Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, but no one’s ever looked past her weight to see who she really is. Sine her mum’s death, Libby’s been hiding, but now she’s ready for high school.
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too – sexy, aloof and too cool for school. But Jack’s swaggering confidence is hiding a secret he must keep at all costs.
Then Jack meets Libby. And their worlds change.
If I’m honest, I wasn’t blown away by the blurb. The plot seemed thin, and a little obvious about the direction it was going. Probably the only thing that sold it to me was the concept – so rarely seen – of an overweight protagonist. I’m always interested in how minorities are portrayed in YA, and a fat girl as protagonist probably doesn’t happen too much (I’m aware of Butter, although I haven’t read it myself.)
The trouble is, when the minority/ background/ unrepresented characters DO come to the forefront, it’s never within a genre capacity. Boy meets girl, but it’s all about the character. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Where Holding Up The Universe is concerned, I found Jack Masselin a far more interesting character as a result of his neurological disorder. I’d heard of prosopagnosia through the works of Oliver Sacks (also mentioned by the characters in the book), but not to the in-depth, and first-hand account as given by Jack. This is a bonus for such books, it introduces readers to experiences and conditions they would otherwise have been completely unaware of. The trouble is, without these traits appearing in strong, plot driven pieces, the novel becomes about their differences from able-bodied, straight, white counterparts. It still draws a line of separation between one, and the Other.
Something to think about, I guess.
But back to my thoughts on Holding Up The Universe…