Sunday, October 30, 2016

Blog Tour: Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven


Title: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Release Date: October 4, 2013

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 400

Received: Publisher *In exchange for a fair and honest review

Star Rating: ★ ★ ★  



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.[goodreads]



My Thoughts


Upfront, this is of course a non spoiler review. This is also my first Niven novel and I know of her previous NYT bestseller. But what did this one have that intrigued me more? Some substance. I'm talking its central theme brings up stigma or bullying overweight teens. But I don't believe the author wrote it in a convincing way. Some people might even take it offensively. It's tricky...or it's an easy topic that can be taken out of proportion and at times I felt like it did.

Libby Strout was once in every headline on tv which started with something like "America's Fattest Teen". No one really looks past her weight and high school kids are brutal to her. The type of comments she receives from people her age are terrible and disheartening. She also wanted to be a dancer despite her weight contradictions and comments from teachers. I feel like the story lost sight of that, but she keeps on dancing in spite of the haters.

Jack Masselin is supposedly the cute, nerdy guy who sees Libby for who she is underneath and out of her skin. His friends are complete jerks, so he fits into the high school scene just fine. Did I mention he has prosopagnosia? Which means he can't identify faces, not even the faces of whom he loves. And another engineer in the male dominated STEM world. It's sarcasm. I feel like it didn't really delve into that engineering part except making robots and I didn't see a clear purpose for it.

This entire relationship was very tedious. It felted like a "meet-cute, insta-love after a week" type of deal. Maybe they were utterly perfect for each other and any other climax didn't stop them from realizing they needed each other. But the entirety of the description, "finding someone who sees you for who you are and seeing them right back" is a little tacky. Isn't that what love in every other books is or becomes? It's a good comparison with Caroline, Jack's on/off girlfriend, but other than that...it didn't feel as exhilarating as the description delivered.

I gave this novel a chance or I took, " Every Possibility Life Has To Offer", but I didn't deliver for me. This didn't take me home, but take the book's advice and "Take every possibility life has to offer" and give this your best shot.

3/5 STARS

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