Holding Up the Universe: a Review

Holding Up the Universe

By Jennifer Niven

391 pages

October 2016

Young Adult Contemporary



Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.
Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

At the beginning of the book I had a lot of trouble with Libby.  I knew she felt depressed, and was going through a lot with her weight, starting school after being stuck in her house for so long and losing her mother.  However, she was very preoccupied with trying to lose the rest of her weight by “s*xing it off” (edited to avoid spammers!)  It was an obnoxious bit of dialogue but there were just enough mentions to get under my skin.

I like how the book went back and forth with brief snips from Libby and Jack.  It was like reading two separate books until they met and their worlds mingled.

I feel as though Jennifer Niven has a very distinct voice in the YA genre and in my opinion this book stayed true to her voice.

Thanks to blogging for books for sending me a copy to review!

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Gizelle’s Bucket List: a Review

                                                                                 Gizelles Bucket List:My Life With a Very Large Dog

by Lauren Fern Watt

256 pages

March, 2017 Simon and Schuster

Memoir. Coming of Age.

The playful, epic adventure of a 160-pound English Mastiff and the twentysomething girl who grew up alongside her—Marley & Me for a whole new generation.

Lauren Watt took her 160-pound English Mastiff to college—so of course after graduation, Gizelle followed Lauren to her first, tiny apartment in New York. Because Gizelle wasn’t just a dog; she was a roommate, sister, confidante, dining  companion, and everything in between.

Together, Gizelle and Lauren went through boyfriends, first jobs, a mother’s struggle with addiction, and the ups and downs of becoming an adult in the big city. But when Gizelle got sick and Lauren realized her best friend might not be such a constant after all, she designed an epic bucket list to make the absolute most of the time they had left.

Bursting with charm, this unique, coming-of-age story of a girl making her way through life is a testament to the special way pets inspire us to live better, love better, and appreciate the simple pleasures. Gizelle’s Bucket List is the humorous, poignant lesson our pets teach us: to embrace adventure, love unconditionally, and grow into the people we want to be. Good Reads Synopsis
I have all the heart eyes for this story.  I wouldn’t have typically gone and picked this book out, especially with so many books on my TBR, but when I got it I couldn’t wait to read it.  

I loved hearing both Lauren and Gizelle’s adjustments and adventures in NYC.  I couldn’t imagine living in the city with a dog, especially one of Gizelle’s size.  I don’t know how Lauren did it, but she wrote a book about herself and her adventures and she lets be reader in so much that you feel like you actually know her.  Well done, Lauren, well done.

Now, my semi spoiler.  It’s a book about a dog, and a bucket list so you probably have a very good educated guess where this is going.  There was some ugly crying happening at the end.  I have a very old dog with a tumor on his snout.  This dog was my first baby.  Reading the end of this book was almost too much.  It was raw, and emotional but at the same time encouraging and beautiful.  Gizelle’s Bucket List is a must read for dog lovers!

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending along a book that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise read.  I am so happy to have read it and can’t wait for the other dog lovers in my life to do the same!

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Close Enough to Touch: a Review

Close Enough to Touch

By Colleen Oakley

336 pages

March, 2017

Contemporary. Fiction.

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died… 

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…  Goodreads Synopsis

Close Enough to Touch was a fabulous read, especially for those who enjoy the likes of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.  The story line was different enough to be memorable.  The character development was so strong, that I felt as though I was in their lives.  Jubilee is also a big book worm, it was fun to read about all the mentions of books; a book loves book Dream! 

If you like sweet, romance stories I highly recommend Close Enough to Touch, out March 7!

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