Holding up the universe by Jennifer Niven || Review

I read this book for the #bookentine read-a-thon. Although I did a wrap up for that, I just knew I needed to write a full review for this book because I just have so many feelings about it. I'd heard a lot about Jennifer Niven and her other book 'all the bright places'. I was actually more interested in reading this one though, and I am so glad I finally did!

Author: Jennifer Niven Series: Standalone Published on: 4th October 2016 Genres: Young adult, contemporary  Format: E-Book  Source: Purchased


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 recognise 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 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.

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My Rating
Libby and Jack and the best main characters ever. I love the way this book was told from both of their POV's, it made it extremely interesting and I couldn't stop reading!

Libby is one of the best female MC's I've ever read. Having once been named the 'fattest teen in America', Libby spent most of her life trapped in her bedroom. At the beginning of the book Libby has lost weight and although she isn't what people would call 'skinny' she is completely happy with where she is (and she's proud of herself, as she should be!)

✶  Libby is who I want to be like. She has the fire in her that I wish I had, and she is unequivocally herself, no matter what. She knows she's bigger than a lot of other people, but she doesn't care. She's happy, and she let's everyone know it. 

✶  Jack was also amazing. His character was so complex. He had prosopagnosia but nobody knows. Not even his family. Jack can't recognise faces so he acts like a jerk at school so that no one will find out and bully him for it. He does a pretty good job of it but when you read from his POV you can see that he isn't really a jerk, just acting like one. 

I loved reading from the POV of someone with prosopagnosia. Although I can't say if it was accurate or not, I found really insightful and interesting. I've never read about this condition in a book before so it was something new.

I could go on with my likes for FOREVER. So I'm just going to say this. It's the best contemporary I've ever read. I loved the characters and the story and everything. It made me feel so good and empowered and I loved it!

 *(there's not many but i'll give it a go...)
There are some tropes that kind of bother me. The mean girl trope. She's a popular, gorgeous, a dancer and she's a bitch. I don't know, I'm just fed up of this trope and I'm tired of girl hate. It's so overdone and it's completely unnecessary. 

Overall I massively enjoyed this book and everything about it. I'd highly recommend it!
Have you read this book? Or Jennifer Niven's other book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!


  1. I don't like the mean girls trope as well. That sucks because I've enjoyed her debut and I have a copy of this novel. It's a hard limit for me, unfortunately. :(

    1. Yeah it's the only thing about this book that bothered me, but I was willing to overlook it because I loved the rest of the book so much!

  2. I so want to read this. I loved her other book so much that I just need to get this one already. Glad you loved it. Great review!

    1. It's definitely one that I recommend, I really enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I've been holding off reading this because of all the great things said about it (weird, i know). So glad to know you loved it though. I've never read anything that involves Prosopagnosia. So this will definitely be a new thing for me. Great review, Kirsty!

    1. I get what you mean! I went into this without having any expectations really because I haven't read her other book all the bright places yet and that might be another reason why I enjoyed it so much! Thanks for visiting <3