“We’re all weird and damaged in our own way. You’re not the only one.”


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 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.

Personal Experiences

I read this book in an afternoon, because Jennifer Niven hooks you the characters, and you can’t become unhooked unless she does it herself. A love that runs so deep. I think it is safe to say that we’ve all looked at that person and thought They’re so fat! Niven takes this thought and makes us question why we do it. We probably also think There is no way, she/he is ever going to find someone who loves them. Unless they lose some weight. Again, Niven takes this thought and makes us think: Why do I think this. Isn’t that wrong? I love the way she goes about writing this book, making us feel scared, happy, and sad with Libby and Jack.


“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader” 

“People are shitty for a lot of reasons. Sometimes they’re just shitty people. Sometimes people have been shitty to them and, even though they don’t realize it, they take that shitty upbringing and go out into the world and treat others the same way. Sometimes they’re shitty because they’re afraid. Sometimes they choose to be shitty to others before others can be shitty to them. So it’s like self-defensive shittiness.” 

“It’s about the important things, like the way their face lights up when they laugh, or the way they move as they’re walking towards you, or the way their freckles create a map of the stars.” 

“We don’t ever leave that old world behind. We just create a new one.” 

Where to read Holding Up the Universe

Indie Bound*

Read Online

*If you are unaware, I have a video on how to use Indie Bound as a resource on how to find books

**Also, if you have a Windows Phone, there is a really good EPUB reader app called Bookviser Reader. You can check out their website here. If you have an Android phone, you can check out an app called Lithium which is a similar EPUB reader.

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Happy Reading . . .

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One thought on “Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven”

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