Kevin Major's <em>Hold Fast</em> and the Critical Reception of a Milestone Canadian Novel for Young Adults

  • Paulette Rothbauer
Keywords: Canadian young adult literature, books and reading, Kevin Major, Hold Fast


This paper examines the critical reception of Kevin Major’s Hold Fast, published in 1978, as a hinge event in the field of production of Canadian children’s literature. It is argued that this novel represents a Canadian version of the social realism narrative that was well established in the United States by the mid-1970s and that recognizable conventions of this type of literature augmented its positive reception. Equally important  for its continued celebration as a notable work, however, were its uniquely Canadian themes and motifs. These themes are explored through a close examination of reviews and commentary published between 1978 and 2006. Questions are raised about reviewers’ refusal to situate the title against earlier publishing for young people in Canada and about the role that the professionalization of young adult literature and librarianship played in the reception of the title.


DOI: 10.1353/jeu.2012.0013

Author Biography

Paulette Rothbauer

Paulette Rothbauer is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University, where she teaches primarily in the Library and Information Science graduate program. Currently she is working on two major research projects, one concerned with the construction of youth readers as agents and audience in Canadian young adult literature contexts, the other an investigation of adult reception of works of Canadian young adult literature.

How to Cite
Rothbauer, P. (2012). Kevin Major’s <em>Hold Fast</em&gt; and the Critical Reception of a Milestone Canadian Novel for Young Adults. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 4(2). Retrieved from