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Holding Up the Universe

Written by: Jennifer Niven
Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the New York Times best-seller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone - and love someone - for who they truly are.

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 recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He's the guy who can reengineer and rebuild anything in new and badass ways, 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.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are - and seeing them right back.

©2016 Jennifer Niven (P)2016 Listening Library

What the critics say

"[Niven] creates two indelible characters and a heart-stopping romance." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Written in short chapters of alternating perspectives, this is a thoughtful exploration of identity and self-acceptance, with commentary on overcoming adversities that will hit close to home." ( School Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sophie Beever
  • 2017-04-01

Decent Story

It wasn't horrible, certainly, but I guess I was just expecting more. I knew the ending before the halfway point and the closer it got to the ending the more I felt the author just rushed to finish. The relationship between the main characters felt inauthentic at times, and it took some time to warm up to Jorjeana Marie's (voice of Libby) speech style and cadence. All in all it's a decent read if you're used to Jennifer's writing style and want a simple teen "love story". Definitely won't make my reread list, though.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • FanB14
  • 2016-11-13

We Need Diverse Books

Niven follows the movement and offers an obese heroine and a hero with prosopagnosia. In the world of YA, her writing style is engaging as was this book. Her first, All the Bright Places, was amazing. This one is interesting, but lacks the connection between the two main characters. They just started liking each other after a rather traumatizing beginning and I never understood why. Seemed a little forced.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Doha
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 2016-12-10

Interesting Concept .. annoying story

I was so interesting to pick this up as it got so much hype across all bookish platform, and I heard a lot of praise about the writing style and the premise was so intriguing .. I never read a book from an over weight person view .. but sadly I was hugely disappointed as the story was so boring .. nothing was really happening and the short chapters made it such an uncomfortable ride for me with this book
I liked Libby's character .. she one of the best protagonists I've read in a while, but I didn't like Jack as much, I feel a little let down but I don't regret reading the book

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • ClassDreamer'84
  • 2017-01-12

EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS - YOUNG AND OLD

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely!!! Because Libby wants to change the world, and everyone should know the reason why.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Holding Up the Universe?

All of them! All of the moments in this book are so big, that it's impossible to choose just one as most memorable.

Which scene was your favorite?

The end scene. But also, I was proud of Libby in her purple bikini scenes.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Oh yes. It made my heart happy, it made it sad, but mostly it made me happy to be alive, and I hope Ms. Niven's message is shouted throughout the universe. It is THAT remarkable.

Any additional comments?

This book should NOT go unread, and I think every high school should have it on their To Be Read by ALL students list.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie
  • United States
  • 2017-01-12

You are wanted

We should all write that on ourselves. This is a story of a teenage girl who already knows who she is, a rarity in teens, and how others see her. It's also about a boy who can't see faces and how he realizes that he can see the girl. Powerful and smart story. Thankful that the fat girl doesn't need to lose weight to be better, those stories suck. Fabulous readers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anna Pivonka
  • 2019-11-19

This is AMAZING!

This book gives you all the feels for one of the most unexpected and amazing pairs.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-10-30

READ IT

You need to read this it's like omg the whole way through READ IT it's amazing

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Silviana
  • Santa Maria da Feira
  • 2019-06-11

my first audiobook

I mostly read it at work. it was very good. love the author, so I knew I couldn't be disappointed.
once again I caught myself adoring the characters and getting so involved with the way they think and act.
The English wasn't hard to understand they spoke clearly.
now I need a new book !

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kendall Jordan
  • 2019-05-28

Warms the soul!

Great book. If you enjoyed All the Bright Places you will love this. Great characters and a happy ending.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jolena G.
  • 2019-01-21

Moving Story

An amazing story with wonderful acting, definitely would recommend to anyone who needs a pick me up and a little bit of love.