After two days of emotional reading, I’ve finished Holding Up The Universe. This book gave me a mix of feelings, and I think overall I loved it, but there was a few (teenie-tiny) parts that I wasn’t so keen on.
Firstly, the 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.
I loved the plot so much as it was deep, emotional and basically yet another master piece by Jennifer Niven. I was so swept up in this book, my whole life was being controlled by it! I was having to force myself to put it down and sleep. I thought hat this book would have a slow beginning, but it didn’t. BAM! In with the story. That could have been because I read the first 150 pages in one sitting, I’m not sure. . .
The pace was pretty consistent throughout, and I loved how it was filled with both cry moments, and laugh-out-loud moments, as it gave the book a good balance. There was a bit of dramatic irony (is that applicable to books?) which really excited me as a reader as I was constantly wondering when the character would find things out.
JACK: I loved having the dual PoV, it really helped us see the story fully, as a lot happened (I found). I preferred Jack’s point of view, I feel like his was a little more interesting as I’ve never read a point of view from someone with his condition and it was really interesting to read.
I liked Jack as a character, and could never imagine what he was going though, and I found him witty and funny, and he cared way more than he was showing. I feel like there is always a cliche teen boy in contemporary ya that cares more than he shows, but I feel like Jennifer Niven put a totally different spin on it with Jack.
LIBBY: I loved Libby, don’t get me wrong but I found her a little obsessive, as she said things like “I imagine what our daughter would look like” or something like that when they barely know each other. I liked Libby as she was so fun, and was doing her own thing, not letting people get to her as much as I would in her situation. I think that she’s one of the best contemporary characters that I’ve read this year, as she does not give up and is going through so much yet is still able to have fun.
We don’t really get characters that are larger in Contemporary Ya, which I really don’t like, and I think that there should be way more as it is constantly about skinny people. I think that the only other book that I’ve reading including a larger character was Eleanor and Park. I think that it added a really relatable aspect to the book about body image and Libby’s character portrayed so many insecurities that people have today.
I think that even the characters that weren’t the main one were fantastic, and added to the book and the intentions of the characters really well and made a great image of high school today. They were all unique and had the range of personalities that are found in every day life.
I loved seeing the two different families, and even the little flashback scenes from alternate perspectives. I’m also loving the references that Jennifer included, especially the “Supernatural” (the t.v show) ones with episode references and Dean, Sam and Cas!!!!!!! OMG PEOPLE THAT HAVE READ THIS BOOK I DIDN’T REALISE WHO SHE WAS CALLING THOSE NAMES UNTIL SHE KNEW! OMG.
Anyways. . . on a whole, I though that this was a great read, and another great book from Jennifer Niven. This book was filled with so many great moments, and at times I was whacking the characters I didn’t like as I read. Character development = great. Plot = great. This book = great.
What am I reading next?
Who’s read this books? Are you planning to? Let me know!