Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven

Blurb

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


Stats

Page Length: 391
Publication Year:
2016
Genre: 
Young Adult
Characters:  Libby, Jack


Thoughts

I purchased this book on a whim one morning on the way to work, so I had no preconceived notions about it. It’s a little different to what I normally read in terms of the theming but I enjoyed it never the less.

Story

This story is told from both Libby and Jack’s perspectives in the first person. Most of the chapters in this book are quite short which I liked it gave it a nice flow and it was easy to follow as each character’s voice was very different.

I thought how Jack’s part of the story was very cleverly written, because of his condition his descriptions of other people were different to what you would normally see.

Characters

I really liked Libby’s confidence and thirst for life especially considering everything she has been through. I like that she wasn’t afraid to stand up for self and she took shit from no one. It was excellent to see that even though she is a bigger girl, for the most part she didn’t care what people thought of her.

“This is what I know about loss:

– It doesn’t get better. You just (somewhat) get used to it.
– You never stop missing the people who go away.
– For something that isn’t there anymore, it weighs a ton.”

Jack suffers from a brain disorder called Prosopagnosia which is also called face blindness. This means he is unable to recognize people’s faces. So instead he has to identify people by their markers for example how the walk, hair color, and body shape. To make this even more difficult no one knows about his condition except Libby.

“I’ve had to work really fucking hard to learn everyone, and even if skin color and hair color help me find people, that’s not who they are to me. It’s not about that. It’s about the important things, like the way their face lights up when they laugh, or the way they move as they’re walking toward you, or the way their freckles create a map of the stars.” 

I thought Libby’s connection to Jack to was just really lovely. They in which they just got each other was great, they found understanding in each other that they didn’t get from anyone else. Which I think for Jack in particular probably saved him.

Favorite Quote:

 hutu

Conclusion:

To conclude, this was a pretty great book and ultimately very uplifting I thought that Jennifer Niven really hammered home the point that no matter who you are, you are wanted.

If you enjoyed Everything Everything (by Nicola Yoon) then you will like this story.

My Rating:  4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

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