There is a real lack of characters in Keep Holding On, and those there are failed to be developed. I felt like Noelle's past was crowded, but I was only getting to her about the significant parts of her life. I would have loved to learn more about Noelle's mom, who is intentionally a horrific character throughout the entire book.
Noelle's best friend, Sherae, is extremely undeveloped. Though she has a problem she needs to solve herself, there are no detailed descriptions of exactly what happened to her. Keep Holding On would have been a lot better had there been more character development.
The characters in this book are so flat that it's hard to really decide whether I like any of them. I am not a big fan of Noelle. Her crush, Julian, really likes her, but she keeps passing it off, saying she isn't good enough for him. I found her frustrating throughout the whole novel. Her tone is bitter and sarcastic, touching on situations such as people having fun around her and throwing in a comment such as "I wonder what that feels like." That gets very irritating, very fast. It feels as though Colasanti is just preaching through Noelle without giving us strong details about what's really happening.
The writing is horrible. The novel is flat and monotonous, with Colasanti writing the same way throughout the whole book. It is like seeing the world through eyes where apparently everything is terrible, but the details are masked and hidden. Keep Holding On, intending to be powerful, is just incredibly preachy and unnecessary. With all this being said, the plot isn't even original. I have read many young adult books focusing on bullying, and a lot of them have been done much better than this book.
Overall, Keep Holding On has the best of intentions, but instead of being eye-opening, it made me want to shut my eyes and close the book. With a stunning lack of detail, preachy writing, no sign of uniqueness, and one-dimensional characters, Keep Holding On is a memorable book, but not in a good way. Rather than thinking about how bullying is a huge problem that needs to be solved, after closing this book, the only things I could think about were all the productive things I could have gotten done in the two hours I wasted reading Keep Holding On.