a novel

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2010 American Library Association Alex Award Nomination

A 2009 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer

Hold Love Strong by Matthew Aaron Goodman is an extraordinary novel for its voice, its vision, and its promise…much more than a social commentary on failures of our society: it is a testament to the will to survive and to surpass. The book is fiction but every word of it rings true.” —Nina Sankovitch of The Huffington Post: Fiction As Witness: Read Full Review Here

Hold Love Strong is a powerful and poignant story of the gallant Abraham who struggles on the night side of American society yet exudes a light of genuine hope. Goodman is an activist and artist who never loses sight of the humanity of those either imprisoned or free!” Dr. Cornel West, author of Race Matters and Democracy Matters

A USA Today New Voices Pick

Hold Love Strong is absolutely terrific and should be required reading for every American, and at least for every high school English class. It does what a thousand articles or lectures could not ever adequately do—open people to the depth of struggles and decency faced by young African-Americans growing up in urban poverty and violence.” —Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God

“The urgency of reading Matthew Aaron Goodman’s work is that he complicates what is too often made unrealistically simple: our understanding of ourselves and our neighbors. That he does so with such profound beauty only makes the experience of Hold Love Strong ever more incredible…” asha bandele, author of The Prisoner’s Wife and Something Like Beautiful

“What a poignant book. The younger generation offers a wonderful writer!” -Nikki Giovanni, Poet

“Matthew Aaron Goodman writes with tremendous heart and gorgeous lyricism. He loves the characters whose lives he chronicles, loves them in all their flaws, through all their missteps. He’s with them, celebrating their glories in ecstatic, ebullient riffs, and mourning their defeats with an unflinching compassion…” -Thisbe Nissen, Author of The Good People of New York and Osprey Island

Chosen by the College of Holy Cross as the Common Reading for the Class of 2014

“Hold Love Strong examines how we attach ourselves to anything that offers a glimmer of hope…” Jackson Free Press. Read Full Review Here

“Goodman delivers a commanding investigation of love, family and freedom set in a New York City housing project…” –Publishers Weekly

“…[Hold Love Strong is] told exceptionally well in the lyrical first person voice of a sensitive and perceptive youth.” – Booklist

“At once intimate and epic, Hold Love Strong shines light on a world too often distorted or ignored. Goodman plumbs us into a narrative of devastating pain and searing tenderness, and he does so fiercely, with prose as bright and sharp as a blade.” -Carolina De Robertis, author of Invisible Mountain

“A hard-edged novel with a sweet but unsentimental interior…” -Kirkus Review

The Michigan Citizen: “… the race of the writer was inconsequential; it was the beauty of the prose and the heartbeat of every word that made me want to know what this gifted writer looked like…This book is a classic, written so masterfully that it will inspire its reader in more ways than one.”

The Florida Weekly: “..An evocative, full color portrait of the hearts broken countless times by the cruelty of poverty, and of how those hearts are ever-repaired by the love of family and the tiniest — but most powerful of hopes…” Katy Olson..Read full review here

Freshfiction.com: “HOLD LOVE STRONG was surprising in so many ways. Many fiction books touch my emotions. Some make me laugh; some raise my hackles. Few, if any, make me cry. HOLD LOVE STRONG brought me to the brink of tears, not once but twice. HOLD LOVE STRONG may be the best urban coming of age story I’ve ever read…” Read full review here.

Review from thebookladysblog.com: “Think the thematic material of Toni Morrison brought into a contemporary setting but less academic, more accessible, and absolutely impossible to put down. Hold Love Strong is a gritty, realistic, amazing gift of a book that is told with unbelievable truthfulness…” Read full review here.

Highlighted in The Jewish Week

“With prose so poetic and intoxicating each page makes you want to cry and shake your head in disgust all at once…Hold Love Strong proves that ethnic diversity is no barrier for intimate authenticity.“—Amber Magazine

“Goodman’s respect and love for the people he works with comes through strongly in this wonderful and compassionate book.“—Writer’s Voice

I’ve heard it said that writers tend toward tragic stories rather than triumphant stories because the latter are harder to pull off convincingly. Goodman does not appear to suffer from that problem. Hold Love Strong is a wonderfully executed triumphant story.” -Gently Read Literature

February 2, 2010: Reading from Hold Love Strong and an interview with the esteemed David Wilk on Writerscast

Chosen by HEEB Magazine as one of the 100 young Jewish people that people should know about: HEEB 100

Highlighted by Southern Independent Booksellers