A romantic and empowering book about bullying
Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.
Noelle doesn't have an easy life. At school she is bullied relentlessly and her home life isn't much better. Her mother doesn't care about Noelle and neglects her. And because she has such crap she doesn't see what she's worth.
Noelle is a character that I think everyone can relate to. At some point we all feel like we aren't worth it that everyone else is better than us. And Noelle feels that way. She pushes away a guy who genuinely cares for her because she thinks she's isn't good enough for him. She is such a good person that it sucks how crappy her life is. Her mother doesn't do a thing for Noelle. She doesn't feed her and her school life isn't any better. She's constantly bullied. But it was great getting to read about Noelle's story and how she slowly starts realize that in fact she is worth it and starts to stand up for herself and everyone like her.
Julian and Noelle are one of my new favorite romances. They have such great chemistry and Julian is just so real. He cares about Noelle and he likes her for her. In fact he likes her for being different from the rest of the school full of kids to afraid to stand out. Unlike Matt, who didn't even want to be seen in public with Noelle for reasons that make him an even bigger jerk than I already thought he was. Needless to say I am harboring a major crush on Julian. He can design me my dream house any time he wants.
With the way things are today this is such an important book. I am so glad that Susane Colasanti has written it because I know that someone is going to read it and it will help them. I may not have gotten bullied terribly when I was in school but I know what it's like to feel not worth it and this book conveys such a beautiful message to not only teenagers who are being bullied but as well as those who are the bullier. It shows just what happens when a bullier pushes someone to the edge. And that is something that they need to understand. Their are consequences when you relentlessly pick on someone over and over.
Noelle and Julian aren't the only great characters in this book. Noelle's best friend is one of them and she too has a story of her own. She's dealing with things that are digging into her like nails. I'm glad that she finally came out and spoke to someone other than Noelle about it. Simon is another amazing character. He doesn't care what people think of him and his friendship with Noelle is so great. I wish I had him as a best friend he's just so fantastic singing down the halls without a care in the world.
There are a lot of tough topics in this book from bullying to a mother's neglect. It's such a powerful book that conveys such a positive message--the title says it all. Keep Holding On. Don't give up. Keep Holding On is getting 5 out of 5 birds from me. Susane Colasanti's writing gets better with each book I read. I can't get enough and I recommend anyone read this one!