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A Book Review: Holding Up the Universe



One of my favorite things to do is read books and tell people about them. If you know me, or have had me as teacher, you know for certain that at some point in our relationship, or in a very brief conversation, I shared a book with you. I love reading books from many different genres, no matter how old the book may be. Any good book is relevant whether it's 200 years old or two months old. So, sometimes, I may give a review on books that may not be new to the shelf, but is certainly relevant.


I share just because, IT's A GOOD BOOK!


How I Came to Reading this Book

A while back, I did a book review on All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Usually, when I finish reading a book, if it's good, I continue to turn the pages to see if the author had anything else to say about the book. After the "Authors Note," for All the Bright Places, Niven included the first chapter of her next book, Holding Up the Universe. After reading the first few pages of the book I was intrigued! And, I had to read it.


Brief Synopsis (I promise... no spoilers)


Libby Strout is our eleventh grade protagonist. This school year will be her first year back after six years of being homeschooled. She lives with her dad who is still slowly recovering from his wife's death. Libby is now doing much better since her mom's death, but struggled immensely when it first happened. Libby sunk into such a deep depression that she begin to eat herself to death...literally. She stopped going to school because kids at school begin to pick on her so badly. When Libby got too big to even leave the house, her father had to call the fire station to get her to an hospital. Libby had to be cut from her home because there was no other way to get her out. To make matters worse, the entire incident was captured on live television.


Our supporting character is Jack Masselin. Jack is the cool kid at school. Everyone loves him! He's the typical popular kid with perfect hair (afro), perfect girl friend, and perfect friends. What the kids at school don't know is that Jack hates being popular . Jack suffers from a disease called prosopagnosia which in simple terms means someone who has face blindness. Whenever Jack leaves a room, no matter if he's known you for years, when he returns, he has no recollection of who you are. So, imagine walking down a busy school hallway, full of over 1,000 faces and you have no clue who any of them are. Imagine if your girl friend of two years walks up to you, in said hallway, and wraps her arms around your neck, or your best friend walks up to you and says, "What's up?" That would be pretty weird if you had no clue who they are, right? Wouldn't it be even weirder if they didn't know you were struggling with this disease? Jack hates being popular because he feels lost every time he steps out the front door and his main concern is just making it through each day without anyone knowing...even his parents.


When Jack meets the fearless Libby Strout, she is 300 pounds lighter. After her first day back in public school she is contemplating going back to being home schooled. Some kids at school have figured out who she is ("America's Fatest Teen") and starting to make this transition even harder for her. On this particular day, Jack's goofy/destructive friends coerce him into a ruthless dare. Reluctantly, he agrees even though he knows just how embarrassing this could be to the other party involved. In this case it's Libby.


Why Should You Read It?

This book will keep you turning the pages until the very end. I couldn't put the book down because I wanted to see if Libby would actually make the school's high profile dance team? I wanted to know if Jack would ever tell his parents and his friends that he can't remember their faces. I especially wanted to know if Libby and Jack would become a couple or remain enemies and why this the book is called Holding Up the Universe. If you are in the mood for a page turner go pick up, Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven.

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