Friday, December 30, 2016

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Book Review)

Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Blogging for Books in exchange for my hoenst thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own.

Holding Up the Universe is a story about Libby, who was once the fattest teen in America, weighing in at over 600 lbs and had to be fork-lifted out of her house. She's now dropped a lot of that weight, but people still can't seem to see past her body shape to see the girl inside. Still, she braves the worst crowd possible, high schoolers, to start a new school. The book is also about popular guy on campus Jack, who seems to have it all, but who in reality is overcompensating for a debilitating issues he has- he can not recognize faces, not even from his own family. These two meet under what are not the greatest circumstances and then we get to see both of their stories unfold.

Holding Up the Universe for me what a thought provoking novel. It made me have some a-ha moments about my own panic attacks and food issues. Who knew a young adult novel would dig that deep? And even deeper than that to teach us about prosopagnosia, something I had never heard of before I picked up this book, but something that I found profoundly interesting and caused me to have a lot of empathy for Jack. High school is tough for a lot of people, without these huge added issues that these two characters have. It is difficult to see some of the things the other kids say and do, but I think this is a great book for high school aged kids to read to open up a serious discussion about bullying, and about differences. As I read through this book, I thought several times, this will probably be one that ends up banned somewhere (or several somewheres) someday, sadly. I feel like the most compelling books are the ones that are fought against the most. I hope that this book, despite some of it's more controversial content, makes it's way into some high school English classrooms.

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