Personally, this is equally special and frustrating, though there was definitely more emphasis on the special than the frustrating. There were moments when I got extremely annoyed with the comments made by the characters throughout the duration on the book. However when I say frustrated, I don’t mean about the book, I mean the fact that for an author to have written something about this particular topic with such accuracy and emotion; it must be a serious problem in society.
To me, the story focuses on the internal struggle of jack, though the external struggle of Libby. Jack’s Prosopagnosia is easy enough to hide, to most of his peers, it wasn’t noticeable, in fact, none of them knew at all until he confessed it at a party whilst tipsy Sure, it affected his everyday life, but he was still himself, he still had the same moral codes, and he still would’ve done the same things, but I think that the fact that he cannot recognise faces made him get to know people better.
He actually payed attention to a person’s mannerisms and his familiarity with this person depended on how well he payed attention. As a result of this, most of his struggle was in his head, he has a constant fear that he would mess everything up; it was probably eating him alive. In one of jack’s conversations with Libby in the parking lot of the school, he said that he could walk into a room full of people and recognise no-one. I feel this is a very relatable statement, even though I don’t have prosopagnosia, there is always a situation, a party perhaps of which I don’t know anyone and feel lonely and out of place, but the fact that jack had to go through that every day, even in his own home, created a sense of sympathy for him.Contrary to this, Libby’s struggle was mostly the comments from her peers in school and the views of the public and not her own thoughts. Libby was a very optimistic character. She says I try to tell myself to look on the positive side  but honestly it’s not very comforting,  even the janitors know me as the girl who had to be cut out of the house. She has a very positive personality, trying to look on the bright side of things all the time. But she herself has to figure some things out. After all, she had been home schooled for many years, and wasn’t used to being in public much. So there was a path she had to take, in order to become familiar again with the outside world, which is full of obstacles and little demons, but she knew she had to take it anyway. She has the mentality of well I like how I am and your opinion doesn’t matter’. Libby is the kind of person who’ll give you an entire speech if you start complaining about your weight. She’ll motivate you to think differently or maybe even start pulling yourself together and eat and behave in a healthy way.In addition to this, I wasn’t very fond of the clich© moments in the story; it was the basic idea of the ugly girl falls in love with the hot misfit guy. I see that as highly unrealistic, and something which doesn’t often happen in real life. There were also lines such as I can feel the electricity of the kiss. I really don’t like lines such as these because there are many more ways to express a kiss and it seems, again, very clich©.Jennifer Niven uses a dual point of view, and switches between the two main characters. In other books, I find this to be done poorly but this is done so much better. What I really liked about this was that when it switched from Libby to Jack, the voices of the characters were not hard to distinguish. Also, I am a massive fan of short chapters, so the POV doesn’t get dragged, and you don’t end up getting confused about the narration. As the chapters are short, the story also moves along relatively quickly. Some of the chapter’s flashback, which I thought was done pretty well, wasn’t just filler information; it actually contributed to the story and we learnt more about both of the characters past. In saying this, the story does jump back and forth, e.g.: one day ago, present day, three years ago, Saturday, one week later etc. I found some of the jumps ahead a little confusing to catch up with, but it doesn’t really disturb the flow of the story line.I find this to be a very progressive novel because there aren’t many teen or young adult fictions books that are as successful as Holding up the Universe that sends this sort of message. Niven wrote this book to tell young people that no matter your flaws, there are always people who love you for who you are despite your looks or any illnesses. I find that this book focuses a lot on support, the support from your family, support from your friends but mainly the support for yourself. If you believe in yourself and your ability to look on the bright side, you can overcome anything that stands between you and happiness. This is a story about finding courage when you feel you don’t have any, and not letting anyone sway you from what you want. It’s also a book about finding hope after loss and difficult times, and how to hang on to that hope in the face of adversity. But more than that, this is a book about letting people see who you really are, and admitting when you need help.