Standalone Sunday: Holding Up the Universe

Standalone Sunday is a weekly feature created by Megan at Bookslayer Reads which aims to showcase standalone books which you loved or would recommend.

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven


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 counselling 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.

For me Holding Up the Universe is an important story; both Libby and Jack have some intense issues they need to work past and it’s not something they can brush under the rug and hope goes away in time, or hope no one else notices. Jennifer Niven has written a powerful story with two amazing character’s who’s struggle you’ll definitely feel for

Holding Up the Universe was the first book by Jennifer Niven I read, and of the two she’s released so far probably my favourite. Niven is not an author who shies away from uncomfortable or hard to face issues, but no matter what it’s all been well-handled in her books by her characters.

“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.”

You can check out my review for Holding Up the Universe here.

What did you think of Holding Up the Universe? Have you read it yet or is it still on your to-read list? Let me know in the comments and let me know if you took part in this week’s Standalone Sunday as well.

30 thoughts on “Standalone Sunday: Holding Up the Universe

      1. I understand – I have no idea which one I preferred if you ask me, I loved both equally – maybe I’ll prefer her third book ahah 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great pick for this week, Beth! I’ve still yet to read this one but hope to one of these days. I didn’t have a lot of luck with the author’s debut novel so I’ve been a bit hesitant but the fact that I’ve heard so many great things and it covers some important issues makes me even more curious about it. Plus, I remember reading your review for it and it sounded like a book I could love. I’ll definitely be giving it a read someday. 😊♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Melissa. Yeah I read Holding Up the Universe first, and then went onto the author’s debut, All the Bright Places, and I definitely preferred this book. If you’re interested in it I think you’ll have more luck with Holding Up the Universe. 🙂 It’s definitely an important book when it comes to dealing with the issues it does.
      That’s great to hear, I really hope you do enjoy it when you do pick this one up! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Beth!! 😁
        I remember talking to you about All the Bright Places before too and how I wanted to give it a second chance after reading your review. I’m thinking one day I’ll definitely have to check both out from the library and binge read them. But, yeah, either way I do plan on reading Holding Up the Universe at some point.
        I hope so too! 😊♥

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well if you do end up giving All the Bright Places a second chance I hope you enjoy it. It’s a hard book to read though so just be warned about that.
        Holding Up the Universe is really good, the best of the two I think, so I’m sure either way you’ll enjoy that one! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I got this book earlier this year but haven’t read it yet; it’s been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. but your review got me intrigued! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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