Jennifer Niven has been on my radar way before I started blogging. That is how amazing she is. All The Bright Places was one of the most lovely books that I have read in 2015. So when the opportunity came along for me to go for it and get the opportunity to read her new book, I grasped it like a hawk. It was too brutal to pass it up. When she came here to the Philippines, I promised myself that I will read her new book as soon as it comes out. Luckily, fortune smiled on me and bestowed a book for me to review and to pass on to other lovely bloggers.
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Teen, Mental Illness
Date Published: 4th of October 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Paperback, ARC for the blog tour
Rating: 5/5 stars
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 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.
You know that feeling of self-appreciation and general improvement on how the story ended? I swear on my grave that Holding Up The Universe has one of the most satisfying endings that I have ever read. No cliffhangers, no room or margin for error, and no open endings. It was just perfect. Alright, I might get your hopes high up now.
You can basically sum up Holding Up The Universe in six simple words: You are wanted. You are loved.
First, I want to point things out about representation. Holding Up The Universe connected with me in a deep level because I felt that girls in my size were well-represented. I know that it is not an issue of who is thin and who is not. Who was bullied and who was not. We all want to be represented, no matter what size we are. Holding Up The Universe did representation justice. How? Through it’s second aspect.
Second, the characters gave the book it’s life. It was the characters that gave this book a direction and a path to move forward to. We have Jack Masselin and Libby Strout, who both have incredible differences. But through those differences, they managed to create a special bond that gave them the courage to be themselves and find each other through the process. They also show how they can be each other’s support in going through the hard part of their lives.
Now truth be told, I have never been emotionally attached to a female character this way. I don’t feel it, I know it. Libby Strout is the perfect voice for anyone who has ever had a hard time. Libby shines like a true diamond, and she makes other people feel the same. That they are wanted and loved. She makes it all better, and reading her experience will make you feel for her. I could go on all day about how awesome of a character she is, but we don’t have that, don’t we? But in the end, it all comes down to how she will create an impact on you.
Jack Masselin is another case. It’s like how I feel about Libby. In this case though, it is the best to say that I love how Jack grew in the story. It is hard to cope up with a disease that you don’t know what to do about. Thanks to Libby, he learned to embrace the present and know what it really means to be with the one you love. He’s got swagger, yes. But underneath all that, Jack is your family guy. The relationship between him and his younger brother is the nicest sibling relationship that I have read in a while. It is also nice to showcase the things that the older sibling is willing to do for the younger one. One word: Legos.
Third, the family and friends. They are one of the loveliest people and it proves how family and friends are always there for you. It’s not about being alone, and that there is someone who cares. Libby’s dad is the real MVP for being the best dad ever, and as I mentioned earlier, Jack and his little brother. Shoutout to Libby’s wonderful friends who are equally beautiful like her. Sometimes I wish they had their own story written as well, but if it’s for another day I will gladly take it.
Holding Up The Universe is the kind of book that will make you cry, but in a good way. It will make you feel that you are wanted and loved, no matter who you are. All you have to do is to accept what you are. This books deserves all of the love and support because it truly shines as a one-of-a-kind book that will make you feel good about yourself. Go ahead and treat yourself. You deserve a book that will give you all of the best feelings in the world.
(Know more about my rating system here.)
Of course with the feels, this book needs companionship. And I found that with music. It was fun to create a playlist inspired by Holding Up The Universe because it was something that was out-of-the-box. Plus it’s like I’m creating the soundtrack, which is always a pleasure because I love the idea. I never turn the idea down. Anyways, here is my playlist:
Huge thanks to JM at Book Freak Revelations for letting me join this lovely tour and Penguin Random House for providing the book for the tour. Check out the rest of the tour for this book below:
JM at Book Freak Revelations – [Review]
Jasmine at Jasmine Pearl Reads – [Review]
Mark at Bong Bong Books – [Review]
Josiah at The Bookish Fanboy – [Review]
Eriele at This Is Not Your Book Blog – [Review]
Fay at The Bibliophile Soprano – [Review]
Nicka at Read by Nicka – [Review]
Elena at The Queen Reads – [Review]
Nikka at From Adventures of Nikka – [Review]
Alright! Have you read Holding Up The Universe yet? Is it one of your anticipated reads? Any thoughts? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.