Sunday, 11 December 2016

Review - Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Title: Holding Up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Pages: 432
Publisher: Penguin
Release date: 6th October 2016

Blurb from Goodreads: 
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 see who she really is. Since her mum'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. 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 art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a 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, but he can't understand what's going on with the inner workings of his own 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, Libby and Jack are both angry, 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.

My Review:
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Penguin Books (UK) and NetGalley*

Libby Strout was once known as 'America's Fattest Teen'. After her mother's death, Libby dealt with her grief by eating and gained so much weight that she had to be lifted out of her house by a crane. Now Libby is returning to high school having lost weight and she plans to make the most of her time there.
Jack Masselin may act confident and like he doesn't have a care in the world but he's hiding a secret - Jack has prosopagnosia. He can't recognise faces, not even those of his family. Instead of looking at someone and knowing who they are straight away, Jack has to look for characteristics that make them who they are.
After a childish game goes wrong, Jack and Libby find themselves in counselling. As the two spend more time together, they grow closer.

Holding Up the Universe was an interesting, diverse read.

Libby is probably one of my favourite protagonists ever. She was very strong and determined. I felt sorry for her after what she'd been through and for how people treated her. It was refreshing to read a book with an overweight main character.
I liked Jack as well. He covered up his confusion with confidence and I could understand why he didn't want to tell people that he had prosopagnosia.
I had never heard of prosopagnosia before and I can't imagine how hard what it must be to have it. It was different to read about a character who had a neurological problem like this.
The plot was interesting and along with the writing style it held my attention.

Overall this was an interesting, diverse read that I would recommend.