A New York Times Bestseller
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.
"Niven is adept at creating characters. . . . [Libby's] courage and body-positivity make for a joyful reading experience." --The New York Times
“Holding Up the Universe . . . taps into the universal need to be understood. To be wanted. And that’s what makes it such a remarkable read.” —TeenVogue.com, “Why New Book Holding Up the Universe Is the Next The Fault in Our Stars”
"Want a love story that will give you all the feels? . . . You'll seriously melt!" —Seventeen Magazine
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 from her house by a crane, senior Jack Masselin has prosopagnosia (face blindness), and they meet when Jack whose friends, girlfriend, and huge Afro are designed to protect the cool-guy persona he uses to disguise his condition goes along with the horrible game of "Fat Girl Rodeo." Libby's size and backstory make her a target, but she can dance again, and she's smart, brave, bitingly funny, and no one's victim (as Jack finds out when she slugs him). Meanwhile, Jack is isolated, angry, and guilty about the compromises he has made. As the semester progresses, they suffer through detention and counseling, Libby makes friends and contends with bullying, Jack opens up to her about his face blindness, and they move carefully into romantic territory. Niven makes the novel's improbable setup work, avoiding the suggestion that happiness lies in thinness as she creates two indelible characters and a heart-stopping romance. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book made me reflect on many different moments in my life and helped me understand more about how crappy people can be and how to understand and forgive them. I also loved the To Kill a Mockingbird quotes! Great book ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
It's was an amazing book! I highly recommend it! I was never able to put it down!
A breath of fresh air!
HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE by Jennifer Niven is a breath of fresh air! When an author releases their 2nd novel, I always get nervous that they’ll suffer from the sophomore slump. Fortunately Niven is a well-seasoned veteran (she’s written a TON of Adult novels & Non-Fiction), so it goes without saying this book was fantastic.
Libby and Jack are teenagers with two debilitating issues: for Libby it’s her extreme weight; and for Jack, it’s a rare disorder (which he’s kept secret) that prevents him from recognizing faces. The two are unexpectedly drawn together and discover a deep connection. What entails is a beautiful, emotional, and truly sweet story of love, friendship, and self-discovery. Libby & Jack (flawed as he is) are both characters worth rooting for.
Niven is an extremely gifted writer. I adored ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES and wasn’t sure if she could top herself. But she has managed to write an equally compelling and beautiful novel. I was also grateful for a bit happier of an ending this time around.
Grab yourself a copy ASAP!
Note: I received a FREE ARC (advanced reader copy) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.