Holding up the Universe Was A Universe I Wanted to Exist

Release Date: October 04, 2016

Publisher: Penguin Teen
Page Count: 439
Format: Manuscript
Genre: Contemporary

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.

Oh wow. What a trip. That was amazing. Incredible. One of the best female MC’s in the world. Oh man Libby is a special character. She truly is amazing. There was a lot of controversy surrounding this book, because of it’s poorly worded synopsis. But guys, Libby is special, she is marvellous, stunning and oh man, just a character you’ll love forever and want to protect. The story line however was a bit of a love/hate relationship, because some of the actions of certain characters were very questionable. I mean, I didn’t understand most of the motivations behind Jack’s actions. It was just very confusing. Also I loled whenever someone said swagger, like yes I got you, but I mean, I feel like that was a 2011-12 thing. Lastly, there was a lot happening in the book which sometimes threw me off and sometimes lured me back into the story.

  • LIBBY – She really made me love the book. She’s big, so what!? Shes just happy the way she is. She’s unique and just sunshine. She’s fierce, beautiful, elegant and hella fun.
  • AFRO GALORE – I gotta love Dusty and Jack’s afros. I love how Jennifer always includes hair description wherever she can.
  • DANCING AND TWIRLING all night long. Well not all night, but all throughout the book. When Libby, Jack or Dusty dance, all I can feel is joy and happiness.
  • DUSTY, WE MUST PROTECT HIM AT ALL COSTS! He’s so precious. Ah, this little boy was so special. Love him to bits. Just want to keep that smile on his face. 
  • I SQUEALED! It’s pretty rare, but I couldn’t get over how cute the book was or how some moments it was too beautiful for me to read, because I didn’t want to interrupt. Like, do they know I’m watching?! It was too beautiful. The book has moments of complete joy, heartbreak and subtle admiration.
  • A LITTLE BREAKFAST CLUB?? We have the misfits and they’re literally like the breakfast club. I love it to bits. I also adore the scene where Libby is driving and crying on the highway. #friendshipgoals
  • ROBOTS! I mean it’s breifly mentioned every so now and again but I love it! The way Jack described the robot and how it’ll look like and how it’ll make Dusty smile. Ah, what an amazing brother (well he is *sometimes*).
  • A LIL DIVERSITY HERE AND THERE! We have different races, interracial couples, (a very brief mention of) sexuality and body types.

  • SO SLOW – At first you fall in love with the writing instantly and then pages before you hit the 200 page mark, it slows down. Too slow that I stopped reading. It just wasn’t interesting, I had no idea where we were suppose to be heading towards in the book. There was just too much.
  • WHERE IS THE GROWTH ? I mean, come on Jack. I didn’t see the character development. I was really disappointed with this character. I had no idea why he did the things he did or how he felt most of the time. I just wanted his chapters to end, so I could read more Libby.
The next points may or may not be a spoiler. It’s a vague point on what happens at the end and during the book
  • WAIT, R U CURED BRO? So Jack had the most extreme case of prosopagnosia and he gets told, ‘THERE IS NO CURE’ but then he recognises Libby. Okay… 
  • Too many subplots for me. I didn’t even get the whole rodeo game and why Jack even played apart in it. Like, why? Like he explains it, but still, whyyyy?
  • NO SUPERNATURAL REFERENCES… YET? I read the manuscript, so ALOT would have changed and I’m pretty guttered there were hardly any (because there was only 1 that I can remember). I read so many reviews with ‘there are so many supernatural references’ and I was really guttered there weren’t any in the manuscript. 

I loved the manuscript, but was very disappointed in the middle of the book. I’ll definitely be reviewing the finished copy of the book, because I need those supernatural references in my life! I loved Libby and Dusty and can’t wait to revisit them in the paperback version of Holding up the Universe. I loved this book, but it didn’t quite hit the mark, so I’m rating it 3.5 stars. Can’t wait to reread!!
Thanks so much Nic Stone for sending me the manuscript. You guys should definitely check out her book and add it to your goodreads list. It’s one of many books you guys need to keep your eye out for as I can already tell from the synopsis that it’ll be riveting, humorous and blindsidingly (this is now a word) memorising.

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