Caitlin's Reviews > Holding Up the Universe

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
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did not like it
bookshelves: 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 roast.

Honestly, you can read the blurb and be offended. I sure was. The blurb is a joke, just like the rest of the book. I’m honestly so sick of contemporaries in the present day that are just based around putting 2 characters in the worst possible situation and then forcing them to fall in love – I say forcing because there is 0 chemistry between these characters. I swear some authors just have a big long list of mental illnesses, diseases or unfortunate scenarios that they scroll down and eeny, meeny, miny, moe which ones they will choose. Dead parent for you, random illness for you, a bit of anxiety on the side as well as extreme obesity and we’ve got our perfect story!!!! Everyone will definitely love it!!!!! I strongly question the motives behind writing a novel such as this one.


I’m trying to decide whether I hate Libby or Jack more. I think it must be Libby because dammit she’s annoying as all hell. I actually sent my friends 14 different video rants and then another couple text rants about how annoying this bitch is. In case you forgot I don’t think you could possibly forget because she mentions it every single sentence, Libby was once the World’s Fattest Teen and she’s still obese but she has lost a bit of weight. My main problem with her is that she really does not want to be known as the fat girl anymore but she’s CONSTANTLY talking about it. Her entire inner monologue is just about her weight and omfg it was so infuriating. Also, when she becomes friends with another fat girl she legit says ”she talks about her weight a lot.” You’re telling me that this bitch who constantly talks about being fat is complaining that her other fat friend talks about her weight a lot. What on Earth is this bullshit.

Also, let’s not forget that on her first day of school she walked in and said this to herself:
"Somewhere in this school could be a boy I fall in love with. One of these fine young men might be the one who at long last claims my heart and my body. I am the Pauline Potter of Martin Van Buren High School. I am going to sex the rest of this weight right off me.”

Let’s also not forget that when she describes her bed, she has to clarify that this is NOT the bed she had when she was trapped in her house because she was so fat:
“I lie on my bed—not the same bed I spent twenty-four hours a day on, back when I couldn’t leave the house, but a new one we bought after I lost some weight."


Jack was just a straight up annoying douche and the only thing I liked about this entire book is that he told his little brother that it’s okay if he takes a purse to school because he can do whatever he wants. I appreciate that. I think Jack says it best when he describes himself by saying he really looks like an asshole . I agree, Jack. I agree. But then a few chapters later he says that the song “Sexy Back” is something that should be played when he walks somewhere. For the love of God please shut up Jack.

Also every other character in this story, like in All the Bright Places, offers absolutely nothing to the storyline and they only add to that awful stereotype that “everyone in high school is an asshole” and “the world is against me because everyone hates me in school”.

A major problem I have with this authors work in general is that the characters are incredibly one dimensional. Hell, I think it'd be too complex for them to even have a favourite colour - that's how much depth they have. Like in All the Bright Places, these characters are only their physical traits or illnesses and that is extremely harmful. I know that these things can be all consuming but there's a HUGE difference between it being all consuming and it being your entire personality and story.

If you ignore all of the above problems, this book is still crappy. It’s just a badly written “love story” where 2 characters act like idiots and then “fall in love” despite there being no chemistry. Also, don’t forget that Jack can’t recognise anyone’s face. Ever. BUT DON’T WORRY BECAUSE AT LEAST HE CAN RECOGNISE LIBBY. I mean isn’t that just an amazing loophole. I honestly am not entirely sure if that is a legit thing that could happen. I tried googling it but I couldn’t find anything decent about whether there are actually loopholes. Never forget guys, love can cure everything - including mental illnesses, obesity and MOST IMPORTANTLY RANDOM BRAIN ILLNESSES THAT MAKE YOU FORGET EVERYONES FACE!!!!!!! Just fall in love and you're fixed.

These are not the type of books we need in our lives and I would not recommend this book to anyone.

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Reading Progress

December 8, 2016 – Shelved
December 8, 2016 – Shelved as: couldnt-pay-me-to-read-this
January 9, 2017 – Started Reading
January 9, 2017 –
page 1
0.26% "Reading this purely for the roast. Please do take bets on how long I'll actually last reading this - I only made it half way through all the bright places before I wanted to shoot myself in the face so please adjust your suggestions to that."
January 9, 2017 –
7.0% ""Somewhere in this school could be a boy I fall in love with. One of these fine young men might be the one who at long last claims my heart and my body. I am the Pauline Potter of Martin Van Buren High School. I am going to sex the rest of this weight right off me.” \n\nI honestly wish that this quote was a joke but this AN ACTUAL THING THAT SHE JUST SAID "
January 9, 2017 –
11.0% "This is extremely problematic"
January 9, 2017 –
20.0% "“I lie on my bed—not the same bed I spent twenty-four hours a day on, back when I couldn’t leave the house, but a new one we bought after I lost some weight."\n\nCan someone explain to me why on Earth this detail was necessary? Why did she have to point out AGAIN just how fat she was - her entire personality is just solely focused around how fat she was and it's pissing me off. "
January 9, 2017 –
41.0% "I really hate this idea that by punching someone and getting into a fight you're instantly made into a hero. Violence isn't the answer."
January 9, 2017 –
43.0% "I'm sorry but I can't even be nice about it, this is the dumbest shit I've ever read."
January 9, 2017 –
90.0% "Doesn't matter how big the obstacle, we can always get out around it because this is a romance book after all."
January 9, 2017 –
95.0% "So you're telling me that even though this guy can never remember faces, he can remember hers? Okay, brilliant romance. 10 claps for you."
January 9, 2017 – Shelved as: 1-star
January 9, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-read
January 9, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jiana (new) - added it

Jiana omg i love this review

message 2: by Savannah (new) - added it

Savannah Stewart I'm sorry it didn't work 4 u! hope u find a better book to get that piece of trash off ur mind.

sofia (sam willows) Been looking forward to this the entire day. Great review!

Caitlin ahahahahahahaha thank you!

may ❀ I'm been waiting for this review all of 2017. y a s girl

Caitlin Ahahahahahahahahahha yessssss may

The Dyslexic Bookworm That was an excellent review. I'm honestly contemplating now on whether to read both of these books.

Caitlin LunaticBookLover wrote: "That was an excellent review. I'm honestly contemplating now on whether to read both of these books."

Ahaha thank you! I clearly didn't like either of them and I wouldn't recommend them but if you choose to pick them up I hope you enjoy them :)

message 9: by Joshee Kun (new) - added it

Joshee Kun (조수아) I love this review! I salute you for your eloquence! :D <3 I just bought this book 2 weeks ago, so I shall see if I'll hate it, too. xD

Caitlin Joshua Gabriel wrote: "I love this review! I salute you for your eloquence! :D <3 I just bought this book 2 weeks ago, so I shall see if I'll hate it, too. xD"

I hope you like it more than I did, Josh. Thanks though!!

✨    jamieson   ✨ All the Bright Places was honestly for me just a shit fucking book and lbr if I ever read this which I won't it would be for the ROAST too

This is such a good review Caitlin I love it

message 12: by La Coccinelle (new)

La Coccinelle Could he recognize her because she was fat? There must be some sort of way that people with that condition can recognize other people. How could they function at all without freaking out every time they went home and found a bunch of strangers in their house?

message 13: by JDR (new)

JDR Good roast. I liked the roast.

message 14: by alyssa (new)

alyssa Sorry this didn't work out for you! Hope your next one is better! :)

Caitlin Earlier he thought it was because she was fat that he could recognise her but then it was because he loved her???? like he remembered everything about her all of a sudden????

message 16: by Madelyn (new)

Madelyn Marie Um I won't read this book because it sounds awful but anyone who would like to read an actual good book about a protagonist who can't recognize faces who falls in love with an unconventionally attractive girl: bone gap. And it's not entirely focused on romance, either. That's just a subplot. Very good!!

message 17: by Alexis (new)

Alexis  (TheSlothReader) I hated AtBP and I immediately was like nope, never picking up anything by Jennifer Niven ever again

message 18: by Ze (new)

Ze Terrific review! And now I won't even consider reading this book.. Thank you for saving me from the waste of time this book seems to be

may ❀ I love the moral of the story, it's so touching and sweet. Love saves all. So beautiful. <3 <3 <3
Great review, Caitlan. :) :)

Caitlin AHAHAHAHA thanks though

message 21: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Leehane I'm with Ze.

message 22: by Agewen (new)

Agewen Stifford This review is so helpful:))

Caitlin Glad you liked it!

Sarah I just finished reading this book, myself, and while I gave a slightly rating (3 stars, calling 3.5 in my very brief review), this review is so on point. I almost DNF'd the book when Libby and Jack went on their date and Libby was waxing poetic about imagining a future with Jack and naming their imaginary daughter Beatrice.

Milica You're deadass Caroline. We've found you.

Caitlin @Milica ????? 😂

message 27: by ambsreads (new) - added it

ambsreads Who the fuck is Caroline????

message 28: by Jesse (new) - added it

Jesse Lol i loved all the bright places! It made me cry and emotional all the same time! Its even on my favorites shelf but i dnf-ed this book bc basically all libby talks about was her weight and i decided to stop before i could hate her even more

Denisa Lesniaková hahahha I am currently reading this book and your review just made me laugh so much. srsly this book is boring af. I´m not that annoyed with the characters I just don´t care about them but the biggest problem I have with it is that EVERY EFFING SENTECNE they are either talking about obesity or that mental illness ugh.

message 30: by Miriam (new)

Miriam This review is hilarious. Thank you.

Carolina this review was spot on, I was really disappointed because I read a lot of misleading reviews about it being a heartbreaking novel but honestly it was so bad. The whole thing just used worn out stereotypes and the same falling in love, fighting and then realizing these two are in love again scenario. I agree there was no chemistry between them and it was just dumb how contradicting she was throughout the whole thing. The whole thing about Jack only remembering her face thing is bs. He loves his little brother tremendously and has obviously known him for longer than hes known Libby so how come he remembers her face and not his brothers. I wish I'd come across this review before wasting an entire school day reading this book.

message 32: by Betsy (new)

Betsy This was convincing enough for me to NOT read this book.

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