Author: Susane Colasanti
Date of Publication: May 31, 2012
Formats Available: Hardcover, E-Book
Synopsis: Nolle has spent her high school days tormented by former friends and bullies, at home her mother neglects her, leaving her to make mayonnaise and mustard sandwiches for lunch. Noelle doesn't think she's good enough for anyone, especially her crush Julian. She pushes him and everyone else away as she struggles to deal with the bulling she puts up with every day. After a devastating event chances Nolles life forever she discovers that she can make a difference, with the help of her new friend Simon, editor of the schools lit mag, Nolle makes an effort to reach out to those who are struggling with the same problems she is.
In middle school I was a huge fan of Colasanti, I read and re-read all of her novels, loving each one more and more with each reading. Colasanti has a way of understanding exactly what middle school is really like and gives readers hope for a better tomorrow. While a relatively short novel, only 202 pages, Colasanti deals with the serious topics of bulling and suicide and their devastating aftershocks.
Shy and depressed, Noelle struggles with her self-esteem as she is bullied day in and day out. In the beginning of the novel she is lost and broken, slowly gaining more confidence as she spends more time with Simon. After the shocking suicide of one of her classmates Nolle first blames herself but quickly decides that she wants to make a difference. Through her writing she hopes to change the lives of everyone going through the same situations as her.
While Colasanti's message is clear; no matter how bad today is you can always make tomorrow better, the plot is a little chiche and the characters are a little stereotypical. I loved the message of this novel but I just couldn't get into the actual story. Maybe I'm just a little too old for Colastani's novels anymore but all the characters seemed to blend together and I was a little frustrated with the weakness of the plot.
Colastani encourages readers to stand up for what they believe in and to never hold back when something isn't right and recognize the signs of suicide before it's too late. Keep Holding On is a fast read that will be extremely popular with middle school students struggling to fit in and figure out who they really are.