Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven
Penguin – 2016
Young adult, contemporary
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 in new and bad-ass ways, 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.
Everyone expects everyone to compare this book with its former, All the Bright Places, but honestly I couldn’t quite remember how ATBP was. One thing for sure is that was good enough to make me pick up Holding Up the Universe.
This book is trying to emphasize that you need to love youself at the first place, that you deserve it. It made me realize that narcism and self-love is different. I used to think I don’t want to feel so confident of myself, I don’t want to feel good about myself because I don’t want to look like that kind of people who are so full of themselves and make everything about themselves. But eventually I realize that feeling okay and confident about the way you are is entirely different from feeling overly full of the way you look and what you have that you’ve to look down at others to keep feeling that way.
🌀 Yes, it is about love story (which is clearly impressed in the synopsis) with these unfamiliar descriptions that I honestly couldn’t relate.
Jack didn’t derscribe people’s look for you know his prosopagnosia but when he did I honestly just couldn’t.
“But I can tell you what Libby’s eyes look like.
They are like lying in the grass under the sky on a summer day. You’re blinded by the sun, but you can feel the ground beneath you, so as much as you think you could go flying off, you know you won’t. You’re warmed from the inside and from the outside, and you can still feel that warmth on your skin when you walk away.”
🌀 But it is also about seeing each other (I mean REALLY see them without being blurred by any label), accepting each other, realizing their true selves, accepting their true selves.
And it’s just important and beautiful.
It isn’t about the popular guy giving up everything to help the poor girl because he feels they are meant to be together bam out of blue. It is not even about that at all. Because Jack was as desperate for help as the rest of us. And Libby was as strong as ever to stand up on her own.
🌀 Slightly unrealistic storyline as for me.
By the time Libby went
“Somewhere in this school could be a boy I fall in love with. One of these fine young men might be the one who at long last claims my heart and my body. I am the Pauline Potter of Martin Van Buren High School. I am going to sex the rest of this weight right off me…”
I was like no, no Libbs, you can’t get youself such a high expectation, you’ll only be dissapointed. But of course I was wrong because she’s got this fictional life story auntie Niven’d written for.
🌀 BUT, you gotta admit auntie Niven’s got something on this amazing story-telling skill.
As much as I don’t like the plot I love the way it goes on. It was hilarious and relatable and I just enjoyed it so much.
🌀 The cover!
Why is no one talking about the cover? IT GORGEOUS!
🌀 The chemistry didn’t hit me in the way I’d expected it to.
But perhaps it was just me..
🌀 This one scene where Jack messed up the entire basketball game because he couldn’t telling Andy and Travis apart.
But man you’d been yelled at by this basketball captain (whose I forget his name) at the very first mistake so how could you not bother to remember that your teammate Travis wasn’t the one wearing Andy’s clothes?
🌀 It wasn’t once I thought why wouldn’t Jack just tell people around him from the start that he’s got this prosopagnosia thing I mean his family looked pretty supportive and caring and loving?
But again the way each one perceives thing is different, there are 7 billions humans in this planet after all.
It’s not even the quotable one heheh
“And the way he says it makes me want to buy him every goddamn purse in the world and start carrying one myself out of solidarity.”
I mean that line is just bloody genius, isn’t it?