ARC | Book Review #93 – Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven

Hello hello!

Today I present you my review of Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven.

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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 in new and bad-ass 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.


  • Keeps saying “You are wanted” besides everything you may think it’s imperfect about yourself
  • Diverse characters


  • Sappy and corny af. Seriously, I can’t believe anyone thinks that’s how young people talk to each other
  • Two special snowflakes as main characters + a cast of cardboard and sometimes even stereotypical supporting characters
  • POVs keep changing, not only from Jack to Libby but also from time period to another
  • Boring and repetitive
  • Clearly written by someone who doesn’t have prosopagnosia or is/was obese because their experiences couldn’t be more fantasised


After my terrible experience with All the Bright Places last year (you can read all about it here), I have no idea what made me want to pick another Jennifer Niven book. Maybe it was because the first official synopsis of this was so unbelievably offensive, I wanted to make sure the book wasn’t actually that. Luckily, it wasn’t but it still wasn’t good, at all. Although the author keeps on writing notes at the end of her books explaining how she went through or know people who have experienced the topics of her books, I can’t believe her. The way she writes everything is so romanticised and idealised, there’s no way for me to have even any admiration or respect for her. This is sounding very harsh but it’s honestly how I feel. I’m done with her books for the time being.

If you were a Niven fan already, you’re probably going to love this. But if you are like me, and were not really convinced by her previous book, this won’t do it either. Anyway, if you’ve read Holding Up the Universe, please let me know!

See you guys soon,



2 thoughts on “ARC | Book Review #93 – Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven

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