Noelle hates lunch. Every single day of high school, she has been bullied, either for her limited amount of unfashionable clothes or for her insufficient lunches. It’s not Noelle’s fault that she’s one of the only poor kids in a rich kids’ school. It’s also not her fault that her mother is not much of a mom, or even much of a responsible adult. And Noelle is still being brutally bullied despite her attempts to blend in. On top of that, Noelle really likes Julian, one of the few boys who’ve never bullied her, even though she’s already someone else’s girlfriend. Noelle just wants to fit in, to be normal. But she slowly comes to realize that in order to be “normal,” she might have to learn to just be herself.
Keep Holding On is more about Noelle’s development as a character than her love life, although there’s plenty of that in the book too. I genuinely really liked Noelle as a character. She understandably began as a meek, quiet girl, and throughout the story blossoms into a self-aware young woman. She is an extremely admirable and likable character; I think that I’d really love to have her as one of my friends.
Keep Holding On is not only a great book in terms of its characters, but also in terms of its themes & the subjects it discusses. Noelle and some of her other classmates experience relentless bullying. Noelle also experiences parental neglect. I think that the author’s note & resources found in the back of the book are also a very great aspect of the book, even though they do not deal directly with the plot. If you know of someone experiencing bad emotional or physical issues or abuse/neglect and they need help, please have them look at these resources and find help.
I am very excited that Susane Colasanti is going to be at TBF this year, and I really hope I get to meet her. She has written several other books as well. Visit her on the web at http://www.susanecolasanti.com. I’m looking forward to reading her other books and reviewing them too, so stay tuned!