Book 19: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

First, this book taught me more about face-blindness, which I highly appreciated. I had only heard of this disorder once or twice in passing and never gave it much thought beyond that context. This book made me learn about it and try to understand how people with Prosopagnosia live daily. Just a heads up, you can never know how they do it.

This book was a good read. It was not the best out there, but it opened my mind and taught me about issues that I have no experience with. It portrays high school as it is. I hate to tell you this, but stereotypes in high school are there for a reason. Maybe you were a pretty, nice girl, but most of us never had the luxury of dealing with that. We had the pretty head cheerleader that thought she was God’s gift to the world.

The characters in this book developed fairly well, but I will say that Jack develops much better and easier than Libby. Libby comes in already developed for the most part, but I think her role is still vital to the plot. Jack is the guy that everyone meets. He’s an asshole with a heart of gold. We want to help them see their potential, and this story shows that it might be able to happen.

I give this book about 3.4 stars because I think the plot trotted along a little slowly in spots, and I found myself skimming. I also think the internal dialogue was a little over the top in areas and the language for external dialogue was a bit dated.

Overall, I think this book does add something to YA literature. It shows that bullying effects even those with the thickest skin, and no one is free of self-esteem issues. It teaches us about the power of words and of disorders and disabilities that others have that we have no clue what they feel or go through. This book will reach someone, and it will change their life. Not just because it is a book with issues but because it is a good book.

For readers, I think you should give this a try. It was not great, but it was still a good read.

For librarians, you should definitely look into buying this one. I think it will find its target audience well.

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