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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Holding Up the Universe (edition 2016)

by Jennifer Niven (Author)

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9124416,676 (3.92)2
"A boy with face blindness and a girl who struggles with weight fall in love"--
Title:Holding Up the Universe
Authors:Jennifer Niven (Author)
Info:New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016
Collections:Your library
Tags:Young adults

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Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven



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Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

Libby has been struggling with her weight her entire life known as "America's Fattest Teen". She is dealing with the death of her Mother and her grieving Father. She wants a normal life and to be accepted by her peers.

Jack is suffering from a rare condition Prosopagnosia or Face Blindness. He can't recognize people, including family. Due to this he uses humor (to cope) and does not allow anyone to get too close to him. He wants to live a normal life and be accepted as well.

The two form a friendship while facing normal teen problems and trying to overcome their own insecurities. Although the paring of the two would seem off to some, the union of the pair could be exactly what they need to live life to it's fullest.

The story moves at a fast pace with well developed characters and alternating (voice of) Libby and Jack. Both are very likable. I really wanted them to be self confident and find true happiness. Overall I found Holding Up the Universe very enjoyable. With true to life situations and told in a relatable way. I highly recommend to Young Adult and Adult readers as well. A definite five star read. ( )
  SheriAWilkinson | Aug 28, 2020 |
DNF @ 12%

There are a few different factors that quickly marked this book as "not for me" and while I appreciate the author's attempts at diversification, I don't think I have the patience to listen to another 7.5 hours.

In short, the characters don't grip me and I'm feeling a lot of cliches. I know when you're young, it's easy to feel like 1.) everyone is talking about you/looking at you; and 2.) you are your greatest fault. I guess I just got... exhausted? Even as we're switching POVs, I'm not feeling any connection to the characters. This is the time to set up the world, and I felt like we were so deep in Libby's head talking about her weight and Jack's head talking about his prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces) that there was nothing *more* to these characters. And while the diversity is good to have, it always troubles me a little to see characters become vehicles for their challenges, to be defined and engulfed by them, rather than be presented as multidimensional beings.

Maybe this resolves itself further into the book, but I don't think I have the patience to find out.

I'm not a big fan of Jennifer Niven's writing style, either. There's nothing wrong with it, just the vehicles used for descriptions felt a little direct for my tastes. There's also a clear plot train heading to a high school romance, which is fine when I like the characters, but sine I was finding both Jack and Libby to be a bit flat, I'm not really motivated to continue through their love story.
  Morteana | Mar 25, 2020 |
[edit] 1.1 stars in retrospect. ( )
  Elizabeth723 | Dec 6, 2019 |

There are so many things I love about this book. I loved it despite the often placed lovey dovey cliches you find in many of these YA contemporaries. That's says a lot for me as I'm usually quite unforgiving of convenient plot twists and lovers seeing stars. I still couldn't help loving this book because I loved Libby. I was Libby in my early college and high school years. Unfortunately my confidence and tenacity didn't come until many years later, and it's still a struggle not to be "trapped" within myself. I love that Niven created a 3 dimensional Libby instead of the typical pathetic fat girl character who is happy with tiny amounts of attention or scraps. I'm happy it isn't just a story of people learning to accept that fat girl, or the the fat girl gets a makeover and looses the weight and suddenly becomes usable and viable. Moreover, I'm glad the fat girl was actually fat and not a Bridget Jones 135 pounds. I wish this book was around when I was younger. I recommend this book for everyone who feels trapped and doesn't seem to fit. ( )
  Jonez | Oct 24, 2019 |
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is an absolutely amazing book. It is the story of two teens. Libby Strout, who at one point in her young life had gained so much weight she had to be cut out of her house, and Jack Masselin, who has prosopagnosia, or face blindness. He has been able to hide this fact from everyone, including his family, but it is taking a toll on him. Due to a cruel stunt at school, Jack and Libby wind up in detention and group counseling together. As they begin to know each other, attractions develop.

I think Libby is a fantastic character. Although she still weighs enough to be considered morbidly obese, she has lost hundreds of pounds since being cut out of her house. She is eager to experience all life has to offer, and is not afraid to go for it. I love that she tries out for the school dance team, and is not afraid to speak her mind. She has a sure sense of self that is very appealing.

Libby's burgeoning relationship with Jack feels natural, not forced. She becomes the first person he tells about his prosopagnosia. The reader gets to experience a lot of firsts with Libby: first kiss, first date, first high school party. I really felt invested in her life and her happiness.

This is a very sweet love story, with great, complicated characters. Although both Jack and Libby have unusual problems, they feel very natural, not forced at all. I also feel like I learned a bit about prosopagnosia. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I enjoyed it so much and will recommend it to all my friends. (And I love the cover so much. So pretty!)

I received a free copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  readingover50 | Jun 11, 2019 |
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I'm not a shitty person, but I'm about to do a shitty thing.
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"A boy with face blindness and a girl who struggles with weight fall in love"--

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