Review Holding Up The Universe By Jennifer Niven – You Are Not Alone – 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 see who she really is. Since her mum’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. 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 art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a 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 own 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, Libby and Jack are both angry, 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.
I felt like my mind was repeatedly hit when reading Jennifer Niven’s book, Holding Up The Universe. The encounter of the two lead characters in this novel is extraordinary. But what is more extraordinary is how Niven tells the story with an effective and beautiful narrative. Beyond that, naturally I also get some lessons from this story.
Libby Strout has weight issues that start since her mum dies. The grief has made her suffer and drown in deep sorrow. She is so heartbroken that she would not let herself go out and socialize. But now Libby has lost her weight and is ready for high school. But is she really ready to enter the world that she has long abandoned?
Jack Masselin does not have a better life either, as he has been keeping a secret: prosopagnosia. I have never heard of prosopagnosia before, so I thank Jennifer Niven for bringing this story to life. This neurological disorder makes Jack unable to recognize people’s faces, not even his family’s and friends’. But Jack manages to calm himself and play it cool – he tries to recognize people by looking at their faces, body shapes, hair colors and freckles on the face.
The most important thing about this story is that it makes the readers feel what it’s like to be unwanted. More often than not, we only want to look up to people who we believe to be perfect. But hey, take a look at Libby and Jack and reflect on them. The perspectives of these two characters really make me tormented. How could I live like Libby and Jack? But behind all that I’m sure Jennifer Niven has a reason to bring up this type of story.
This story encourages those who feel insecure about themselves, to learn to be more confident with what they have. The shortcomings we have complete our lives, so let’s be optimistic. Right until the very last page, I found so many sensitive issues being brought up in this book. But I am also aware that many other readers give it bad ratings only after reading the synopsis.
This book teaches us that we do not necessarily have to change just because we want to be seen as “normal” by other people. You can be different and not perfect, and yet still be true to yourself.
This book gave me emotional bond and made me let out all sadness and happiness within me. At the end, I closed this book and looked up the sky and believed that I don’t have to be perfect all the time.
I think : Must Read
Page length : 432 pages
Publisher / date : Penguin Books Ltd, 4 October 2016
- Alluring since the first page
- The power of words