Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Indigo Fall Preview
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. (Goodreads)
“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 towards you, or the way their freckles create a map of the stars.”
“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader”
*I received a copy of this book from Indigo in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.*
Jennifer, oh Jennifer. Are you sure you didn’t write this book just for me? It’s exactly what I needed right now and there are so many amazing things for people of any age, gender, etc. to take from this book. I know there was/is uproar over this book but to be totally honest, I didn’t look into it all that much. I wanted to go into the story with no outside influence and I’m glad I did it that way.
So why exactly do I rave about this beautifully-bound book? Because I can relate…but I also can’t. Libby shows a type of self-love that I’ve been struggling for a damn long time to learn. Seriously, it’s my weakness. I want a beautiful man and then I meet one and spend so much time telling myself why it wont work because of my “deficiencies”. (Not every time and it’s getting better but this is a thing I do to myself.) Along comes Libby; first day at high school after being cut out of her house, still not the ‘ideal body size/shape’ and she’s like “oooo look at all the possibilities!” Part of her wants to find a boy she can have some fun with and not once does she think to herself “ahhh nuts, they’re all out of my league.” Sure, the shining moment of a fat girl’s life shouldn’t be getting a boyfriend but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want one. Based on how I read Libby, I’m assuming that I’m quite a bit smaller than her (though still not lean or slim) and I don’t even have a fraction of that badassery in me! I’m learning though! And at a time where I’ve been trying to get back out there and been talking to guys…I’ve spent a lot of time thinking to myself “give up, you’re too big for him” or “when he sees you he’ll be disappointed because you photograph leaner”. I mean wut?! How did my brain get here? Then I met Libby Strout. She’s like I’m going to wear what I like, dance, be happy, live my life, and be awesome…if you like it, welcome! If not…
Jack, my flawed little pumpkin. He made so many bad decisions from start to finish in this book. Being a high school isn’t easy at the best of times and I’m guessing much less so when you have a condition that affects your daily interactions with people and you KEEP IT A SECRET. You silly little penguin. Also going along with the stupidity of his friends and staying with his ice queen girlfriend because it was easy and comfortable were not his best life choices. At first I was SO MAD that this boy would be the boy. He won me over though. Jack, you’re corny as hell but made me swoon so hard. Also props on trying to fix some of your more problematic behaviours and thought processes. It’s definitely never easy trying to better yourself but nothing changes if you never start.
As for the story, it totally sucked me in! I was so wrapped up in hoping Libby made it through high school and stuck with being back in public. I wanted her resilience to last because she deserves it ❤ I wanted her to find someone who adores her as much as she adores herself. I had SO MANY FEELS. I still have feels to be totally honest.
I’m drowning in feels. I also need to read All the Bright Places. This book found me at the right time; just as I’m trying to work on my own self-love. I’ll leave you with a thread of tweets that I flailed at Jennifer.