C.G. Drews's Reviews > Holding Up the Universe

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, young-adult, read-2016

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. hahhaahha. THANK YOU. I DON'T FEEL LIKE MY HEART JUST GOT RIPPED OUT. But the whole time I was absolutely dreading the ending....so I actually have all the thumping gasping feels anyway because I WAS SO WORRIED. Ahem.

I'm having a crisis. Nevermind me.

So this story is about being seen, basically. It's equal parts about Libby (who is known as the "fattest teen in America") and Jack (who has prosopagnosia). I reeeally loved the storyline. It was so poignant and beautifully written. Like hold my cupcake, Bob, I need to yell THE WRITING OF JENNIFER NIVEN IS SOMETHING GORGEOUS TO BE UPHELD ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS. I love it. It gets me in the feels and makes me want to do glorious things. I loved the messages of self-worth and I loooved how everything tied together.

Brief List Of Other Things I Loved:
• There are Supernatural references. SO MANY SUPERNATURAL REFERENCES. #win
• There is much diversity of colour, size, and (briefly) sexuality.
• Jack has a gorgeous afro and a deep love of his hair and this pleases me greatly because HAIR APPRECIATION IS MY THING.

I love love looooooved Jack. I GOTTA ADMIT HE IS A PRECIOUS CINNAMON ROLL OF BAD DECISIONS. He really makes sucky decisions. And he is a coward a bit. But at the same time I related to him a lot because of the face-blind aspect. I don't have prosopagnosia, but I struggle to recognise people's faces to a mild degree and I fail at reading emotions on faces completely -- so just the fact that Jack could walk into a room of people and have NO IDEA WHO THEY WERE OR WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF HIM was so relatable AND IT NEARLY MADE ME CRY.

Libby...I struggled with a lot. This is because she has a very self-righteous attitude and she makes just as many dumb decisions as Jack -- but yet she doesn't seem to ever be sorry about them? At least Jack recognised he was a JERK. Whereas Libby just justified herself. Plus there was a scene at the end (view spoiler). But I loved all the self-love Libby talked about and how she had SUCH epic slap-backs to the bullies. Like let me applaud.

AND DID I MENTION THERE IS SO MUCH DANCING?!?!? I love it. Jack and Libby just DANCE and it is the most simply beautiful thing of ever. THESE PRECIOUS CHILDREN OF HEART ACHE AND SORROW. <3

I also totally got squished with emotions. Mainly "omg this is adorable" and "omg I can't even with how much I love them" and "please do not let my precious adorable cinnamon roll Jack die because I love him so". Gaahhhhhhhhh...I loved this.

I mean, there are a few negatives. Aside from not really connecting with Libby at all, I was surprised that there wasn't much variation in the settings. I didn't really understand a lot of the characters motivations. Like why wouldn't Jack tell his parents he's face-blind?? And why wouldn't Libby go to the principal when she was bullied, yet she told other students to go to the principal when they were bullied?? I IS THE CONFUSED. Also Jack can't recognise his family (fair; he has a disorder and this makes sense) but even in his own home he says stuff like "the man I assume is my father"...which makes no sense, in my opinion, because heck, who else would it be?? I can recognise my family coming down the stairs without even looking at them. Maybe this is just picky: but there was a lot of repetition whenever he was with his family about him figuring out who was who despite it being pretty obvious with faces aside. I mean, he has ONE FEMALE (mother) in his house. Of course it's going to be his mother tell him to put the coffee down or whatnot???

All in all: duuuude, this story is a precious little universe and I could not put it down. I COULD NOT!! Every time I did, I wanted to snatch it back up again. I adored Jack and his lion-mane afro and his swagger. And I looove books that want to talk about self-worth and not hiding and just BEING YOU, because these are some of the most important things to talk about of ever. THE WRITING IS DIVINE AND I JUST HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS WHAT IS THIS.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Jennifer Niven
“I think what an amazing world this would be if we all danced everywhere we went.”
Jennifer Niven, Holding Up the Universe

Reading Progress

October 5, 2016 – Started Reading
October 5, 2016 – Shelved
October 5, 2016 –
page 0
October 5, 2016 –
page 34
8.7% "Is that a Supernatural reference I see?! OH I HAVE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS BOOK."
October 5, 2016 –
page 141
36.06% "Jack is very precious tho."
October 5, 2016 –
page 245
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
October 6, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
October 6, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by Tandie (new) - added it

Tandie My Vulcan soul sister - LL&P. :-D

Emily Mead I'm still confused about my thoughts on this. It was like Jennifer Niven had to pick the most EXTREME case of face-blindness and the most EXTREME case of being fat, just to create more conflict? But I don't know, that could just be me. I felt the whole not-being-able-to-recognise-your-family thing was odd, too, because like you, I can tell you they are without having to look at them. Same with my friends.


@Emily: Yeeeeah, I get that too. :/ I mean, I didn't mind the extreme faceblindness SO much because I've read another book with it to that extent so I was expecting it. But then at the end when (view spoiler) But you can DEFINITELY identify family easily without looking!!

Jasmine Great review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book because it's one of my most coveted books so far this year. :D

message 5: by Ashley (new) - added it

Ashley Elliott I MUST READ THIS.

Firefly neeeeed thisssss



Slaa!!! YA I FEEL U because I was kind of like. Can't he recognize his parents' voices? The sound of their footsteps? Etc etc like SOMETHING MAYBE

Gabriela Fonseca luna DUSTY IS THE BEST

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