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Book Review: Holding Up the Universe

                                                                                                                               Image from Unsplash


From Barnes and Noble:


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.


Rating: 4.5/5 stars


What’s it like?: It reminds me of Jo Knowles, no book specifically.


What I thought: It was pretty much everything you’d think it would be. Libby is known for her weight and is coming back to school after a few year absence. People picked on her for her weight before she left and know her now for being the girl who got so fat they had to use a crane to get her out of her house.


Jack is the typical popular boy who gets roped into something called the “Fat Girl Rodeo”. He decided to do it and Jack and Libby get in trouble. They have to go to group counseling and eventually become friends, and then more than friends.


It was obvious that they were going to start dating. What made this story non cliché is Jack’s disability. He can’t recognize faces. He knows people by their hair or their outfits. Giving him the disability gave him a rooting factor. Jack and Libby are good together so they are a likable pair.



Megan Antosy is a junior at Penn State Berks double majoring in Business with an option in Marketing and Management, and Professional writing. She also has minors in Entrepreneurship and Women's Studies. When she isn't busy writing or editing articles for HC, you can find her on the beach, reading a book, taking a nap, or drinking tea. She is also Co-CC.
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