Author: Susane Colasanti
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Rating: 4.5 Stars!
Chew. Swallow.Don’t look up.
Lunch is the worst, but there’s no safe place at school for Noelle. Keeping her mortifying home life a secret and trying to ignore the kids who make her life miserable are Noelle’s survival strategies. Her emotionally distant boyfriend, Matt, isn’t the one she really wants to be with. But there’s no way she could ever be with Julian Porter.When Julian starts talking to her, Noelle is terrified. It seems safer to stay with Matt than risk a broken heart. But when the bullying of a friend goes too far, Noelle realizes it’s time to stand up for herself—and for everything that makes her keep holding on.
This book broke my heart in a hundred and sixty-five different ways. It’s the first book I’ve read that’s shown the emotional and the physical effects of bullying and it really got to me.
Noelle is constantly bullied at her school. Whether it’s because of the outfit she wore that day or the sandwich she packed, there’s always this punk ass kid, Warner, there to make her feel like crap. She’d much rather avoid lunchtime humiliation and I can attest that when you have no friends in your lunch period, the bathroom seems like a good option. And that’s where Noelle finds herself, avoiding the cafeteria and eating her lettuce sammie in the girl’s room. *insert sniffle*
But then good ol’Simon Bruckner comes along! And he invites her to join the school’s literary magazine, which they’d have to work on during the lunch period. HUZZAH! An offer Noelle can’t pass up! I saw Simon as a Godsend and I think Noelle did too! He’s just this super nice kid and I personally loved him and his skinny ties! :P
Considering that Noelle bypasses the lunchroom you’d think she’d be in the clear right? Wrong. Warner wasn’t the worst of her problems, there’s also a witch named Carly. And she threatens/verbally attacks Noelle almost on a daily basis. Oh my gosh. I wanted to reach through the pages and strangle her. She was terrible.
The underlying problem for Noelle is that she’s living in this community where everyone is extremely wealthy and she’s very low class. She can’t afford healthy food, “stylish clothes” or even feminine products. She uses a crate as a nightstand, and she’s lucky if she sneaks a shower in the morning or if her laundry gets done. She’s embarrassed by all of this, so she tries to hide it from everyone, even her best friend. Oh! And she also has an absolutely horrific mother. For some reason I just can’t deal with mom’s who neglect their kids. At home, Noelle is basically invisible unless her mom wants to go off on some kind of tangent. I will not accept this. *insert chest pains*
Thank heavens for her best friend, Sherae, though! Even if it took awhile for Noelle to open up to Sherae, she eventually did. Sherae was there to pick up some of the pieces and was just a really good friend. (I very much would like to go over to her house for some chocolate cake.)
Throughout the book there’s also this adorably nice boy named Julian. *sighs* He’s the sweetest little thing. He was always giving Noelle compliments or talking to her about things she loves, and then...one night...he calls her and asks her out! Problem is, she’s sorta secretly seeing a douche-tool named, Matt. UGH. That was the suckiest relationship in the history of ever. For multiple reasons. Thank goodness it ended.
After her fall out with Matt comes a turning point the story. A scene where a couple of girls ambush Noelle at the bus stop and shoot paintballs at her. It was so painful to read. Not only because she actually got attacked but because she actually thought the guns were real. She didn’t even attempt to run. She didn’t even try to fight for her life in that moment. Giving up would’ve been easier. *insert MASSIVE tears here*
THIS POOR GIRL. I don’t want to give too much else away except that something major happens to someone Noelle knows and it kind of changes her whole perspective. She learns that she needs to stand up not only for herself but for other people who are bullied as well.
By the end of the book she also learns that keeping people at a distance isn’t the best way to live and she finally let’s Julian into her life. He is perfection. He’s passionate about the things he loves, he’s considerate of other people and he gives Noelle a second chance. HEARTS, HEARTS, HEARTS. I heart him.
Overall, Keeping Holding On is a powerful story about never giving up and learning to stand up for yourself. With loveable characters, deep-rooted issues and a bit of romance, this book packs an emotional punch! I definitely recommend it!
“I wish emotional bruises healed like physical ones.”