Monday, 11 June 2012

Review: Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti



  Title: Keep Holding On
  Author: Susane Colasanti
  Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  Publication date: May 31st 2012
  Source: NetGalley
  My rating: 4 stars

  Reviewed by: Jasprit

 





Keep holding on tells the story of Noelle; who's had a tough life. Once she had the stable family lifestyle; a big house in a nice neighbourhood, she could invite her friends over when she wanted, a mother and a boyfriend who loved her, friends who wanted to know her and her mother was happy. But suddenly things spiralled out of control, due to unexpected circumstances, her and her mother were forced into a dingy apartment with hardly any money, and just had to live off what they could scrape by. The once respected and approachable mother now no-one wants to know, so she retreated into her inner shell, leaving Noelle to do everything for herself. This is when the bullying starts, having to fend for herself; doing the laundry, and barely having anything to eat, her former friends turn their back on her and the endless teasing and mocking begins.
Keeping Holing On was such a heart breaking read, the second half of the book actually took me longer to finish off compared to the first half because of the amount of times I had to stop to wipe away my tears streaming down my face, so I could read properly and then to constantly clear my kindle with all the tears dripping off on to it. If I were in Noelle’s shoes I know for sure I would not have been able to stick it out, day in day out she turned up to school, and tried to hold the facade that her bullies weren’t getting to her. And then go home and deal with the crap from her mother; her constant ranting of being a single mother, having to provide for her and Noelle, so they could have a roof over her head, she made me so mad, I’ve come across some abysmal mothers in YA reads recently but Noelle’s mother quickly made her way to the top of my list. She was so wrapped up in her own little self-centred world, that not once did she realise what was going on in front of her. You could say that the biggest trigger of Noelle being bullied was because of her mother’s lack of love, support and her attitude. She wouldn’t let her have her showers in the morning because it would wake her up and she could only get up at a certain time, (thus came the nick-name rotten egg) she wouldn’t drop her off to school if she was late (so she would turn up in a flustered, dishevelled state). Which mother could do that? At times she was so heartless, that I personally felt she had no right to call herself Noelle’s mother in the first place.
Sherae; Noelle’s friend was such a strong pillar of support. I truly admired her character, she had her own problems to deal with, but she was always there for Noelle, encouraging her to stand up for herself, comforting her when it all got too much and her small unexpected gestures truly sneaked their way into my heart. Everyone needs a best friend like Sherae.
Once I read the blurb, you’re given a hint into a major event that happens in the book, but even though you know about it, nothing can actually prepare you for it when it actually happens. I just can’t bring to words just how much I was affected by it, or the entire book for that matter. This book keeps you constantly questioning yourself afterwards with endless what ifs, what if I’d done something different that day or actually listened to her for once. But the what ifs can never bring a person back once they’ve gone, or the endless hurt created over time.
Keep Holding On was a poignant heart wrenching read that brings to the surface how bullying is still a major issue today; it can truly affect individuals so much that they see only one possible way out. But with the right support and encouragement in place you can bring a stop to the hateful bullying. I think Colasanti did a fantastic job with Keep Holding On, she didn’t end everything with a pretty little bow, but with a reasonable ending. You should have seen my kindle by the time I finished this book, literally half of it was highlighted with beautiful achy quotes. Despite the sensitive subject matter, I plunged into Colasanti’s book and formed such a close relationship with Noelle, her words kept me mesmerised until the early hours of the morning until I finally went to sleep with big puffy eyes.
I truly recommend that you read Keep Holding On. It’s a breath taking moving book, that will keep you thinking about it for days afterwards.
A big thank you to NetGalley and Penguin group for giving me this amazing opportunity to read this one of a kind book.
I’ll end this review by leaving you with some of Colasanti’s reasons behind writing this book (taken from Susane Colasanti’s Keep Holding On twitter chat).
“It felt good to write about the things that made me so sad 20 years ago in Keep Holding On. And happy that the book could help others now”
“Writing the scenes in Keep Holding on that were inspired by my actual experiences was my way of turning negative into positive”
“My favourite thing about writing is the opportunity to reach out to teens and hopefully make them feel less alone”
“Inspiration comes from everywhere. My own experiences with being bullied inspired me into write Keep Holding On. Some actual stuff is included”.

18 comments:

  1. I keep hearing about how emotional this book is and I wonder if I want to go through the book. After reading your review, I'm convinced that this book is fabulous and the fact that you actually cried while reading says a lot about the story. It must be a good one if it managed to extract emotions from you.
    Shane seems like a wonderful friend. It's great that the main character, Noelle, actually has someone to support her.
    The mother sounds horrible though!
    I really need to get to the book soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jasprit.
    As usual, this was a beautiful review.

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    1. Thanks Nick. I hope you get the chance to read this soon! Look forward to hearing your thoughts! :)

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  2. Gorgeous review, Jasprit! This sounds like such an emotional read. I'm sure not if I'd be up for reading it at the moment but I'll definitely think about it in the future!

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  3. I only read one book by Colasanti and there was nothing heartbreaking about it so I don't know how she handles strong emotions, but, considering your reaction, I'd say she's talented in that department as well.
    I'll definitely give this book a chance since I enjoyed When It Happens more than I can say.
    Lovely review as usual, Jasprit!

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  4. I just love this review. This one sounds like a rollercoaster of emotion, and I love the author, as it is. I'll definitely have to add this to my TBR.

    Great thoughts! I'm your newest follower :)

    (I found you through Jenny at Supernatural Snark)

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  5. Susane Colasanti is one of the most amazing and remarkable authors ever. Wonderful Review Jasprit! I haven't had a chance to read Susane's latest work but i definitely want to read Keep Holding On now! I completely feel how amazing and thought-provoking this book is through your review Jaspirt! This book sounds like it definitely needs to be read.
    Marvelous review!

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  6. "Keeping Holing On was such a heart breaking read, the second half of the book actually took me longer to finish off compared to the first half because of the amount of times I had to stop to wipe away my tears streaming down my face"

    Oh man Jasprit. I both love and hate these types of books! I love them of course because I love to be emotionally involved, but I hate them because they rip my heart out and stomp on it. Still, I'm a glutton for punishment, so I will absolutely be picking this book up:) Thanks for the review, this one is completely new to me and is now at the top of the must-read pile!

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    1. Yay! I'm usually a complete mess after finishing emotional books, but once I started this one I just couldn't stop reading! Can't wait to see what you think! :)

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  7. You recommend a contemporary, I rush to find a copy -- always! I literally just paused to put a request on this one at my library because it sounds like such a beautiful contemporary! The fact that you were crying a lot during the second half of this book is making me anxious to start. (I promise I will have my tissues ready!) This is going to be my first Susane Colasanti book, but it already sounds like one of her best! :)

    Beautiful review, J! Oh gosh, I can't wait to read this one! <3

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  8. So glad you liked this one Jasprit. I really want to read it! Great review. Donna xoxo

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  9. I've never read anything by this author before but from what I've heard about this book in particular, it looks like I will have to change that! This sounds like a brilliantly moving book. Don't you just love it when a story draws a proper emotional response from you? Even if that does mean heartbreak and tears... ;) Lovely review!

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    1. Yes Sam they are definitely the best books, especially when I feel such a connection with characters, that makes me love a book even more! :)

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  10. I have Susan Colasanti's When It Happens but haven't got the time to read it but I've heard lots of good things about it. And now seeing how much this another book of hers moved you I'm starting to think to check out more of her books. Lovely review, Jasprit. I love how you describe this book and how it affected you so much. :)

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    1. Aww thanks Eunice this was one review that took me so long, as I didn't know how to get all my different thoughts and feelings down! I hope you get the chance to get around to a Colasanti book soon! :)

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  11. Wow fantabulous review, Jasprit!! I really want to read this book!! First Giselle was raving about it, and now you too?? Good golly gosh I MUST HAVE THIS. :) The topic is so sensitive, though, and really hits home, so I might be a bit hesitant, but I know that my curiosity and love of reading will make me pick it up. :P

    “My favourite thing about writing is the opportunity to reach out to teens and hopefully make them feel less alone”
    “Inspiration comes from everywhere. My own experiences with being bullied inspired me into write Keep Holding On. Some actual stuff is included”.

    Wow I really love this author!!! What a brilliant, sweet and amazing person she is!!! :') And the fact that she used her own experiences with bullying and turned them into such a great book is so inspiring and i am just in total awe of her right now. :') Amazing review, Jasprit!! <3

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  12. I've been hearing fantastic things about this novel, but you are the one who finally convinced me to add this to my to- read list. :) Excellent review-- not that I expected any less of you, of course!

    On a side note, does the cover relate to the contents inside the book? I was wondering since your review didn't mention anything about a romance...

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  13. Aww thanks Leanne! Your reviews rock too! There is sort of a romance in the book between the mc and a guy from school, I did like it, it definitely helped to lighten the mood, when there were some tough scenes to deal with.

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  14. This review comes to me today after I heard a heartbreaking story about a twelve year old here in portland who was tied up and thrown into the bushes off the highway. What kind of kids do that and at twelve? This bullying needs to stop. I want to read this book just to learn more about bullying.... It sounds so heartbreaking and devastating. Obviously it got to you! Thanks for sharing, Jasprit!

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