18 Books for 2018 Challenge: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

I've certainly set up some goals for myself this year, and one of them includes a reading challenge! I love books but I haven't ever been much of a big reader. I think it's a mixture of not prioritizing it and finding the time with taking honors English courses all through middle and high school. Sometimes those classes made me see reading as a task rather than something I go out and do myself because I enjoy it.

This year I also wanted to get myself into a reading challenge because I started my new job at my local library. I want to educate myself and stay on top of what our patrons are reading and have some suggestions for reader advisory questions. To help me stay on top of things, I signed up on Goodreads to help keep track of my progress and look up some fun suggestions/reviews from fellow readers. 

So without further a do, let's get right into it! The first book I completed for my 18 Books for 2018 Challenge was Jennifer Niven's "Holding Up the Universe."

I found out about this first choice from a YouTube influencer that I follow when she posted a quick review on her Instastory (I know, so millennial right?). It sounded interesting but I didn't really know much about the story itself until I found the book and read the inside cover jacket. Right off the bat it intrigued me. One character by the name is Libby Strout was once the fattest teen in America. The other main character Jack Masselin has a rare neurological disorder called Prosopagnosia, or face blindness. It's a real thing that people have and of course there is a scale of severity, but this character Jack has perhaps one of the most severe cases where he cannot recognize people and has to navigate the world by memorizing identifiers like hairstyles, nose shape, voice pitch, height, body build, etc. He could be looking and talking to you one minute but if you were to turn and look away from him, he would not be able to recognize you. By logical deduction he would be able to tell who you are, but the function of face recognition isn't there for people with Prosopagnosia. 

Libby also has an interesting story as she deals with loss, going back to school after being homebound due to her weight journey for many years, and battling with anxiety. The characters were captivating and their journeys were something that I wanted to see unfold. There were of course the cheesy YA novel themes, but I felt like Jennifer did a great job of discussing issues that everyone at some point deals with: anxiety, loss, and learning to be our authentic selves. 

Overall, I would give this book a 4.5/5.