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Keep Holding On

Keep Holding On - Susane Colasanti My Rating: 3.0 When I first heard Susane Colasanti, one of my favorite authors ever since I've read When It Happens, had a new book coming out, I was ecstatic. Then I heard that it was titled Keep Holding On, and I'm like, isn't that a song? When I finally got my hands on the book, I'm like: this must be the smallest hardcover book I ever got my hands on. However, for such a small book, Keep Holding On talks about a tough subject. Keep Holding On is about bullying. Noelle is bullied everyday because she doesn't have the same luxuries the rich kids in her school has. Her mother neglects her horribly - Noelle is half starving all the time, has to do her own laundry, and the money she earns is taken from her by her mother to pay the rent. Noelle's boyfriend, Matt, turns out to be not at all what Noelle thinks he is, and she's too scared to go out with Julian, a guy who happens to like her back. Thank god Noelle has one true friend she can always count on, Sherae, who is also dealing with her own personal problem. I remembered when I was bullied. It was one of the worst times of my life and I dreaded every minute I was in school. Sure, I always fought back in my own way, but it was never enough. I know what it's like to sit alone at lunch and walk in the halls by yourself, dreading the moment when everyone looks at you. I know how it feels to be in Noelle's situation. That's probably the reason why I seriously admire Sherae, Noelle's best friend. Even though Noelle is completely different from Sherae and has been hiding secrets from her, Sherae just sucks it up and helps Noelle out instead of joining the other group of Pretty Popular Girls and bullying her. Sherae honestly cares and it shows through her actions. I didn't really get the ending in Keep Holding On. It just doesn't make sense. Someone did something horrible (Ali committed suicide), and just like that Noelle decided to change. The bullies didn't really bother her after that and there's no real confrontation with them. That just doesn't seem believable to me. I was expecting this huge confrontation, but no, the problem is just suddenly solved. I wasn't sure whether to characterize this book as romance or not because for me, the romance took a backseat in the plot. Noelle crushes on Julian, and when he asks her out, she rejects him for several reasons, mainly because they are different. Things happen, and at the end of the book, when Noelle decides to give their relationship a chance, Julian and Noelle starts dating. Overall, this book is worth the read, but doesn't 100% satisfy me like how When It Happens does. Keep Holding On didn't make me cry, it just made me angry on how life can be so cruel to some people. I appreciate Susane Colasanti for writing a book on such a hard topic and for actually caring. Like she says in her dedication page, "You are not alone." ohdamnbooks: keep holding on