Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Libby, known as the fattest teen in America, is finally going to high school. After being cut out of her house, spending two years losing 180 pounds, homeschooling, and getting counseling, she’s ready to start her junior year. Jack, a wise guy with swagger, spends his time trying to keep people from realizing that he doesn’t recognize them. He has prosopagnosia—face blindness. A cruel prank throws these two together in after school counseling—Conversation Circle—and a friendship tentatively forms.
Jennifer Niven is becoming a go to author for me. Her second book is just as good as her first, All the Bright Places, and is one of my few five stars for 2016 copyright year. Libby’s mom loved Atticus Finch and wanted Libby to remember to put herself other people's skins. Other references to To Kill a Mockingbird made me smile and my heart hurt. Libby faces the trials of high school bullies with composure and flair, better than most of us would, I‘m sure. The dual point of view is engaging and keeps us in Jack and Libby’s heads. The author note at the end explains Ms. Niven’s associations with bullying, weight issues, and prosopagnosia. This is a personal book for her.