cover image Keep Holding On

Keep Holding On

Susane Colasanti. Viking, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-670-01225-1

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)