Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti

Posted: June 23, 2012 in abuse, bullying, friendship, neglect, School Stories

Noelle tries to keep herself invisible, from the bullies at school who make fun of her clothes, bump her in the hall and hoot over her lettuce and mayo half sandwiches made from the slim pickings at home.  Her mother only allows Noelle a room, otherwise, she is totally neglected.  She settles for whatever she can get, even boyfriends, meeting Matt clandestinely, instead of study hall, for make-out sessions.  Being blocked from walking down the aisle in Spanish by gorgeous Julian Porter, Noelle fantasizes about the perfections of his eyes, hair and build.  She can feel his smile as she sidles past him  to get to her desk.  Things could be worse, she could live the tormented life of Ali Walsh, the only one in the school bullied more than her.  Ali has invited Noelle to her home, but Noelle is afraid of increased torment if their relationship grows.  After a particularly horrible lunch scene, Noelle is invited to work on the school literary magazine that meets during lunchtime, and it really beats hiding in the restroom crouched on top of a toilet seat.  Simon, the student editor,  brings loads of food each day “for the staff.”  Another guardian angel, Sherae,  manages to help with mall runs at times of desperation.  I like the wisps of hope in the novel, and how Noelle lifts herself up on the shoulders of friends whose acts of kindness far outweigh the daily taunts.

Dealing with bullying is never easy, and Susane shares her own high school endurance race with it.  She has started a program for schools called “Your Ideal Life” which helps young adults plan for their better lives.

Susane’s Website

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