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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven (ARC)

Author: Jennifer Niven
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: October 6th 2016
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: Netgalley
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone - and love someone - for who they truly are.

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.


Praise for All the Bright Places:

'If you're looking for the next The Fault in Our Stars - this is it' Guardian

'[A] heartbreaking love story about two funny, fragile, and wildly damaged high school kids' Entertainment Weekly

'A do-not-miss for fans of Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars, and basically anyone who can breathe' Justine Magazine

'At the heart - a big one - of All the Bright Places lies a charming love story about this unlikely and endearing pair of broken teenagers' The New York Times Book Review


*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Penguin in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion or my rating of this book in any way.

Do you ever find yourself surrounded by one book and one book only? Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, even other blogs and booktubers at one point or another featured this book, so I got so curious I had to try it out.

The book is about Libby and Jack and their road to acceptance. Of themselves, of each other, of other people. It's also about standing up to bullies, which is a theme I don't get to read about that much.

Libby was an interesting heroine. She talks about her struggles with being overweight, her fear for her health for something that happened when she was a kid, and she's also talking about fitting in, in a society that equals thinness with being cool, smart, and "the way to be". It was interesting to read about her struggles, but what I loved most was reading about how she dealt with bullying. I also liked that she tries to understand the people around her, even with people that don't honestly deserve it.

Jack suffers from prosopagnosia, which means he can't recognize faces. I was actually more excited to read about his POV. This is because while I studied this disorder, back in university, I never got to learn what people that suffer from this disorder actually go through, how they deal with it, how it affects their everyday life. So it was a unique experience for me, and also a way to learn more about this disorder. I liked reading about his journey especially towards accepting what he's suffering from.

The book is pretty fast-paced, and I liked the way the focus shifted from Libby to Jack. I also liked the way the book ended, because it gave me the feeling that everything was possible for Libby and Jack moving on. I didn't get the feeling of Libby getting "better" and finding herself because of Jack, but I definitely got that feeling with Jack, that he got to accept himself because of Libby. It didn't bother me as much as I thought, because in the story it makes sense, and also because sometimes you just need another person to wake you up. My only issue with the book, and really the only reason why my rating isn't the highest possible, was with most of the adults in the book. I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't talk about it, but let's just say that some of the adult figures in this book let me down. Not all, some were actually pretty cool.

All in all, a really good book, and I'll definitely be checking the author's books out in the future.


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