July 01, 2012

Review: Holding onto Zoe by George Ella Lyon

Hardcover, 176 pages
Expected Publication: July 17, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
After sixteen-year-old Jules has her baby, Zoe, it doesn’t matter anymore that her mother thinks she’s a drama queen, or that her father left them years ago, or even that Zoe’s father is gone, too. She and her baby make a family now; she doesn’t need anyone else in the world except Zoe.Though it's tough being a new mom, balancing Zoe’s needs with working at the Toyota factory and thinking about how to finish school, Jules is sure she’ll figure it out. Still, she wonders, why can’t anyone be happy for her and Zoe? And why does her mom refuse to believe that Zoe's real?
This is one of those books that are difficult for me to review without giving too much away.

Holding on to Zoe is a compelling read. I couldn’t stop reading, wondering what pushed Jules into her current situation. It left me thinking about a lot of things. It was fascinating, but also very sad and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her, despite her naivety. It is an understatement to say that her mother isn’t the warmest person, and you can see the affect that this has on Jules on top of everything else she has gone through. She is left with no one, and it is no wonder she held onto Zoe so tightly.

Part of me wishes it had been a bit longer, and we had gotten to know everyone a little better.  I would have liked to have seen more of Damon, the boy who impregnates Jules, as well as Reba, Jules’ best friend. The “Toyota factory” could have played a larger role. I think everything moves so quickly that the only thing that had an impact on me was Jules’ state of mind, which is probably the point, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more out of it.

I’m not sure what else to say without spoiling everything, but I definitely think this book is worth a read!

2.5/5 Stars


  1. This story definitely does sound interesting and I appreciate your spoil-free review:)

  2. I've gotten an ARC of this book, even though most of the reviews haven't been positive. Glad to here it's a worthwhile read, even with low ratings and apparent problems with development and length.

  3. Thanks for your honest review. The book sounds interesting.

  4. It sounds really interesting! I haven't really heard of anything quite like this book before, so I'm definitely going to have to add this on to my TBR. I really love compelling books that make you want to stay up and read, and this book sounds like it does just that. =)

    Fabulous review, Amanda!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  5. It sounds like a very different book even though it's atopic done before.

    Jule sounds like an interesting perspective to witness this through:)

  6. Sounds interesting...much different premise than I'm used to.

  7. Sounds like a book I will enjoy. It's going on my wish list.


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