'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. ' - Goodreads
CHARACTERS: Niven is always able to write her characters with such creativity and each of them are always so differently. Libby has had an eventful life, and when she goes back to school, this only gets worse. Libby's character development from the beginning to the end of the book was noticeable and I think Niven did a great job at that. Libby starts of insecure and shy, however when as time goes on she makes friends and learns to love herself.
Jack also develops a lot throughout the book, but in a different way to Libby. Jack starts off as a complete douche who has no respect for other people, including Libby. However, by the end of the book Jack has not only learnt more about himself and Libby, but others around him as well. Jack also grows the courage to tell his parents and friends the truth, and learns not to care what others think of him.
PLOT/ STORY LINE: Overall, I really enjoyed the story line. I found it a bit slow at first as the first half of the book was dedicated to developing the story and the characters. However, the second half of the book was really entertaining and the plot began to take off. I liked how the story wasn't overly plot driven with multiple story lines and things happening all at once. I was able to focus on the two characters and how their separate stories intertwined. I was constantly intrigued in the story and managed to finish it in less than two days because I couldn't put it down.
I also really enjoyed the diverse range of characters, and the different issues that were talked about in the book. We had different races, body images, mental health disorders, and health issues in general. I have read and heard a few different opinions about this, but I personally think that Niven did a great job at incorporating these into her story,
ENDING: I really enjoyed the ending and how the story was wrapped up nicely. I feel like this book would teach a lot to people about confidence and being true to yourself, and that's probably a lesson that everyone needs to learn at some point in their lives. Although the ending may have been to "perfect" to be realistic, I think that sometimes it's nice to read a book where everything ends up the way it should!
RATING: Overall, I decided to give this book 5 stars. I haven't given a 5 star rating to a book in a while, and although it isn't perfect, I felt that it was better than a 4.5. I recommend picking this up if you're a fan of Niven's writing or want to learn more about these diverse range of characters and disorders.
CHECK THE BOOK OUT ON:
Dymocks; https://www.dymocks.com.au/book/holding-up-the-universe-by-jennifer-niven-9780141357058/Amazon; https://www.amazon.com.au/Holding-Up-Universe-Jennifer-Niven-ebook/dp/B01BFGIYIC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476077673&sr=8-1&keywords=holding+up+the+universe