Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 15
- Grade: 7 to 10
- Reading age: 12 to 15
Michael turned fourteen in May. By June, both his parents are dead, victims of a car crash. And for Michael, who has lived all his life in a small Newfoundland outport community, this means being suddenly uprooted and sent to live with relatives in St. Albert, a city hundreds of miles away.
Hold Fast is the story of Michael's struggle to survive in his new environment. In vivid, honest prose, it depicts his fight against those who stand as threats to his pride in himself and his way of life -- the loud-mouthed Kentson who makes fun of the way he talks at school, and his uncle who tries to rule life at home with an iron hand. It is also the story of the friendship that develops between Michael and Curtis, his cousin, and of his new uncertain feelings for Brenda.
Hold Fast has received many awards, and a panel of experts from across Canada named it the country's second-best children's book of all time (second only to Anne of Green Gables).
About the author
Governor General Award winner Kevin Major has published 17 books, for both young people and adults. His first, Hold Fast, is considered a classic of Canadian young adult fiction, and was recently released as a feature film. No Man’s Land, about the Newfoundland Regiment in WWI, was published in 1995 to much acclaim. Major’s adaption has been brought to the stage by Rising Tide Theatre for more than a dozen seasons.A history of Newfoundland and Labrador: As Near To Heaven By Sea was a Canadian best-seller and finalist for the Pearson Non-Fiction Prize. Ann and Seamus, a verse novel, was shortlisted for a total of ten awards. It has since been turned into an opera, which has been performed internationally. New Under the Sun, the first in a trilogy of historical novels for adults and called “well written, nuanced, and compelling” by Canadian Literature, was nominated for an Atlantic Book Award.John Moss, writing in “A Reader’s Guide to the Canadian Novel,” has said, “Kevin Major is among the best Canadian writers of his generation. He has established himself as a figure of singular importance in our literature.”
- Winner, Governor General's Literary Awards: Text
Michael is strong and likeable, and by the time he returns to his beloved village we know him well and are not at all surprised when everything works out for the better.
School Library Journal
...Michael contains a bit of Holden Caulfield and a bit of Huckleberry Fin, but there is also something authentically Newfoundland about him...it speaks honestly from a regional consciousness.
A classic innocent who sometimes sounds like a sort of Newfoundland Holden Caulfield, Michael is more than redeemed as a character by the directness and strength of his emotions...Major projects all the actions as Michael experiences it, with the same directness and vigor.