Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Bitty Book Reviews: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
Release Date: May 31, 2012
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
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. (courtesy of Goodreads)
This is a tough book. It's about bullying, cruelty, and neglect. It is eventually uplifting, but it takes a long way to get there. It's a good book and an important one. It is hard to read though.
One thing that made it difficult for me is that I swear I have read this book before. I remembered large chunks of it. But I have no recording of reading this book, nor did I remember many other major features. I was very confused the whole time. I'm wondering if I read some major excerpts at some point...I still don't know.
A few things:
1. Noelle - Part of me wants to throttle Noelle. So many of her problems could go away if she just talked to someone. But - as often happens in real life - she doesn't. She's depressed, she's emotionally abused, she's young. Even though I kept yelling at Noelle to realize people who were using her, I understood why she didn't.
2. The villains - Matt and Noelle's mom are bad influences. Matt is a cookie-cutter gross guy taking advantage of a vulnerable guy. He is going to make a disgusting grown-up. Noelle's mom is also purely villainous in some ways. She is selfish, abusive, and neglectful. But I could also see that she had some serious mental illness problems. And that if she could get treatment, she could probably be a better person for Noelle. But I don't know that that will happen.
3. The issues - It's so hard to read about bullying. The high school kids are really cruel to Noelle. In a pretty juvenile way. It's both mental and physical bullying. And it's awful that the school doesn't jump in. Then there's disgusting Matt who should be arrested, even though it was "mutual." If not for the few positive influences in Noelle's life, this book would be almost impossible to read. It becomes overwhelming at times. But I know people have experiences like this.