Posted in Reviews

Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

holding up the universe cover.png

Title: Holding Up the Universe

Author: Jennifer Niven

Genre : Young Adult, Romance

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.

Rating: 2/5

I received this book on Netgalley in exchange for a review.

I’ve seen this book everywhere for the past few months, so my expectations were quite high but sadly the book didn’t live up to them. The premise was interesting but the characters made some choices that didn’t make any sense and that ruined the story for me.

Libby used to be very overweight, but now she’s lost some weight and is finally going to high school with other kids her age. I thought her story started out well, but was quickly ruined when she decided to write horrible things about herself on the wall of the school bathroom because, uh, if she does it first, other people don’t have to. She ends up in counseling with some other kids, one of whom is Jack (who happens to be in counseling because of something he did to her).

Jack can’t recognize faces and while I understand that that’s not an easy thing to live with, I don’t understand why he felt like he couldn’t tell anyone, not even his family and friends. But, in one of those weird logic fails that I guess writers hope readers won’t notice, he tells Libby, a girl he doesn’t even know. He’s also a huge asshole to Libby, so why would he tell her his secret, isn’t he scared that she’ll tell other people? I suppose the only reason he tells her is because they need to have something  to connect them, so the romance can happen.

They make weird choices because the point of this story is romance, so they need to somehow end up in the same place and talk to each other. The romance lacked chemistry, and if there’s no chemistry, no amount of flowery words is going to make me interested in the couple.

I also hated how Jack’s girlfriend Caroline is such a stereotypical ‘superficial popular girl who bullies others’. This exact same character exists in so many books and movies, I don’t understand how people aren’t tired of writing them.

Honestly, and sadly, the best part of this book is the cover.

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