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[Book Review] - Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Title: Keep Holding On
   Author: Susane Colasanti
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: May 31st, 2012
   My Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

     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.

My Review:

     This was a first book by Colasanti, and frankly there are parts of me that I wish were more pinned down on a definite rating or feeling toward this book. Noelle wasn't what I had anticipated. While I was looking for more romance and coming of age tale I got something far different, but that's not to say it was bad. I just wasn't sure with all the differences and bouncing back and forth of Noelle, it was as believable or understanding.

     Noelle is a normal high school girl but living in a troubled life. I didnt' see it at first, but her life is more of a neglect, her mother just doesn't pay attention to her at all, and when she does it's not in the typical motherly way. Noelle pretty much fends for herself, her own laundry, food, basic funds and rent. It seems that its been going on for a while and while she doesn't have money to eat at school or if she does it's not what she is looking to eat (or what she prefers), and I will get more on that later.

     She isn't the normal poor girl though is what through me for a loop. I get that she's neglected and alone, but there is something else about the character that just seemed to raise a red flag to me. She wanted healthy food, not canned, fast food, or processed which if she was poor poor, she would have eaten anything. I don't understand, it was just a conflict of ideas and notions in the story, more trivial than anything but it was something that nagged at me throughout the book.

     Being the finicky eater that Noelle is, it raised questions, but also constant bullying. I think the bullying is mainly because they don't understand her lifestyle outside of school, which is understandable at that age. There was some bit of the torment that after a while changed her, made her fight back. The backbone she got in the book was the best coming of age section in the book. However there is something that just needs to go a few steps forward.

     Now the part that got me the most was Matt her boyfriend, that to the reader it's very very apparent that he's using her. To Noelle I can see where she may have feelings for him, but after some ot the stunts he pulls, I don't understand how or why she stays with him. It's painful to see her emotions when she finds out the truth, but at the same time there is some release in knowing she's free and maybe she can move on.

     I would like to take time to say one thing about the supporting characters. They all have a role to play in the growth of Noelle. There's the friends who buy food for her but in more indirect way, the long love interest Julian who doesn't understand what she's going through, he never really pushes her though. There is something about Julian thought that just sounded almost too good to be true. I liked the idea of Julian.

     Noelle's story while okay, wasn't what I thought I was getting myself into, and that's not bad. But overall, the story was mediocre, but the character development and characterization of all the supporting characters was pretty good. I don't want to sound too negative, more than anything this just wasn't my style of book,. I'm not saying that Colasanti is a bad writer, or can't put out a good book, for a first book by her and not being my style, I will continue to look and thumb through her novels for one I will enjoy. This book having said all of that, did make me question the 3.0 or 4.0 rating. I was on the edge of both, but the nagging hunger issue was what made the story drop.
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