Holding Up The Universe is the second book I read of Jennifer Niven and came out only last week on October 4th. I read All The Bright Places and I LOVED it. It shattered my heart in pieces and left me almost feeling depressed, but it was so wonderful and tragic. So when I found out I got accepted for the ARC of Holding Up The Universe, I was so happy! Especially since I thought I would never get accepted.
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.
Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.
Things I loved about this book:
- Libby’s amazing character. I have read some reviews and people seem to like her not that much. But even though I don’t understand why she does certain things, I think she is amazing. Yes she is fat, but that doesn’t define her. She is so brave and wise and I admire her for being that way. She has been bullied, scolded, hated and has been through so much and still she is able to stand up to her bullies and most important stand up for herself. I know how hard that is.
Just some examples: “I think you’re disgusting.” “If it’s any consolation, I think you are too.” and “I didn’t lose three hundred pounds and give up pizza and Oreos just to be shamed in my school cafeteria by this jackass.”
- Prosopagnosia. Jack has an issue, which is the inability to recognize faces. Imagine living in a world where everybody is a stranger to you, how scary must that be! I have heard about it in psych classes and it such a weird thing, and that is why I was so happy and surprised to read about it in this book! And ten thousand points for Jack for living with it without anyone even knowing about it!
- Love. I know it is kinda cliché, two kids who feel broken falling in love, but I love it! They’re just too cute and adorable together. I was reading all the time with a big smile on my face.
- Writing style. I don’t usually mark in books, but since this is an ebook it is very easy just to mark a passage that you love. And there are so many passages that I love! I just counted, I made 25 markings!
An example: “People are shitty for a lot of reasons. Sometimes they’re just shitty people. Sometimes people have been shitty to them and, even though they don’t realize it, they take that shitty upbringing and go out into the world and treat others the same way. Sometimes they’re shitty because they’re afraid. Sometimes they choose to be shitty to others before others can be shitty to them. So it’s like self-defensive shittiness.”
- How happy it made me. This book is really powerful, and in contrast to All The Bright Places, makes you smile and gives you energy. I loved so many things about the book that I’m just going to name a few other things: the dancing, Jacks little brother, supernatural-references, how it includes characters that are of colour or have a different sexual orientation but doesn’t make a point about it. Especially that last one is important to me. I think other writers should take it as an example of how a great diverse book can be written.
I am giving this book a rating ★★★★★, because (if you haven’t noticed it yet) I loved it! I never really got into reading contemporary, because there are a lot of books out there that are really bland and all the same. This book was not only different, but also makes you think about your own prejudices. I need more of these type of books in my life!
Do you want to read this book?