keep holding on synopsis

Thanks so much for all of your kind words and excitement about the cover of Keep Holding On! Several of you have even said that this is your fave cover. The thing I love most about it is the girl’s purple Converse. My main character, Noelle, writes all over her sneakers the way I used to in high school. I’m happy the designer was able to add some drawing to her Converse.

I posted a bit about my inspiration for the book here. This one is a bit different for me. The story involves soul mates as usual, but Keep Holding On focuses on the consequences of bullying. So it has a more serious tone than my other books. This story was inspired by my own experiences with bullying. I was a total outsider in junior high and high school. I wrote about some really embarrassing things that I would have been mortified to admit back then. Some of the things that happened to me were so humiliating that I’ve only recently started talking about them to friends who’ve known me for many years.

The thing is, I’m not embarrassed anymore. If those things happened to me, they’re happening to other people right now. Which means it’s time to speak up.

I’ll be sharing a lot more about this book and how it was influenced by my own story. For now, here’s the official synopsis of Keep Holding On:

Chew.
Swallow.
Chew.
Swallow.
Don’t look up.

Lunch is the worst, but there’s no safe place at school for Noelle. Keeping her mortifying home life a secret and trying to ignore the kids who make her life miserable are Noelle’s survival strategies. Her emotionally distant boyfriend, Matt, isn’t the one she really wants to be with. But she’s sure there’s no way she could ever be with Julian Porter.

When Julian starts talking to her, Noelle is terrified. It seems safer to stay with Matt than risk a broken heart. But when the bullying of a friend goes too far, Noelle realizes it’s time to stand up for herself—and for everything that makes her keep holding on.

I know how it feels to be relentlessly tormented. I know how it feels to constantly be anxious at school and at home, to feel like you’ll never fit in, like no one will ever understand you. And like you will never find someone who will love you. Writing Keep Holding On was my way of turning a negative experience into something positive.

I want this book to reach out to teens in need. I want this book to help people feel less alone. If it does, then everything I endured will have been worth it.

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29 thoughts on “keep holding on synopsis

  1. I was bullied in 7th and 8th grade too. Now I’m 26 and I work at a junior high school. I try to help kids so they don’t have to go through what I went through. I can’t wait to read your book. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story with those who need to hear it!

  2. Count me among the formerly-bullied. Well-meaning adults told me it would get better, and it did, but that didn’t make it any easier to endure at the time. Sounds like a fantastic book and I can’t wait to read it.

    • The getting better thing is exactly my point. I want to motivate teens to find ways to make their lives better RIGHT NOW. That’s the focus of my school presentation and, hopefully, a point in this book that will inspire change.

  3. I honestly can’t wait to read this! I’m a freshman in high school right now and your books are always easy for me to relate to. I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait until June for this book to come out, thank you for continuing to write increasingly amazing novels. You’re such an inspiration!

  4. After getting through the whole self conscious and always nervous years of adolescents, you realize now how vital they were. You kind of learn to embrace it. Really what got me through them were books, yours especially. They were just my safety net, and I will be forever grateful for having them.

  5. This sounds like a powerful story, and I can’t wait to read it! I love that you’re sending out the message to readers that they aren’t alone and that it gets better. Such an important message now more than ever.

    I, too, love the girl’s purple Converses. I bought a pair of purple Converses many years ago (in high school or college), and I still have them and wear them to this day. Converse All Stars will always have a special place in my heart (even though they’re not the most comfy of shoes).

    • That’s the thing about Converse – they look awesome, they feel horrible. I wore Converse exclusively in college (my purple ones were the most trashed by far) and they always made my feet hurt. But I didn’t care because they were all I wanted to wear. Even with dresses. Hey, it was the 90s. We had no style.

  6. i freaked out when i saw the cover!
    and i was briefly bullied in middle school. it didn’t last long, but it still hurt a lot. and i don’t know, just remembering it……ugh ew. i dreaded school. I’m really excited for KEEP HOLDING ON because 1) it’s by YOU and 2) so i have something to pass on to my younger cousins who just moved schools. phoebe, the younger of the two, is having a tough time. thank you, susane!
    and ack! i have no idea where i’ve been all this time (i blame school) but at least i have old posts to read! i missed your blog!

    • Welcome back! I hope Keep Holding On can make Phoebe feel a little better. Being the new kid is really hard. But by June she won’t be the new kid anymore and will hopefully be doing a lot better 🙂

  7. Sounds really great…Can’t Wait. I had a home life that I couldn’t talk about in High School because I was embarrased and felt very alone. I wasn’t bullied, THANK GOD, I had a great group of friends that I am still friends with to this day, and I always tried to be kind to EVERYONE. No one should feel like they can’t go to school….Such a sad thing. I am very excited to read and hope that for you this book was able to release a lot of the pain in your heart!!

    • You sound like a very kind, compassionate person. If there were more people like you in high school, so many of us wouldn’t have felt anxious about school. I remember that horrible sinking feeling in my stomach every morning when the alarm went off. Using my memories really helped to write this book – and yes, writing the book really helped me 🙂

  8. I know what it feels like to be bullied in Junior High and High School – so much so, in fact, that I talked my parents into sending me away to boarding school, which turned out to be perfect for me. As I get older and hear more and more about school bullying, I’m starting to think that more people are getting bullied than not. So I think this book is a great thing and I can’t wait to read it. Of course, I would have wanted to read it no matter the subject, but I’m especially anxious for it now.

    • You’re right – WAY more kids are bullied than we know about. I was tormented practically every day and never reported anything. Schools are only starting to enforce actual consequences for bullying. But even with zero tolerance policies, most cases slip through the cracks. I’d love to see mandatory, effective anti-bullying programs in every elementary school. Maybe if kids learned how profoundly their words and actions affect others at a very early age, we would begin to see real changes.

  9. Hi Susane,
    I was bullied for a year but one of my best friends and her friends. I had to move schools because of it. I’m still upset on what they did to me and cry sometimes just thinking about it. I love your books and can’t wait for this book!
    I hope the bullies reliaze what they do to people.
    Thanks for writing another book!
    Pre ordering it asap!
    Love ya xoxooxoox ❤

  10. Wow, I’ve been a fan of you for a while now. I just love your books, I started reading your books the summer before I went into high school, and every May I get so excited because you always have a new book coming out! They have been my escape from all that happens in high school. I know this book will have a special place in my heart considering I am often made fun of for being so different from the crowds. But it’s your books that inspire me to stay strong and keep being me!

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