Holding Up the Universe


Holding Up the Universe (audiobook)

by Jennifer Niven

AR Level 4.9, 12 points (not for kids!)


Jack is a senior in high school who appears to have it all- he’s good looking, he has an on-again/off-again girlfriend, and he’s a ladies man.  Libby is a junior, and holds the title of (former) world’s largest teenager and about 600 pounds.  She was cut out of her house a few years ago, and lost half of her body weight.  Despite appearances, Jack has a brain disorder called face blindness, or prosopagnosia, which means he can’t identify people by their faces.  This puts him at a disadvantage, and he is scared and overcompensates with his “big man on campus” persona.  Libby has a larger than life personality, loves dancing, and isn’t afraid to tell people what she’s feeling.  When Jack bullies Libby, they have to confront their weaknesses, and enemies become friends.

What I liked about this book was the message.  Jack and Libby were opposites in many ways, but both learned lessons about not judging books by their covers.  Despite Libby’s physical appearance, Jack loved her for who she was, which made her beautiful.  Despite Jack’s persona, Libby discovered Jack had a kind heart and loved him, even with his face blindness.

What I didn’t like about this book was the language.  I felt like it would’ve been a great book for my sixth graders to read, except for the cussing.  I understand they are high school students, and that’s how high school students talk, but I also think a broader audience could have been reached if the language was more appropriate.

Book 54 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)


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