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Keep Holding On

Keep Holding On

4.2 80
by Susane Colasanti

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An honest romance and an 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


An honest romance and an 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A fast read that will give readers plenty to think about and a list of resources to tap into if they need them.”—Publishers Weekly

“Noelle's journey from victim to victor . . .  is an important story for anyone who has felt the sting of their peers' cruelty.”—VOYA

“Emotionally satisfying from beginning to end.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This novel could be recommended to those who enjoyed Sonya Sones's What My Mother Doesn't Know or Courtney Summers's Some Girls Are.”—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
High school junior Noelle is growing up in poverty with a neglectful mother. At school she is the target of bullies who tease her about her sad lunches, corner her in the bathroom, and even shoot her with paintballs. She has even considered suicide, but after another school outcast does kill herself, Noelle realizes, “I can make a choice to do more than just survive. Which is why I’m going to start shaping my life into the one I want.” With the help of a support network that includes a best friend who has her own problems, an artistic new boyfriend, and a teacher, she begins to do just that. The topic of bullying is perennially timely, but Colasanti’s (Waiting for You) characters are rather two-dimensional, particularly Noelle’s too cruel mother and overly perfect friends. Likewise, Noelle’s transition from outcast to advocate, while inspiring, is perhaps too sudden. Even so, this is a fast read that will give readers plenty to think about and a list of resources to tap into if they need them. Ages 14–up. Agent: Gillian MacKenzie, Gillian MacKenzie Agency. (June)
VOYA - Sarah Phillips
Noelle's life is realistic; she is bullied, has no friends, little food, and a neglectful, single mother. Noelle has no self-confidence and dreads life. She realizes that by making wise choices and standing up for herself, life improves. From the cover and summary, it seemed this book would be trivial, but it was enjoyable. Teens who know what it is like to not fit in will related to this story. Many teenagers will be inspired and moved by Noelle. Reviewer: Sarah Phillips, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Debbie Wenk
Sixteen-year-old Noelle's life is bleak. She has a single mom who is too self-involved and mired in her own misery to even bother keeping food on hand. Noelle is the target of two bullies at her high school, and her boyfriend, Matt, is "not ready" to go public with their relationship, content to just make out while skipping study hall. Each day at school is an endurance test—trying to ignore the taunts of her tormentors—as is life at home, wondering if there will be food for dinner or something for her lunch sandwich besides mustard and mayonnaise. Graduation is the brass ring she hangs onto in order to get through each miserable day. Noelle's situation will resonate with teen readers. Her struggles are those of real teens—trying to fit in, feeling left out, searching for love, making hard choices. Readers will feel her despair, but will also detect her inner strength. It is that strength which finally brings about changes in Noelle's life after the suicide of another of the bullies' victims. A side story of Noelle's best friend, Sherae's, date rape is told without graphic descriptions and highlights another kind of victimization. Sherae finds the courage to tell her story after she witnesses Noelle's transformation. Noelle's journey from victim to victor, while a tad too facile, is an important story for anyone who has felt the sting of their peers' cruelty. The author's note offers encouragement plus a list of organizations to which teens can turn for help is included. Reviewer: Debbie Wenk
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Inspired by the author's personal experiences with bullying, this novel encourages readers to "never, ever give up." Noelle's life is bad; her mother drinks and her neglect goes unchecked. The teen eats mustard and mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch, and the smell from her unwashed clothes earns her the nickname "Rotten Egg." Her position as coeditor of the school literary magazine and the company of her science teacher and friends help alleviate her misery. Noelle eventually begins to accept aid from the people who care about her. When incredibly cute Julian shows interest, Noelle has to find the courage to change her life. This includes ending a destructive relationship and opening up about what she endures at home. When the school social worker brings Noelle's mother in for questioning, the story begins to fall apart. The woman hints at remorse, yet remains deranged. The friends take over, supplying Noelle with all she needs, including clean clothes, food, and love. It's not a horrible ending, only one that might seem illusionary to students enduring bullying and abuse in real life. Colasanti's mission to help victims and encourage teens to make a positive difference in the world is clear from her letter to readers and the back matter, which includes a list of resources. This novel could be recommended to those who enjoyed Sonya Sones's What My Mother Doesn't Know (S & S, 2001) or Courtney Summers's Some Girls Are (St. Martin's, 2010).—Pamela Schembri, Newburgh Enlarged City Schools, NY
Kirkus Reviews
If Noelle can just hold on until graduation, she might finally escape the school bullies and her neglectful mother. But when the bullying goes too far, she must choose whether to run away or finally stand up for herself. Caught between her miserable existence at school and a home life that is at best impoverished and at worst abusive, Noelle believes if she can just keep her head down, she can escape to the city, where her life will really begin. Unfortunately, the brutal bullying, her mother's refusal to buy food and a boyfriend who only wants to make out in secret are making it hard for her to stay hopeful. When she is offered a position on the lit mag and her crush, funky Julian Porter, asks her out, Noelle wants to believe that things are finally turning around. Then one of their classmates commits suicide, and Noelle is determined to make sure everyone knows the truth. The familiar story of bullying is elevated by Colasanti's smart dialogue, quirky characters and richly layered plot. Readers will engage intellectually and emotionally with each character, and the countdown toward graduation that marks every chapter heightens Noelle's desperation to escape. The high level of craft in the writing even makes the cloying and overly earnest ending forgivable. Emotionally satisfying from beginning to end. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti:

"[Keep Holding On] ... will give readers plenty to think about and a list of resources to tap into if they need them." —Publishers Weekly

"...smart dialogue, quirky characters and richly layered plot. Emotionally satisfying from beginning to end." —Kirkus

"Noelle's situation will resonate with teen readers. Her struggles are those of real teens—trying to fit in, feeling left out, searching for love, making hard choices." —VOYA

"This novel could be recommended to those who enjoyed Sonya Sones's What My Mother Doesn't Know (S & S, 2001) or Courtney Summers's Some Girls Are (St. Martin's, 2010)." —School Library Journal

Meet the Author

From the author:

When I was a teen, I would have been mortified to admit that I was being bullied at school. My junior high and high school years were the worst time of my life. Kids picked on me for being a science nerd. They picked on me for not wearing the expensive sweaters and jeans everyone else had. They picked on me for doing weird things like writing song lyrics on my sneakers (this was back in the day before writing on your sneakers was cool). I was embarrassed by all the ways I didn't fit in.

I am not embarrassed anymore.

Writing Keep Holding On was my way of turning a negative experience into something positive. I want this book to reach out to teens who are going through hard times. I want this book to help people feel less alone. And hopefully, this story will encourage readers in need to keep holding on.

Susane Colasanti is the bestselling author of When It Happens, Take Me There, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, So Much Closer, Keep Holding On, All I Need, and Now and Forever. Susane has a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from New York University. Before becoming a full-time author, Susane was a high school science teacher for ten years. She lives in New York City.

Connect with Susane at SusaneColasanti.com and follow her on Twitter @SusaneColasanti

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Keep Holding On 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 80 reviews.
Amabe421 More than 1 year ago
This book was just beautiful. It was sad, but really uplifting too. It is a touching and emotional story about overcoming bullying. I don't even know where to start with this review or even where to go with it really. I have been reading much more contemporary lately, but I still find it hard for me personally to review. This book broke my heart, but also made me smile. It's definitely a very emotionally draining book to read if you are a sympathetic reader. Noelle is one of those characters you just really ache for. At some times I did feel a bit angry at her, but I totally understand why she did or didn't do certain things. High school is rough and it's a shame that she was embarrassed, but the fault really lies on her mother. It's sickening that her mother just kind of gives up and Noelle is basically trying to take care of herself. He mom is embarrassing, she is ashamed that she is poor and has nothing. I remember how horrible some kids can be to the people who didn't have as much. She isn't the only one getting picked on, but what is sad is that she is too ashamed to even hang out with another girl who is being bullied too. She is afraid that it will make things worse for her. She keeps saying how she wishes that people would do something, stand up for others, whatever, but then she won't do it either. I loved Julian. He is such a great character. He is plenty well off, but he doesn't act all high and mighty like the other kids do. He isn't ashamed to talk to people who get picked on, or stand up for them. He doesn't feel the need to be in the cool crowd. He like Noelle because of who she is, not because of what she has, or more accurately, doesn't have. There needs to be more Julian's in this world. He is a good example of how people should treat each other and act. Is he perfect, no. Nobody is perfect, but he is pretty close. The bullies made me so angry, but besides them, the teachers and others made me angry too. Like, how can the teachers just stand by and let people be treated so badly. Warren I totally wanted to punch in the face...repeatedly. And Carly too! Ugh! Just the things that they do and say it so horribly sad. They treat people however they want, throw food at people, push them verbally attack them, I could go on and on. My heart was aching through so much of this book. I loved that Noelle still had a good friend to stick with her through things. Sharae was really awesome and always reassured Noelle that she was a great person. Noelle had still hid a lot of stuff from Sharae, but her are Sharae have a great heart to heard and tell each other about the secrets they have been hiding and how they feel. Sharae has her own issues in this book to that are very serious too. This book was just very real. I have seen these things happen for real. This book brought out a lot of my emotions, mostly anger, anguish, and disappointment. So many of the characters really, really disappointed me, but that's realistically how it is. I also did feel very happy at a lot of moments. I liked the strength that Noelle eventually found in herself with the help of Sharae, Simon and Julian. I also loved how brave Sharae was. She not only stands by Noelle, but she stands up for herself and what is right where a lot of girls wouldn't. I highly recommend this book to teenagers and adults. The message in this book is just so heartbreaking, but wonderful. You can overcome bullying, don't let it define you. Find your inner strength.
desert_warrior13 More than 1 year ago
it took me a while to finally decide to buy this book. Considering I'm a 17 year old guy it didn't really catch my attention at first. After reading more about it, i came to the conclusion that it would be worth the money. It definitely was. Like Amabe421 said in her review, this book will break you down if you're a sympathetic reader. i found myself on the verge of tears throughout half of the book, and the other half teansing every muscle in my body ready to throw the book across the room because of how angry some of the characters made me. although this book is very emotional from a negative aspect, all of that energy is then focused on creating an inpspirational thought process from the main characters point of view. this positive thinking that Noelle later gets a hold of changes her life for the better, as well as the lives of those around her. she goes from a poor, rejected loser and bully victim to a courageous girl who learns to make the best out of her life. This book tought me so much on how important it is to make every second count and enjoy life with the ones you love, and how there is always hope no matter how bad your situation is - life will always get better. It also tought me that there is ALWAYS something to eat in the pantry and fridge. This is a must read for EVERY teen whether you have been bullied or not. it will teach you how valuble life is and how to not let a barricade(s) completely block you from your hopes and dreams. Defintely one of the best books I've ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was good the first tike i read it, but when i tried to read it again it was so sad i just couldnt get past chapter 4
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
A heartbreaking and moving read, Keep Holding On deals with the all-too-current topic of bullying. Though at times it seemed to go just a bit over the top, overall it was a book that can definitely give hope to all those teens out there who feel that they just don't fit in (and really, isn't that just about every teen, at one time or another?). For adults, it's a disturbing and eye-opening look at what really goes on in the world today--just in case they've forgotten junior high and high school, or somehow went through them both with complete blinders on. Although most of what Noelle faces daily is "real world" bullying, technologically-enhanced bullying is touched on briefly in the book as well, and Colasanti provides readers with a wealth of resources at the end of the novel where they can go to get help or at least feel like someone else out there understands what they're going through too. Susane ends the book with a personal message--that she too was bullied, and that there is a point in one's life where most of us really do come to find that we really don't want to be just like everyone else and that our differences are to be celebrated, not hidden. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't happen until after high school--all those adults who try to tell you that high school years are the best of your life are for the most part dead wrong. I think this book can do a great job of reaching its target audience, and am definitely planning on adding it to my classroom library for next September.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No offense, but this is for REVIEWS. Not effin summaries. We will read the author's summary to find out what it's about. Or maybe even...the book?! Yeah, this book was fascinating. A wonderful read. But ya'll are starting to piss me off, k?
Falln2books More than 1 year ago
This is a difficult review for me to write because I feel strongly about bullying in schools. I feel that there is no excuse for it and it needs to be stopped. It's one of the most disgusting things one human can do to another, in my humble opinion. I also feel that it is important to talk about the bullying problems in schools and open up a dialogue in order to solve the problem, and Colasanti is attempting to do just that. For that reason and that reason alone, I am giving this book a higher rating than I would have otherwise. I did not like the narrator/main character, Noelle, and Colasanti did a lot of telling instead of showing. Furthermore, there are many inconsistencies between the picture that Colasanti is trying to paint and what seems to be the reality of the situation. Noelle is bullied because she is supposedly extremely poor. However, I've seen people who were extremely poor, and they aren't too proud to take a free lunch because that's the only meal they'll be getting that day. They would not turn down a free meal that they are qualified for because it would embarrass them to eat it. They are more focused on survival than what other people think. On the weekends, these people are unable to eat anything again until they get to school to get their free lunches. THAT is the poverty that Colasanti seemed to be hinting at, but Noelle's actions and words were in stark contrast with that. Noelle wasn't as bad off as she thought she was, in my opinion. At least not with the money issue. She was poor, yes, but she was not impoverished. There is a difference. Also, Noelle makes fun of a teacher for wearing the same pair of pants twice and on a schedule, however she's supposedly so poor that she doesn't have enough clothes to wear either. Hypocritical much? Then when she sees others get bullied, she turns the other cheek, yet she complains with others do the same to her. Seriously, do unto others and all that, Noelle. Look into it. My biggest pet peeve about this whole novel was the fact that Colasanti doesn't show us anything. I couldn't relate to Noelle, and this was a first person narration. I did not feel what she was feeling. Furthermore, I couldn't "see" what was going on. Noelle just told the reader what she wanted them to know. Considering how I feel about Noelle's character, I obviously didn't trust what she told me very much. Needless to say, if Colasanti had shown instead of told and Noelle had been a likable character, I would have enjoyed this book much more. Regardless of my irritations with this novel, the message in Keep Holding On is extremely important. It lets people know how people who are bullied feel. I doubt bullies are the most empathetic people in the world, but I think that addressing a problem and opening up a dialogue about it are the first two steps in solving it, and at least Colasanti did that. If nothing else, this novel should be read simply for the anti-bullying message that it portrays. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who is strongly opposed to bullying, but I would suggest checking it out from the library before buying it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was pure AWESOME. I seriously love susane colasanti! I cried, laughed, and sang my heart out to this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so touching. I felt like the author wrote this book amazingly. It was something that people can relate to. Noelle is bullied. Every single day she wishes her life was better. She is neglacyed by her mother. Every single day there isnt enough food. She so hungry in class her stomach is always growling. Her mom never talks to her like a real mother should. All her mom does is complain about how Noelle ruined her life just by being born. Her mom was a pregnat teen. Her best friend is the only person she talks to and she doesnt even tell her everything. Her crush starts paying attention to her. But all she does is push him away. She thinks she's not good enough. This book reveals the struggles of her life. They show how things get better no matter how much you get bullies. I recomend this for anyone who is bullies. It will really help you get through all the bullying. Bullying is an issue around the world. So just know you are not alone amd things WILL get better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg i love this book so so so much you have to read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am one of susane's biggest fans! Ever since i read something like fate she has become my favorite author!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the best i rwad it like 10 times already!!! Everyone should read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keep Holding On is well written. Emotionally, it takes a toll on your heart. The story isn’t for a day at the beach. But, it’s highly recommended. Susane Colasanti does an excellent job of relating to the intended young adult audience. KHO tells the story of a high school girl, Noelle, who’s struggling to fit in and find acceptance. She is constantly bullied because of her low household income. Often times, I found myself screaming at the bully’s words on the page. It has that type of effect on you, whether you’ve been bullied or not. Mutual respect for other human beings calls for outrage for destroying lives.  Luckily, when Noelle was kicked AFTER being knocked down, she had moral support from her best friend, Sherae. Sherae is almost essential to Noelle’s salvation (unlike her neglectful mother). Every one deserves a Sherae. Then, there’s Julian, the typical rich popular  boy with a heart of gold. I wish I saw more of their romantic relationship. He doesn’t care that Noelle is poor. He doesn’t see her as a loser. He sees her as a sweet, gentle person with a lot to give. I love that he wants to take care of him. As much as I adore the supportive  architect, I wish I could manifest Simon! He’s confident, intelligent, well-dressed, and a good friend.  Every chapter of KHO is interesting. I read it in just over 3 hours and could not put it down. Still, there are times when you get upset  because it takes quite a while for the physical and emotional abuse to stop. It’s tragic, really. This is both impactful and a serious eye-opener. To think that things can get this bad or worse is heart-breaking. The connection that Colasanti to her story is evident. She speaks from the heart and experience.  I have a few problems with the book. The first is with the summary on the book jacket. By mid-mark, Warner and Matt are somewhat  irrelevant. It should mention Carly as her tormentor. It exaggerates the term “friend” for Ali.  The second is the loose ends. Carly just walks off without being punished? Do Simon and Sherae get together? Does Noelle still stay with her mother or does she rely on Julian? I’m the type of reader who’s always looking for an epilogue. Overall, this is a quick read with a nice flow. I encourage others to read to find themselves in it! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. It tells of how an outsiders life is and how people feel bout themselves. Bullying is something that needs to be stopped. This book had had me stronger and made me see that no matter the bad that had happened or is going on in your life that hope,love, and friendship is always there and will help make you stronger. All the pain makes you stronger,therefore your still standing. That is how this awesome book made me feel. Read this amazing book "Keep Going On".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WoW! This book is a great read. From begining to end it had me hooked. I loved the charecters and how the heroine stayed strong. DONT GIVE IN TO THE ABUSE! like...who cares what ppl think. Its your life...do you like it? If not change. :)
HippoHero18 More than 1 year ago
I really like this book because it addresses the subject of bullying with grace. It has had a huge impact on me and helped me open up about my own bullying experiences. If you have ever been bullied or known someone who was bullied I suggest you read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my last book from susan ! CANT WAIT !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i luved this book. its sad and made me cry at.parts
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
This story is really good. I mean so good, that I want to re-read it again. What I adore most about this book is how great the issue of bullying is written. The reader meets Noelle, a young girl who has been bullied for a long time. Builled by not only her peers but by her mothers. I adore the tough life that is painted out for the reader. Noelle is poor, in a single parent home and doing her best to survive and get the heck out of there. I loved her ambition to work, save money and go somewhere, where she is not a prisoner. The love interest in this book is exactly what I wanted. Nothing to fast, but a slow friendship that forms with trust and then love. I like that Noelle trust is hard to earn. He gave her the space that she needed and is there as a friend when the time came. The plot wholy captured me. I adore reading each new plot twist as well as the build up to Noelle buring strenght that she has gathered all these years. To finally stand up for herself. *fist pump* That part totally felt good. Like "Booyah! In your face" good. Keep Holding On paints a dark image of what bullying is like. It's not something pretty or documented with facts. It's raw and edgy with hope that anyone can hold on to. Masterfully written with a dark tale turned beautiful, this book you will need to read.
azkashaykh More than 1 year ago
incredible piece of work. simply awesome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book portrays a life in high school that luckily not every one has to face. But the pride and courage shown my noelle is one everyone should want. Colisanti did a great job showing the true world of high school without becoming fake. This is a must read for any hopeless romantic or bully hater.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing and it really touches me everytime i read it. Its amazing, it really is. It helped me through some things ad brought tears to my eyes at the end. A definate read. (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes or no
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book opened my eyes even more. I always knew kids get bullied so much they wantto kill themselves or they actually do. I cried with this book because the emotion was so powerful. Sometimes people just need someone to be there for them when no one will. This book is an inspiration and an eye opener. I tecommed this book to anyone because we can help stop the bullying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You spelled beautiful wrong. -bookworm14
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its like my life