contemporary discussions Popular standalones


TITLE: Holding Up The Universe
AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
SERIES: Standalone
PUBLICATION DATE: October 4 2016
PUBLISHER: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
SOURCE: Bought

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

Hey guys! This isn’t really a review but i just had some things i wanted to say about the backlash this book has received. I’m not saying the people who back-lashed this book are wrong, it is their opinion, and i still don’t agree with rating a book without reading it. But this is my opinion and i’d like to share.

It’s been out barely two months and before people have actually read the book, they’ve rated it one star because they found the synopsis ‘offensive’. I completely agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion! But if you don’t like a synopsis fine you can say so, but why attack the author on social media? Why rate the book down? Read it, if you hate it then say how much you hate it! I mean i was doing research before writing this post and i saw a full on twitter war about how offensive this synopsis was between a reader and one of the author’s friends! Is this what a YA novel supposed to inspire has come to?

I’m sorry but i see nothing offensive when i read the synopsis! Yes Libby needed a crane to get out of her house, but that’s not offensive, it’s reality. Just google it. And you’ll see that quite a few people have had to get out of their houses by a crane! And no it’s not offensive, it’s showing you how these people might feel, what they might be going through. That people do live in beyond shitty situations and yet they survive.

This part of the synopsis has also been called ‘dehumanizing’ to fat people. How? I feel that simply by reading the synopsis and not reading this character’s journey you are dehumanizing her. Your’re just seeing her as the girl who needed a crane to get out of the house. That’s what you’re judging her on, not her personality and certainly not her journey! And that’s exactly the kind of behavior the author tries to expose in her book. She presents Libby as more than the ‘fattest teen in America’, she shows you her personality, and what she goes through. And i’m sorry but this happens to real life people-THIS IS REALITY. Does this make these real people not human!?

And the bullying that happens in her school? It was pretty tough to read about but it’s not that much of a work of fiction. This is a real life situation for many of the people out there. 

This is not a book about loosing weight, it’s about accepting yourself as long as you’re happy. And how can you be happy if people around you are constantly saying things that show you that you shouldn’t be happy the way you are? I really connected with Libby, i’ve struggled for years with weight issues and i’ve been a little bullied-though not as much as Libby. I felt all of those things and i was even depressed for a little while, which is why this book struck a cord with me! And then there was the part where Libby writes hurtful comments about herself in the bathroom-they say it’s sending a bad message, But guess what? For those of us who’ve been there, it’s normal. If we’re not writing it down, we’re constantly tormenting ourselves mentally. It’s called being depressed and insecure. And i surpassed all of that eventually. And that was what Libby did! She has this ‘larger than life’ personality, she’s trying to grow her confidence despite other people trying to ram her down! How is that offensive or dehumanizing?

I sometimes watch this show on TLC, known as my Big Fat Fabulous Life and the girl, Whitney, just screamed out Libby too me. She’s joyous, she’s snarky, she strives to be the best she can be, she transcends societal judgement and she expresses her passion for dance. It’s one of my favorite shows!

Image result for whitney my big fat fabulous life weight loss

Seriously go check out this show, that woman is inspiring!

And then people said that it was offensive when the other describes Jack as ‘broken’ in the synopsis. I read a comment on goodreads where the girl has the same situation but she didn’t see herself as ‘broken’. But so what? Not everyone deals with their situation the same way! And besides, the author doesn’t describe Jack as broken, he feels broken. And this is his journey-how he surpasses all that and learns to live with it. To feel not so broken.

And another thing, it’s one thing to say bad thing’s about the author’s writing and her book-it’s your opinion, you’re totally entitled to it. But how can you bash the author herself? There were comments about how a ‘skinny’ author cannot write about a ‘fat’ person. But hey, as a fat person speaking here, the author just captured what i felt basically my whole high school years, and i cannot even begin to say how much i regret that this book had not been published YEARS AGO. The message of the book was beautiful, it spoke to the readers directly. 

Is Sarah J Mass a faerie?No right, then why is she allowed to write about the fae. How could she know what they’re feeling. It’s a totally invalid point!

I read this beautiful article from the author where she explains that this book is an extension of her personal journey and that of her friends, if you want to check it out this is the link.

“That is why I wrote Holding Up the Universe—to let readers know that big, small, tall, short, pretty, plain, friendly, shy, they are wanted. They are necessary. They are loved.”
-Jennifer Niven

Ugh. Okay rant over, it just really irritated me. I don’t get all the hate, that’s just my opinion. You guys should definitely pick up this book! It’s a wonderful journey! This was my first book by this author and i found it absolutely inspiring!

You may also like...


  1. AGREED! I haven't read the book but I got so mad when people started bashing on it just because of the synopsis, which I didn't see anything wrong with either. And people rating the book down before they even read the book and being hateful towards the author? That makes me even more pissed. =/

  2. exactly! It's so unfair and just plain rude! I thought it was a wonderful read! n btw Merry Xmas n Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.