Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: October 4, 2016 by: Knopf Books
Rating: 3/5 stars
Libby Strout was once known as "America's Fattest Teen." Since losing weight and dealing with her mother's heartbreaking death, Libby is ready to step back into high school, and deal with the pressures of being a teenager. It is at her new school that she meets Jack, a charismatic popular guy, but with a rare disorder that he keeps secret. Jack cannot recognize faces, even of his close family members. As Libby and Jack get to know each other, they realize that their struggles make them who they are. And while navigating the cruel world of high school, they will depend on each other even more.
This book was kinda a hit and a miss at the same time. While I really enjoyed Niven's previous book, All The Bright Places, this book gave me the familiar beautiful writing and lovable characters that she does so well, but seemed a bit tropey in my opinion. And I'll explain why.
So first things first with the positives, I love how Niven writes a love story. She gives her characters amazing chemistry and utter adorableness that you just can't help but fall in love yourself. Her characters are so well-written and are given such witty attributes, that makes them so lovable. Jack and Libby were no exception.
The plot of this book wasn't boring, but wasn't exactly spectacular. The characters really made the book for me, because the plot didn't seem like it had anything special going on. It was just kinda average and predictable, but at the same time, didn't bore me as some other contemporaries do.
What really annoyed me about this book were some of the "fat girl tropes." Now I can't really accurately comment on these issues because I've never been overweight, but to me they seemed pretty recognizable. For me, I would love to read a book about a fat girl who didn't find the need to lose weight and THEN present herself to society. I want a book in which the girl owns her confidence and her weight is not the overarching problem throughout the entire book. Now this book could be very inspiring and body-positive, there's no doubt about that, but it's nothing that I haven't seen before. I would have liked it a lot more if it had taken more of a Dumplin' by: Julie Murphy approach.
So really, I'm in two heads about this book. Have you read Holding Up the Universe? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess