Jennifer Niven retains her title as the queen of young adult novels with her new book, 'Holding Up The Universe'.
Ever since Jennifer Niven put out her wildly successful novel, All The Bright Places, early last year, the world has been anxiously waiting to see what she would write next. So, when Jennifer announced that she would be publishing Holding Up The Universe early this year, the book community went nuts.
When the blurb was first released, many people immediately took offense to it. They assumed the book would shame fat people and be all kinds of cruel.
However, as a huge Jennifer Niven fan, I knew that I had to at least give the book a chance. So, I did and I have to say, I don’t regret it one bit.
Holding Up The Universe focuses on two main characters: Libby and Jack. After Libby’s mother died suddenly and tragically, Libby goes into a tailspin and starts eating as a way to cope with her grief.
As a result, she grows extremely large. In fact, she is so large that one day, she has to be cut out of her home and lifted out by a crane to get her to the hospital.
Now, Libby has lost an incredible amount of weight and she is ready to rejoin the world and to start at a public school.
Alongside Libby, we have Jack. Jack seems to have it all. He is popular, he has loads of friends and he has a wonderful home life. However, Jack is hiding a massive secret. He has prosopagnosia. A face processing disorder that renders him unable to recognize even the faces of his own family.
In the book, Libby and Jack inevitably find their way to each other and they fall in love. Since this is a contemporary young adult novel, it is bound to happen.
What I really liked about Holding Up The Universe was how Jack didn’t come in and sweep her off her feet immediately and magically solve all her problems, unlike most novels. There was a very slow and steady progression with Libby and Jack that eventually ended with them falling in love and it was very realistic and believable.
Sorry boys, contrary to what many books may tell you, you can’t wipe out problems with a shiny smile
I also have to commend Jennifer on how she handled Libby. She did a great job turning Libby into someone that anyone can relate to despite his or her size.
One of my favorite things about reading a novel is that every time I open a book, I learn something new. Most people have never heard of prosopagnosia and I am no exception. At the end of the novel, I came out having learnt so much more about this disorder.
With a little research, I learnt more about regular people who suffer from it and about how they cope, very much like the way Jack copes.
I think the best part of the book was how it brought across the message that you should love yourself and that you are wanted incredibly. In this day and age, we are bombarded with messages of self-love, but the way Libby lived her life unapologetically will inspire anyone to embrace who they are no matter their weight, size, or popularity status.
So ignore the people that bashed the book before even reading it and give it a chance, and read this book.
I can assure you that you will not regret it.
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