Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven | Book Review

Reading Group: High School+

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Synopses: 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.
Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are—and seeing them right back.

Cover: I think the cover of this novel is really pretty, but I have no idea what it has to do with the actual book.  I don't remember there even being a mention of marbles or watercolor or anything that relates to the cover.

My Review: I was excited to read this book because you guys all remember how much I absolutely loved All The Bright Places and although this was a great story, I didn't find it as good as ATBP.  There were parts where I found myself wishing it would move a little faster and get to something more exciting. 
This book was about coming to terms with who you are which is something that I think is crucial.  Libby is proud of herself for what she's overcome, and she's comfortable in her skin, but she often needs to remind other people how to be kind.  And, even though it sounds cliche, people do tend to pick on others because they're insecure about themselves.  Jack explains this to Dusty when the kids at school pick on him.  Jack himself spends the entire book trying to figure out who he is.  He keeps his disease a secret from everyone except Libby and therefore can't get the help he needs.  Jack is also stuck in an on again off again relationship because he can't admit that Caroline isn't who he wants.  He tells Libby about his disease as part of his apology for attacking her in the middle of the cafeteria, but maybe he somehow knew that Libby was the one who was going to be the most helpful person to him.  Even when he was younger and saw Libby lifted out of her house, he sent her a letter saying he was rooting for her.  Jack always believed in Libby and Libby believed in Jack.  The two were meant to have their lives interconnect somehow, and the fact that they fell in love was simply a bonus.  
This book holds an important message and is a great read so I would definitely recommend it, especially to anyone who enjoyed All The Bright Places, but as I said before, it comes in second (for me at least).
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