November 7, 2016 by elnadesbookchat
Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Summary from Goodreads:
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, 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.
This is not usually the kind of book I pick up, but I really liked All the Bright Places so I decided to give this one a try as well. I really like Jennifer Niven’s style of writing and the characters she creates. Her characters have flaws, and are damaged in many ways just like most teens. But she doesn’t exaggerate or belittle these flaws. Instead her characters are stronger and are more real than most book characters have a right to be. In fact I wouldn’t mind having lunch with either Libby or Jack. We would have the most interesting conversations. Both characters are very relatable and were fun to read, especially the conversations they had together. I’m not sure I could have been as strong as Libby in her situation, but I would have been rooting for her if I went to school with her. The romance is nicely done as well. There isn’t any of the usual heavy breathing and flowery language used to describe the other characters attributes. But rather the romance is very down to earth and takes many twists and turns before either character truly sees the other. All in all a great read if you like your characters realistic and flawed.