Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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Synopsis

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.

 

“I've never fallen in love with characters as fast as I fell for Libby and Jack. Appreciating people for who they are—and who they can be!—comes alive when a boy who can't recognize faces and a girl once named ‘America's Fattest Teen’ let themselves connect. Holding Up the Universe is a beautiful reminder of the power of understanding.” —Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why
 
“Gorgeously written and oh-so-deeply felt, Holding Up the Universe contains one of my favorite characters of all time! You will absolutely fall in love with Libby Strout!” —Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything
 
“At once hilarious and achingly poignant, Jennifer Niven’s Holding up the Universe brims with love and heart and hope. A gorgeous, life-affirming book that—like its lovable and resilient main character, Libby—will make you want to open your arms wide, lift your face to the sky, and twirl.” —Kerry Kletter, author of The First Time She Drowned
 

About Jennifer Niven

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JENNIFER NIVEN is an author and screenwriter. She lives in Los Angeles.
 
Published October 4, 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers. 400 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Holding Up the Universe

The Bookbag

YA literature is renowned for tackling hard-hitting topics and breaking through taboos – just off the top of my head, I could easily recommend a handful of truly excellent and highly popular YA books with main characters that are LGBT, characters suffering from mental health problems, characters ...

Apr 10 2018 | Read Full Review of Holding Up the Universe

https://www.commonsensemedia.org

Her two teen heroes both have difficult histories: Libby's mother died unexpectedly, and Libby, who is white, is terrified of dying herself.

Sep 06 2017 | Read Full Review of Holding Up the Universe

Books and Makeup

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Oct 12 2016 | Read Full Review of Holding Up the Universe

https://www.publishersweekly.com

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At first glance, the premise of Niven’s second YA novel, after All the Bright Places, seems dark and improbable: high school junior Libby Strout was once so heavy that she had to be rescued f

Jul 29 2016 | Read Full Review of Holding Up the Universe

Gr 9 Up—Libby Strout is used to being alone. After her mother's unexpected death, she had eaten her grief away to the point of morbid obesity. Her trials and challenges with this issue turned her into a social media spectacle and forced her into seclusion. Now she is entering high school after ye...

Aug 01 2016 | Read Full Review of Holding Up the Universe
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