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.
Some people are so sensitive. Like all the people saying that this book romanticizes mental illness. Yes, this book has two characters who are going through their own stuff, but just by having a character who has propaganasia doesn't mean that this book is romanticising in. This book is about two characters coming together to support each other through times of hardship, and helping each other to become the best version of themselves. Just because Libby is obese doesn't mean that Niven is standing up and saying 'OBESITY IS OKAY' - she is just using it as a plot device to make the character that she thinks will make this book special.
Okay, rant over - but it really upsets me to see people rating down a book that they haven't read based on assumptions.
Okay, rant really over.
I just really enjoyed this book, not only was it gorgeously written, but it really made me think. Jack and Libby's relationship is completely unexpected, but it works for the two of them and that was a perfect thing to read, and the way it all developed was not only sweet but it was entertaining. Remember people, books are meant to entertain - they are meant to make us think and make us smile and make us happy, this book did that for me. As is expected, there are some awful characters in this book and some not so smiley moments, but did this book make me squee and did I close this book with a smile on my face? Yes. Therefore, I think it served it's purpose.
I haven't read anything else by Niven yet (I have All The Bright Places on my bookshelf though) but if this is a reflection of her writing I know I will read anything brought out by her in the future.
Overall, Holding Up the Universe was a book that made me smile and happy, it is completely cute and very inoffensive.
Overall Rating: A-
Book released 6th October 2016 by Penguin Books (UK)
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review