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Holding Up the Universe

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  77,545 ratings  ·  8,436 reviews
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 l ...more
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published April 4th 2016)
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J. Toops Hi Emily, this thread isn't current, but I thought I'd chime in. Prosopagnosia can make life difficult when you combine it with other issues that affe…moreHi Emily, this thread isn't current, but I thought I'd chime in. Prosopagnosia can make life difficult when you combine it with other issues that affect social functioning (such as innate introversion). Such as large company meetings, networking if you're in student council or have a job that requires that kind of thing. It is embarrassing at PTA meetings if you're a parent and you've met people for the umpteenth time and they talk to you like they know you and have absolutely no idea what prosopagnosia is (and really don't care to learn). It is scary if you apply it to club/party situations where there is a possibility of assault, but you cannot identify the perpetrator. I've been dealing with this for 45 years, was born with it, and yes, for some people it really is a big deal that affects your family (my husband has been embarrassed and appalled that I couldn't identify him at places), friends (hard to make and retain friends when you can't identify them as they walk towards you at the coffee shop), and employment (most entry-level jobs that aren't data entry are overwhelming and exhausting because you have to recognize repeat customers/clients). After a while, you do feel broken if you do not receive the support and understanding of others around you. "Broken" is a perception, a feeling, that one acquires after negative feedback; sadly, kids and young adults (and adults) are guilty of providing this in bucketfuls.

Hope you are enjoying your other reading!(less)
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Lotte Versteegen
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Emily May
Oct 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
“Maybe no boy will love me or want to touch me ever, even in a dark room, even after an apocalypse when all the skinny girls have been wiped off the earth by some horrible plague. Maybe one day I can be thinner than I am now and have a boyfriend who loves me, but I’ll still be a liar.”

I was going to give this book two stars because, honestly, it started well. It was compelling and didn't seem as offensive as the blurb had been, but the more I think about it, the more that doesn't seem to be
Jan 25, 2016 marked it as to-read
05/05/2016: WE HAVE A COVER <3!!!!

My reaction to everyone saying this book is offensive....
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At first I wasn't going to say anything but then the comments and review updates on here and Twitter started to really hit a nerve with me. So HERE WE GO.

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To everyone saying that this book/synopsis is offensive, how about we stop and take a moment to consider the fact that A) Maybe she didn't write the synopsis B) Maybe it's how the character feels about herself C) Maybe, just maybe this is
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Welcome to the internet in the year 2016. Where a simple book blurb broke the internet for a few days. A teenage girl who was rescued from her house because her weight kept her a prisoner. Then through in a statement about how she is returning to high school aka..the real world after being homeschooled.
commercial photography locations

I KNOW!! Let's all run and one star and bash the book.


And all you guys thought I was the biggest bully on here didn't you?

Because I had (for once) stopped to think about what the book
Jan 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-star, 2017-read

I read All the Bright Places last year and ended up dnfing it because I had huge problems with basically every aspect of it. I’m actually really proud of myself for finishing this even though I did skim read the last 25% of it. Honestly, when this book first came out I saw the authors name and instantly avoided this book. However, after seeing a lot of people give it 5 stars – despite all of the problematic aspects I had seen – I decided to pick this book up for the
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
You know I don't care what anyone thinks, I just loved the hell out of this book! I happy cried so many times in this book. And there will probably be some *SPOILERS* I don't know, my feels right now are out of control.


This review is going to be all over the place because I'm crazy and that's just the way it is.

I love Libby so much! In this book she has so much courage. Even when she was low and things hurt her, she had courage like no one I know. Those hateful, horrible kids said some of the
C.G. Drews
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was equal parts special and frustrating for me. But definitely more emphasis on the special. There were moments when my Vulcan soul FAILED ME COMPLETELY and I turned into a mush of squishy feels. FEEEEEEEELS. I think Jennifer Niven is a WIZARD OF FEELS STABBING and I love her for it. Omg. I did love this book. I did. But there were several things that made me pout in a puddle but I'll get to them in a moment. PATIENCE, GRASSHOPPER.

Also: this is not as devastating as All the Bright Places. h
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
REREAD! I fell in love with this book allll over again! I adore Libby. I adore what she stands for. I love what this book stands for. The hope it instills. How personal it is to the author and how appreciative I am that she shared her story with us. I'm rooting for this book! I'm rooting for myself. I'm rooting for all the readers who have ever felt less than. As Libby would say about herself, ‘I am magic!’, and so, as are you.

Initial review!
I'm sure a lot of you will remember the ton of backla
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
ah, yes. so here we are again. the classic case of ‘i can appreciate this book for the story that it is, but it definitely didnt live up to its potential.’

and i wonder if thats mainly my own fault, and not the books. ‘all the bright places’ is one my favourite novels ever. its emotionally compelling, lovingly tender, and naturally raw - everything this book is not. so is it fair to judge a different book by the same author when you know they are capable of doing better?

i mean, i really like the
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 stars!

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Holding Up the Universe was an interesting and moving read with complex characters and a unique storyline. I listened the the audio version of this book and once I hit play, I didn’t want to stop. When I read All the Bright Places earlier this year, I had the same feeling of being hooked. I’m happy to report the author was able to pull this off not once, but twice.

Our story centers around Libby Strout and Jack Masselin. Libby is formally ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. She’s spent a lot
Steph Sinclair
Edit: Looks like they updated the synopsis.


I hope this book is less offensive than the synopsis.
Aj the Ravenous Reader
“I know what you’re thinking- if you hate it so much and it’s such a burden, just lose the weight, and then that job will go away. But I’m comfortable where I am. I may lose more weight. I may not. But why should what I weigh affect other people? I mean unless I’m sitting on them, who cares?”

To be honest, I was not a fan of All the Bright Places and I wouldn’t have been this curious about Holding Up the Universe had it not been for the controversy that erupted long before its release. But th
Charnell (Reviews from a Bookworm)
I don't usually rate before reading but I am doing it here. If others who haven't read it can give it a 1 based on a synopsis, then I feel free to rate it a 5/5 before reading.

I have a few questions:

1. Why are people getting annoyed and commenting that a 'skinny' author shouldn't be writing about a 'fat' person?!? Are we saying that authors should only write about what they are? No more white authors writing about anything other than a white character then. George R.R. Martin please stop publish
For everyone who felt that this book is offensive and fat-shaming and trying to garner attention by portraying cognitive disorder - PLEASE KNOW THAT, THIS IS AN #OWNVOICES STORY. JENNIFER NIVEN HERSELF HAD OBESITY ISSUES AND THE PROSOPAGNOSIA PLOT-POINT WAS INSPIRED BY SOMEONE SHE PERSONALLY KNEW. You’d know this if you read the Author’s note. And let’s all give the author space to write about what she wants. Thanks.

image source: Patty's review

Holding Up The Universe is narrated in the point of
♛ may
There are many things that irritate me about this book, but irritate is a strong word compared to how I feel, because honestly, I just feel so INDIFFERENT towards everything and everyone

And that’s probably why this tragedy happened. If you’re looking for the problem*tic aspects of this book, idk it didn’t really find it to be offensive.


- Personally, I LOVED all the bright places, like it killed me with the ending and I felt so sad inside but I also loved it
- But this book was kinda a let down
i received an advance copy of this book from the author.

let me begin by saying i wrote my first review of this book nearly 6 months ago. i have been anticipating this book since i finished all the bright places in march of last year. i have been waiting for this copy to show up on my front porch, eagerly, for a month. atbp was one of my favorite reads of last year and the book that got me into reading, the book that fills the first posts of my bookstagram account.

so my expectations were high.

& d
Ben Alderson
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable read from Jennifer.
It touched your feels completely differently way compared to All the bright places.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book, completely filled with diversity.

This is an important lesson to teens, be tolerable and don't follow the crowds.
may ➹
// buddy read with yam
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

“Remember this: YOU ARE WANTED. Big, small, short, pretty, plain, friendly, shy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, not even yourself.

Especially not yourself.”

So this is the super offensive book that no one wanted to read due to a reference in the blurb about how the main character was so fat she had to be removed from her house with a crane. Have none of y’all ever seen My 600 Pound Life???? This wasn’t “fat shaming,” i
Elyse  Walters
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I wanted to 'feel' emotions like I did in "All The Bright Places". I was sooooo in the mood for a "All in the Bright Places" repeat-type-experience---that the disappointment that I wasn't going to have my desire filled, only added to my already blue mood I've been in this week. It's not the author fault.

I've read a couple of other books about Prosopagnosia (not having the ability to recognize faces of familiar people). One was a non- fiction book. The other was a fiction- mystery-thriller story
Oct 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
So glad that the fifteen year old me didn't read this then I would've been all like "oh I'm fat but my life won't get better until I find a hot guy lol". I see no point in the whole story. ...more
Larry H
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars on this one.

Don't go into reading Jennifer Niven's new novel, Holding Up the Universe , thinking this is going to be identical to the phenomenal All the Bright Places (which made my list of the best books I read last year), in tone or the emotional power of its subject matter. I don't say this to denigrate Niven's new book in any way—I think with this book she set out to tell a different and more personal story, yet one with slightly more universal themes.

Jan 26, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
just gonna say my opinion, how is the author being offensive towards overweight people? we ALL know overweight people can often be picked on for their size, and if anything the author could just be showing how highschoolers can be horrible and judgemental, and the protagonist is beat down by it, but gets back up and goes back to face old tormentors. which i think is a great way to tell people who deal with bullying that IT CAN GET BETTER, it may take time, but it can happen if you get the right ...more
Rachel Reads Ravenously
4 stars!

“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader”

This book shocked me with how much I enjoyed it! Holding Up the Universe is about Libby and Jack. A couple years back Libby had gained so much weight that she needed to be rescued from her house to be saved. Jack has a secret, he cannot recognize faces, not even his own.

The two become conne
***Actual Rating: 3.5/5 Jabby Stars***

”I want you to know I’m rooting for you.”

It’s interesting that how little time(1~2 days) I spent devouring 84% of the book but I had a hard time(3 days) swallowing the last 16%. Although it’s not entirely a negative sign, it’s indeed something worth discussing about for me.

Libby Strout is a girl who never stopped eating for 3 years after her mother died accidentally when she was 10 and she got the reputation of “America’s Fattest Teen” before
Mar 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars / Audiobook / Enjoyable Narrators

I think I need to refrain from reading / listening to YA novels for a little while so with that being said I am not going to review this one.
Initial reaction reading this book: I don't know if I'm angry at this book as much as I am just completely left exhausted and drained by this book, and not even in a fulfilling way. (I mean, I've been left completely gutted by Courtney Summers and Lauren Oliver's narratives before, but in ways that made me feel like I identified with the weight of the character's struggles and situations, and to me, the characters they crafted were dimensional, well-thought out, and kept me reading to see what w ...more
Brian Yahn
Sep 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: dnf
From the description, it sounded like All the Bright Places meets Bone Gap -- which sign me the fuck up!

But in practice, I couldn't get past the first 10%. It seemed like Jennifer Niven spent the whole time trying to convince me these characters were interesting, rather than them actually being interesting. It wasn't that the story was bad, it's just that--after reading All the Bright Places--I have such high regard of Jennifer Niven that I didn't want this to ruin it.

Think I'll try Velva Jean L
This was just as amazing as I was expecting it to be.

Jack and Libby are fantastic characters who took me on a roller coaster of feels. I was gleeful, swooning, heartbroken, and cheering. There are positive and present parents {which I always delight in seeing} and one little brother I wanted to squeeze.

Yes, there are some horrible moments. Yes, there is bullying. Yes, there were some characters that I wanted to jump into the book and make them walk barefoot on Legos. But, there is growth. Ther
Taylor Knight
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is fantastic. It's real, honest, and extremely refreshing. I honestly don't know why so many people (who haven't even read the book) are hating on it.
This book is about a fat girl and a boy who hides his mental illness. It has characters that are so relatable and self aware. And first off, "fat" isn't an offensive word. It's a descriptive word. And there's nothing wrong with it. Second, I personally didn't think this book romanized mental illness. That's a personal opinion but I didn'
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Jennifer Niven is the Emmy Award-winning #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of ten books, including All the Bright Places and Holding up the Universe. Her books have been translated in over 75 languages, and All the Bright Places has won literary awards around the world, including the GoodReads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fiction of 2015. It was named a Best Book of the Y ...more

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