MY NOVEL THOUGHTS:
First, can I just say, I honestly wasn't expecting a lot from this book. I thought it was going to be one of those sickly sweet teen romances. I thought it was going to be the horrible clichéd books where the fat girl gets made fun of, so she loses weight and then falls in love with the troubled popular boy who bullied her. That is not the case in this book.
"Everyone in my life is a stranger , and that includes me. "
Holding Up the Universe is about a teenage boy who can't recognize faces and a teenage girl who was once considered America's fattest teen. Libby has lost a lot of weight but is still anywhere from being "normal" sized when she returns to public school for the first time since the fifth grade. Jack can't recognize faces doesn't mean he has no friends and no expectations.
After Jack partakes in a horrible game that involves Libby, Jack and Libby end up in not only community service but group counseling too. Jack and Libby do not get along at first but as they spend more unwanted time together they realize for the first time they don't feel so isolated anymore. Libby and Jack change each other, but is it for the good?
Things I liked: This novel starts and ends with such unflinching honesty.
"What if I get stuck behind a desk? What if I have to eat lunch alone and no one talks to me for the rest of the school year?"
I loved the fact that both Jack's and Libby's perspective were so relatable to someone people who have attended or attend high school. Both Libby and Jack have such real and authentic voices. There are a lot of moment's when the character's will say something and you kinda just sit there and think "this is so true!".
Libby is a character that just has a personality that jumps off the pages and makes you wish she was a real person and was your friend. Libby Strout is my literary hero. Throughout this book Libby's character growth was such a tremendous thing that every now and then you have to stop reading to appreciate Niven's writing technique and natural skill. Each and every sticky situation Libby got into she came out of it even stronger than before. Not to mention the fact that Libby is a good role model for any girl in high school.
Okay, so, Jack Masselin is the type of character that you want to punch in the face but there's this raw, not deep but raw, honesty and relativity about him that you can't help but root for him. Jack isn't as courageous or brave as our Libby is but his blatant "tell-it-how-it-is" attitude is refreshing. I'm pretty sure most anyone who reads this book can relate to Jack and his way of thinking.
This book has the undercurrent plot cheese but it's okay because it's cute. I love that this book wasn't about Libby rushing to lose weight so she could fit into the "popular" crowd or Jack being a complete tool and getting away with it just because he has a medical condition. This book was about accepting who you are and embracing your flaws.
"I'm going to do something with my life because I believe in myself. I may not know what that is yet, but that's only because I'm limitless. Can you say the same?
Literally the only thing that I could possibly complain about this book is the cursing but if that doesn't bother you then you're good. If you don't like cursing in novels, I personally didn't think it was as much as it could have been (which is a good thing), then it can either put you off of this book or you'll love it but only wish the cursing was kaput.
MY OVERALL RATING:
Holding Up the Universe was flawlessly written and most definitely a laugh out loud book. I recommend Holding Up the Universe for anyone who wants to read a feel good book.
Holding Up The Universe BLURB || source: Goodreads
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
By the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson ("If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win"), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder's sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.
In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven't stopped... I've written nine books (#9 will be out Oct 4, 2016), and when I'm not working on the tenth, I'm writing the screenplay for All the Bright Places, contributing to my web magazine, Germ (www.germmagazine.com), thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.
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