Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti is a novel that begins with much potential, but falls flat by the end. Noelle is a junior in high school whose only goal is to survive the year. Her mother neglects her and her classmates torment her.
She has no idea what to think when Julian Porter, her crush, starts paying attention to her. She thinks it's better to be safe than sorry, but when bullying by a fellow classmate takes a turn for the worst, Noelle realizes that she has to finally stand up for herself and try to make the best out of life.
I was very disappointed in this novel. When I picked it up, I realized that the plot was not remotely original, so I was hoping that the characters and the overall message would make up for it.
Readers can tell they have read an amazing book if they can dwell on the themes and ideas of the novel for hours. Keep Holding On had the potential to be not only fantastic, but life-changing for some readers. It had the chance for readers to close the novel and have a completely different view on bullying, a problem that has plagued society for hundreds of years.
It had a chance to be an eye-opener for many teenagers looking for a solution to their bullying experiences. Was it? Unfortunately, Keep Holding On did not create that effect for me.
Keep Holding On jumps right into the plot, giving the reader little background information on Noelle and how she came to be in her position. The story starts with Noelle finding lunch especially painful, because there is no one for her to sit with. A little bit later, the reader finds out that Noelle does in fact have a best friend, Sherae.
The whole time I was reading this book I was wondering why Noelle didn't sit with her best friend at lunch; Colasanti never answered my question. The story gets repetitive after a while, but eventually it becomes extremely depressing. The reader just kind of wants to see things get better, and it's a relief when they finally do.
I was expecting the climax and ending of this story to be a little more revolutionary. I was hoping for not only Noelle's problem with bullying to be solved, but the school's problem with bullying to finally come to a close. I was wanting her to stand up for herself on a school level, but instead she stood up for herself on a personal level. I suppose I was just hoping for her to make a big change in her school. The ending suggested Noelle would start believing in herself and becoming her own person. I wish Keep Holding On would have touched upon that a little more.