Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
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 in new and bad-ass 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.
*Book Received in Exchange for Honest Opinion/Review*
I honestly don’t know where to start my review for this book, other than I loved it! Holding Up the Universe was a page turner, and not in the sense of suspense and mystery, but in the sense of beautiful writing, well developed characters, and life-changing messages. There is an underlying theme that resonates throughout the story, live. Something so simple but something that many of us forget to do; we get sucked into life, work, responsibilities, home renovations, cleaning…we lose ourselves. If there is one thing Holding Up the Universe taught me, its okay to take a moment to dance and live, in fact I should strive to have those moments more frequently.
This story was poignant and eloquently written. Jennifer Niven excels at writing from the heart and I think that’s why this story captured mine. I related to Libby more than I could ever know, she is resilient, strong, and honestly, I aspire to have the courage and confidence that she has. Jack, oh what can I say about sweet Jack, misunderstood, confused, and lost. Jack captured my heart from the first chapter and never returned it. These characters have depth and dimension, and show you what being a teen is really like. You can only pretend everything is ‘fine’ for so long…but when that push point comes, how will you react?
There is a beautiful balance between Jack and Libby. There personal struggles and inner dialect was balanced perfectly and I was left with a full heart and a smile on my face. The story had me giggling, laughing, teary, but most of all left me hopeful. Libby and Jack’s individual journeys to their own versions of self-acceptance were inspiring. The fact that they shared their journeys, trials, and tribulations with each other just sweetened the deal.I can’t say enough good things about this book, and that ending?! Ugh, it left my heart so full, overflowing…this story was truly my bright place.
PRE-ORDER THE BOOK (Available October 4, 2016):