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:
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.