The Story

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 feeling for Brenda.

The book was written, Kevin Major says, “out of love for a way of life and a people. It is an appeal for us Newfoundlanders to be like certain of the species of seaweed that inhabit our shores, which, when faced with the threat of being destroyed by forces they cannot control, evolved an appendage to hold them to the rocks, a holdfast.”


“…a landmark in Canadian writing for young people …a stunningly perceptive novel.” In Review

“…a unique product of recent Canadian literature. Michael contains a bit of Holden Caulfield and a bit of Huckleberry Finn, but there is also something authentically Newfoundland about him …it speaks honestly from a regional consciousness.” Robert Fulford, Saturday Night

“Major’s Newfoundland novel is a little gem that depicts adolescent sorrow, stubbornness, and joy, and it can be read with profit by adults as well as younger readers.” Books in Canada

“A true, authentic regional voice by a master writer. Angry, powerful, real.” Quill & Quire


Governor General’s Award
Canadian Librarian Association Book-of-the-Year Award
Ruth Schwartz Award
Hans Christian Anderson Honour List
A Best Book of the Year – School Library Journal
shortlisted for the Books in Canada First Novel Award
#2 on list of best Canadian books for young people of all time – Quill & Quire

Author’s Comments

Hold Fast, of course, changed my life. I was suddenly a published author, and one with a reputation to live up to. It would propel me through the rest of my career, remaining in print all that time, through four publishers and a half dozen different covers. And now, 35 years later, it has another new beginning. Hold Fast, the feature film, was released in the fall of 2013. I’m thrilled. The story continues.

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