Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Monday, August 14, 2017


4 Stars!
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 reengineer and rebuild anything in new and badass ways, 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.
Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are - and seeing them right back.

I'm going to need someone to tell me why EVERYONE hasn't been listening to this audio book.

  • Jack Masselin is black with a huge afro that he loves dearly. 
  • Libby, while she obviously wants to fit in and be a normal kid, she couldn't care less about what the jerks at her school think.
  • She's GENUINELY happy with who she is, size and all, although she has insecurities like any other kid (or adult for that matter). 
  • Jacks parents are in an interracial relationship and the woman was black while the husband was white. If you're not sure why an interracial relationship is a big deal, click here and to learn about the controversy over a Cheerios commercial. While a majority of people reacted positively to the commercial, there was enough anger to make you a little nervous.  
  • Libby in the purple bikini. I can't say anything else, you just have to read it. 
  • Jack has prosopagnosia. I've been interested in learning more about that diseases since I first read about it in Bone Gap. 
  • The chapters alternated between Jack and Libby. I don't know if it was the fact that I listened to the book or what, but I thought they had very defined and "real" voices. Two thumbs up.
  • I'm going to be real, I can't think of anything. I wish Jack had told his parents about his condition earlier in the book, but his parents were kind of a mess so I can understand why he didn't.
  • Libby was VERY mad at Jack when she found out where he lived, and while I sort of understand why... I thought it was a little ridiculous, but it all worked out in the end. 
This book is almost five stars, for me. I'll suggest it to EVERYONE. 

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