Holding Up the Universe

Libby and Jack both have problems to deal with as they start a new year at high school. But, while Libby’s past has been flung all over the internet for those who want to find it, not even Jack’s family know his. When circumstances force them together, they see that they have more in common than they initially thought.

Niven deals with complicated subject matter with ease and, though she is writing about topics that could be considered ‘issues,’ the book never becomes simply a structure for their portrayal. The narrative is strong and the difficulties of the lives of the characters are seamlessly integrated into the novel as a whole. The protagonists are vibrant and the reader is drawn into their world as if it were real. The secondary characters also never revert to the status of cardboard cut-outs. The ending brings the reader forward with the characters into new understanding of the way life shapes us and how it can enable us to rethink what we want from the future.

At the close of the book the reader is left craving another by the same author, as well as with an increased awareness of the problems that the characters in it faced. This book will be enjoyed by young adults of all tastes but especially those who love realism.