Holding up the Universe - Jennifer Niven
***'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.' (Goodreads)
I was a big fan of Niven's All The Bright Places when it first came out, but I wasn't as desperate to get Holding up the Universe. I don't know why, but it never seemed like a book I would enjoy. But when I found it in Oxfam a few weeks ago I decided to give it a go.
Holding up the Universe deals with two issues that aren't usually found in books - being overweight and having an illness that gets in the way of daily life (prosopagnosia). And I admire Niven for approaching the more difficult topics, especially for introducing an overweight character - something that is well overdue becoming a norm in YA.
And I wanted to love it. I really, really did. I was so excited to start reading it but it was just... meh. It dragged and there didn't even seem to be any real plot. I ended up skimming the last half of the book because I wanted to finish it, but it was just boring.
I've strayed off reading a lot of YA lately because of the whole girl meets boy and boy saves girl (or the other way around) way they tend to go. It's just unoriginal and unrealistic, and this seemed to just be another one of those. It's just way too predictable in YA romances and getting cringe-y now. Why can't they just save themselves?
I really hoped it would be an emotional rollercoaster like All The Bright Places but nope! It was just all so flat and droning.
I hate writing bad reviews, and usually just don't write about the books I don't like, but now I'm trying to write about everything I read. I know a lot of people who love this book and each to their own! It just wasn't my thing. At all.
I'm just gutted. I really thought this would be good.
Go try it for yourself though - I might just be too picky lately after reading so many amazing books.
But please buy from local bookshops if you can!