Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young Adult fiction. Begin with the characters. Libby Strout and Jack Masselin are unique, yet totally relatable. Put them in a situation where they come head-to-head, not just against each other, but also against their better selves. Develop a plot that respects their personal dignity and humanity even as they stumble, make some good and some poor decisions, and eventually come into themselves as the innately good people they are.
Libby Strout is facing her first day in high school following several years of homeschooling and three years under strict medical supervision for weight loss. This was severe weight loss as Libby was the 600-pound Fattest Teen in America who had to be crane-lifted from her bed at home and delivered via truck to the hospital. Now, having lost 300 pounds, she is finally...
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