Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: October 4th 2016
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’m not even going to lie, I ended up liking this book a lot more than I thought I was going to like it. I remember when the synopsis came out over the summer, or maybe it was spring, and people were losing their minds. I think it was because one of the MC’s was extremely overweight, and she was labeled America’s Fattest Teen in the story. I could see why some people might be upset, but I had already decided I was still going to give this book a try and I’m so glad I did!
Now, I’ll be honest, I know that there are a lot of YA books out there, and books in general, that deal with important and very intense things and they do it just wrong. I don’t have experience with being this overweight and how kids in high school treat people who are, and I definitely don’t have experience with face blindness. Because of this, I can’t comment on whether or not the author and book handled both of them well and in a non offensive way. However, I have had plenty of years of body image issues and honestly, this book made me feel a little more confident in myself. It made me think if other girls can find their confidence, whether they’re overweight or underweight, I should be able to, too.
As for the romance in this book, can we talk about how freaking adorable it was?! Every time either of their hearts skipped beats, mine did too. Every time they felt butterflies or nervous, girl, same here. This book reminded me why I read YA books.
I hope everyone has a fantabulous day/evening/morning/whenever you’re reading this and happy reading!