Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

Title: Holding Up The Universe

Author: Jennifer Niven

Pages: 388

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: E-book

My Rating: 3/5 stars

“We’re all weird and damaged in our own way. You’re not the only one.”

Goodreads synopsis:

“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.

My review:

Thankyou NetGalley for approving a copy of this for me to review. I promise that this 100% my own opinions. Also thank you to Anisha for allowing me to use her photo for my feature image <3.

I enjoyed this book, however I feel like it didn’t live up to its hype. This is my first Jennifer Niven novel, and though I liked it, I think it could’ve been better. The story didn’t grip me as much as I was hoping, as I felt bored with the first half of the novel. The writing was lovely, but the plot felt like it was going nowhere. At least that’s what I felt. Nevertheless, it picked up around the halfway mark and that was when I found it a little more enjoyable.

Our two main characters both suffer from different disorder. Jack suffers from face-blindness and Libby suffers from being obese/overweight. This is the first book that I’ve read on either of these disorders. Holding Up The Universe helped me to extend my knowledge on prosopagnosia, which I knew nothing about beforehand. I didn’t know that it was common, like it’s not common but not completely rare, if you get my drift. Anyways, Jennifer Niven writes in a way where I was able to put myself in Jack’s shoes and feel his frustration with his disorder. I loved how Jack is genuinely a good person and his love for his brother, Dusty is adorable! I loved how strong Libby is, even with everything she’s gone through and had to suffer bullying, she continues to stand tall and fight back. She does not let other’s opinions define her and I’d like to be like her someday. Although somw of her actions confused me. Honestly, my favourite character would have to be Dusty, he was adorable and I just want to give him a hug.

This book also explores how immature teenagers can be towards people who are ‘different’ to us or whom do not have the same opinion as themselves. It was cute how Jack and Libby were able to find comfort in one another, despite everyone else’s voices on the matter.

This story is told in two perspectives and it was easy to follow because Jack’s and Libby’s voices are completely different. There were also movements in time (going back to the past). I also liked how lists were included, it made the story enjoyable. Jennifer Niven is also able to send across good and positive messages to readers such as not listening to other’s opinions of you.

I cannot say for sure if this book has accurate representation of the disorders mentioned as I do not suffer from these myself. But I would recommend you check it out if you are looking for a book about mental illness and form your own opinion. I think I’ll given Jennifer’s other book a go, because I liked her writing.

Have you read Holding Up The Universe? Did you like it?



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