand up for others too, I just did want to mention it. I get that she is scared to make things worse for herself. OMG this book was so heartbreaking. I really wanted to smack the mother!!! This is definitely a book that I hope makes it's way to teenager everywhere. I think the message is amazing and it's was just such a well written book!

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  2. I really want this book! Great review doll!

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  3. OMG I think you would love it!! It's a super emotional contemporary and I know how you love your contemporary books!!!

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  4. This looks really great and I am glad that this subject matter is finding its way into YA books more and more. Wonderful review!

    Kate @Ex Libris

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    1. I agree. Its great to have issues like this in YA books.

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  5. Awww...what a nice review. I have been on a big contemp kick lately and this one is definitely on my tbr. I'm glad that the story touched you emotionally. I expect the same. I'm happy you enjoyed it.
    Great job!

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    1. I have been all about contemporary lately too. Some have been good, some not so much. I have really been wanting to read some of the books that you and Autumn have been talking about, but I have so many review books to get through. I think you will really enjoy this one.

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  6. Sounds like an emotional read! I get really angry when teachers are portrayed as not doing much in the case of bullying (I am a teacher), but then I think that sometimes realistically teachers feel like their hands are tied and aren't sure what to do themselves about the situation.

    That being said, I've heard mixed reviews on this book but your review makes me want to read it!

    Jenny

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    1. I totally get what you mean about the teachers. It's hard for them I'm sure. It's a hard line there with what they can and can't do or say. I really loved this book. I was so immersed in Noelle's story and everything going on in her life and around her. I couldn't put this book down.

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  7. After reading Camp and reading about the bullying and mothering issues that took place there, I really want to read more of that. This one sounds like a great candidate for me. Great review Amy. It's just so hard reading books like these. I love them but they are so emotional.

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    1. This is definitely a very emotional book, but very good, and has such a great message. Realistically, a lot of kids don't get their happy ending, and not saying this is a super happy ending, but at least Noelle is able to find herself and want to change how she deals with everything.

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  8. Yay, someone else who loved Keep Holding On! I thought it was such an inspiring book. It gave me a good feeling inside at the end. It was super dramatic, but in a good way. Haha. Great review!

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    1. It really was such an inspiring book. I am lucky I never had to go through any of that. It's so sad to read about it, but I love the message it sends out in the end.

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  9. I was offered an ARC of this one and, not knowing any better, I turned it down. I can't tell you how angry at myself I am now. Seriously, I had no idea (at that time) who Colosanti was, nor how awesome her books are, and since the cover did not appeal to me all that much, I just turned it down! *yes, I am ripping my hair off my head right now*
    But hey, I am so thrilled that you loved it! nothing better than a truly harrowing, emotional, thought-provoking read, eh? ;)
    Lovely, detailed, sensational review!

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    1. Thank you hon!! I love your comments. You always leave such awesome and thoughtful ones. This was a very great book. I recommend it to everyone.

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  10. Great review! I was a little hesistant about buying this one since I wasn't a big fan of Susane Colasanti's previous book but I definitely need to give this one a try now. I love contemporary lately and I really love books that are realistic. I especially like what you said about the message of this book!

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    1. I hope you love it. It was really a fantastic book!! I think this should be in every high school library.

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