Jennifer Niven

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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“Holding Up the Universe” is a young adult novel written by Jennifer Niven. Published in 2016, the book explores themes of identity, self-acceptance, and the power of human connection.

The story follows two main characters: Libby Strout and Jack Masselin. Libby is a teenager known as “America’s Fattest Teen” who had to be rescued from her house after being trapped inside for years due to her weight. Jack is a popular student with a secret—he suffers from a condition called prosopagnosia, or face blindness, which prevents him from recognizing familiar faces, including his family and friends.

As the story unfolds, Libby and Jack’s lives intersect. They are brought together through unexpected circumstances, and they develop a unique bond as they navigate the challenges of high school, family dynamics, and their own personal struggles. Through their connection, they begin to challenge societal expectations, confront their insecurities, and discover the strength to be their authentic selves.

“Holding Up the Universe” addresses issues such as body image, bullying, mental health, and the search for belonging. It explores the characters’ internal struggles, as well as the external pressures they face from society and their peers. The novel encourages readers to question societal norms and embrace diversity and individuality.

Jennifer Niven’s writing is known for its emotional depth and heartfelt exploration of complex themes. “Holding Up the Universe” offers a poignant and inspiring story that encourages empathy, self-acceptance, and the importance of human connection.

The novel received positive reviews for its relatable characters, sensitive portrayal of mental health, and its ability to address difficult topics with compassion. It resonates with readers, particularly young adults, who may find solace and inspiration in its message of acceptance and the power of finding one’s place in the world.


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