Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

 Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: Kindle, 400 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Buy links: Book depository | Amazon US | Amazon UK
Link to Goodreads
Goodreads Summary:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

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.


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This story is not about being fat or being face blind, but about being seen, being you and realizing you are worth it. This equals for both Jack and Libby. Libby is being known as the “the fattest teen of America” and Jack has prosopagnosia, which means he can’t recognize faces.

This is about the fact that people are shitty. Why would you tell someone they’re not worth it? Why? What do you achieve with that? Does it make you feel better? Is it because they’re not the average size? Is it because they don’t fit the normal standards? Dear lord, it made me so angry.
Holding up the Universe was full of it. Libby gets that a lot and even Jack. It shows that people can be really shitty sometimes for no reason AT ALL.

Jack and Libby start to realize who they are and they own it. Are proud of it. Realizing they are worth it.

Libby astonished me. So much confidence and so much willpower. She knows exactly who she is and that made me so happy. Seeing her become herself and owning and realizing she’s worth it. She is wanted and so are we.
I loved her quirky comments and her ideas. Like, yeah, you could totally sex the weight off. That’s a way to think about it.

Jack wants to be cool and hopes no one will find out about the face blindness. I struggled with that, because how can you keep that up? In the end, you’re the one who’s hurting. I admired him for that, truly, but at the same time I wanted to yell at him: TELL PEOPLE. Therefor I was insanely happy when he told Libby. When he trusted her and recognized her. Not because of her weight, but because of her. Because of who she is and how she lives.

Also, this book has so many references. Like Supernatural, The Hunger Games and even Jennifer Lawrence. There’s diversity and so much dancing and in the end you relate to both Libby and Jack. In the end it doesn’t matter who you are and what you love, even if you think it’s weird. In the end it all comes down to one thing: you are wanted and loved and allowed to be seen, no matter what shape or size or color or gender you are.
That’s what this is all about. Being seen. Being loved. Being wanted. Being you.


5 gedachtes over “Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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