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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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5854026,031 (3.88)2
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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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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 |
Libby is starting school again - now a junior, the last time she attended school, her mom had suddenly died, her dad was grieving, and Libby was so afraid & sad, she began eating. She ate until she earned the media title "America's Fattest Teen." Hospitalization, counseling, and dietary help brings Libby back to being a functioning, active young woman, and it's time to "re-enter" the world. Jack Masselin, popular and dating off and one of the most aloof and beautiful girls on campus; however, he has a secret no one knows, not even his family. Jack suspects he has some sort of disorder: he cannot recognize people by their faces. He struggles to identify even his good friends, his little brother, everyone, and uses all sorts of other "identifiers" to put the correct name to everyone in his world. Not until he goes to a nearby university and has himself tested by specialists does he confirm what he fears: he does have severe prosopagnosia.
Backing up: It's Libby's first week back at school and she's already begun to tentatively re-initiate with grade school friends and get through the gauntlet of being "new girl". Jack watches one of his friends gleefully wrap his arms around an unsuspecting chubby girl as she crosses the track & is told there's a new "game". He reluctantly accepts his friends' challenge in the "Fat Girl Rodeo" contest: grab a fat girl, hug her tight for as many seconds as you can in order to "win". Jack launches himself at Libby in the cafeteria; to his surprise, rather than flee crying, Libby not only throws him off of her, she punches him. Their punishment: join a group with school counselor- The Conversation Circle- to do community service around the school and work through their issues.
To their surprise, Jack and Libby become more than detention "buddies" - they become friends. And maybe more... Niven effortlessly walks us through the pangs and sorrows of teen love, self-identity, acceptance, and self empowerment, and weaves in a poignant love story too. Too good to put down, so real it will make you wince or laugh out loud. ( )
  BDartnall | Feb 7, 2019 |
Read this review and more on my blog!

All the Bright Places was definitely one of the best books I read in 2016, and this book is almost as good. ATBP had a sad ending that was really hard to read, but this book did the opposite. It got happier.

Before the book was released, I'll admit, I was dubious. I couldn't tell whether the book was simply going to be 'slating the fat girl', or whether it would actually be a story worth reading. It was definitely the latter.

To put it bluntly, I'm fat. Everyone uses the adjective negatively, which is why us fat people can't seem to claim it back for ourselves. If we call ourselves fat, someone has to pipe up and say "don't be silly, you're pretty!", and I'm just like, why can't I be both? This is something that is mentioned well in the book, and it was easily relatable. I loved Libby as a character, she was likeable, energetic and I felt empowered just through reading from her point of view.

Jack was also very likeable. I felt like their issues were completely different, but it kind of brought them both together. One of the only negative things I'd have to say is that I didn't like the fact that Libby was trying to settle in and become confident in herself, but then she also had to be confident for Jack a lot too, such as when she's trying to convince him to tell his family about the prosopagnosia. Aside from this, their relationship felt realistic, it wasn't forced, and it didn't make me scrunch my face up every time there was a 'cute scene'.

The main point I've drawn from this book is definitely Libby's confidence. As someone who struggles with self-acceptance, self-love and general confidence, Libby has really inspired me. At any point in time where I feel low about myself, I'll think of Libby in her purple bikini, and know that regardless of what others think...

I. Am. Wanted. ( )
  perksofbeingpeculiar | Jan 17, 2019 |
Because of the amazing book Bone Gap, I learned what prosopagnosia is. I feel like I have a mild form of this because to be honest, I will not remember what a person looks like to save my life. I have met three famous people up close and I didn’t even recognize that they were famous until much later when someone else pointed them out to me. In fact, I find someone much more recognizable on a screen than I did in person so there’s some sort of disconnect there if I’m being honest.

Anyway, so Libby Strout is one of those people that believes that someone out there has it worse. She is that person that someone else can use as an example of someone who has it worse. Someone might think they are fat but Libby is actually fat and she knows it. Plus her family life isn’t the greatest, her mom died and her dad can kind of be distant.

Jack gets by in life on his charm and ability to make people think that he’s super invested in them. Truth is he can’t recognize anyone without obvious identifiers. That has gotten him in trouble on more than one occasion. Because of this, he feels like no one really knows the real him just the person he has projected to save face.

When his friends start a cruel form of bullying called the fat rodeo, Jack decides to get ahead of it and “help” the biggest girl so she doesn’t get worse treatment from the other guys involved. He writes her an apology letter in advance and “hugs” her. Libby knows the purpose of the hug and punches him in the face thus starting a wonderful friendship. *sarcasm*

I actually did like this book it was really funny at some points and I really felt for both Jack and Libby in the whole aspect about people assuming you’re one way when it’s just the image that you have let them see. Part of me thought the romance was kind of lame, I would have preferred if it was a slow burn but obviously it’s not. In the end, I thought both characters were pretty funny and I really enjoyed the family dynamics that were explored in this book. ( )
  Jessika.C | Oct 16, 2018 |
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout and Jack Masselin. No one takes the time to see past Libby's weight, and Jack puts up a facade that allows him to fit in, hiding his biggest secret: he can't recognize faces. After an incident at school, Libby and Jack become unlikely friends. They find that the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel.

Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places is one of my favorite young adult novels, so I was excited to finally get to read her latest novel. And I wasn't disappointed. Niven has a knack for creating complex characters that have more to them than meets the eye. Libby and Jack are both dealing with difficult things. However, it does represent a somewhat unfortunate trend in young adult literature that in order for the adolescent protagonists to feel accepted and wanted, they have to be in a romantic relationship. Nowadays, it's almost impossible to find a young adult novel in which the main characters do not end up together (except This Savage Song, which gets bonus points!).

Despite my annoyance at the romantic relationship, I really did enjoy this book overall, especially for the message that it sent: "You are wanted." Many teens need to hear that message, and I thought it was well done. Despite my views of it, this novel has apparently been getting a lot of bad press and reviews because some reviewers are saying that Niven uses her characters insecurities in order to create an angsty romance; that Libby doesn't wholly accept herself until she is with Jack. While yes, the romance aspect of the book wasn't necessarily my favorite, I don't think that this is the case. Libby stands up for herself when her and Jack aren't together, and I don't think she needs him to feel whole.

Overall, the message of this book is powerful, but I do think it could have done without the romance. Not every novel needs to end in a relationship these days. ( )
  Amanda7 | Oct 12, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385755929, Hardcover)

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.

Praise for All the Bright Places:
“[A] heartbreaking love story about two funny, fragile, and wildly damaged high school kids.” —Entertainment Weekly
“A do-not-miss for fans of Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars, and basically anyone who can breathe.” —Justine Magazine
“At the heart—a big one—of All the Bright Places lies a charming love story about this unlikely and endearing pair of broken teenagers.” —The New York Times Book Review

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 11 May 2016 22:24:05 -0400)

"A boy with face blindness and a girl who struggles with weight fall in love"--

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