Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

2019 has been a great year for reading so far! I discovered the world of YA literature last year and fell in love! I read All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven earlier this year and was it really impacted me (seriously, go read it if you haven’t already). Jennifer’s writing style is powerful and I knew I had to read more. I already have a third book lined up by her to read in the near future.

Summary:

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 in new and bad-ass ways, 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.

Review:

I needed to read this book. For the past year I have been beating myself up about gaining weight and Libby made me want to love myself again. Libby is the definition of a strong female lead who picks herself up off the ground and makes big things happen. She is brave, resilient, and unstoppable. I also love how she is so supportive of other girls in her class. I love when girls support girls instead of ripping each other apart.

And then we have sweet Jack Masselin who so badly wants to be a good guy but his undiagnosed neurological condition makes it hard for him. The common theme with Jack is peer pressure to do things he wouldn’t otherwise think to do. The “shitty” thing he does actually brings him closer to Libby which in the long run may save him from himself.

This was another quick read for me. I just couldn’t put it down! If I was reading it on a weekend I probably would have read it in under 24 hours. The characters, the plot, and the message were so good and made me want to keep reading. The ending was perfect too.

Favorite Quotes:

“I want you to know I’m rooting for you.’ Sometimes we need to hear that, even from a stranger.”

“We never know how long we have. We’re never guaranteed tomorrow. I could die right now, right here.”

“One of the worst things a pretty girl can say to a fat girl is You look really pretty.”

“Life is too short to judge others. It is not our job to tell someone what they feel or who they are. Why not spend some time on yourself instead? I don’t know you, but I can guarantee you have some issues you can work on. And maybe you’ve got a fit body and a perfect face, but I’ll wager you’ve got insecurities too, ones that would keep you from stripping down to a purple bikini and modeling it in front of everyone.

As for the rest of you, remember this. YOU ARE WANTED. Big, small, tall, short, pretty, plain, friendly, shy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise not even yourself.

Especially not yourself.”

“Everyone in my life is a stranger, and that includes me.”

“It’s my experience that the people who are most afraid are the ones who hide behind mean and threatening words.”

“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader”

“We’re all weird and damaged in our own way. You’re not the only one.”

“People are shitty for a lot of reasons. Sometimes they’re just shitty people. Sometimes people have been shitty to them and, even though they don’t realize it, they take that shitty upbringing and go out into the world and treat others the same way. Sometimes they’re shitty because they’re afraid. Sometimes they choose to be shitty to others before others can be shitty to them. So it’s like self-defensive shittiness.”

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Libby and Jack may not be real but they can teach you a thing or two about life. I am giving Holding up the Universe 5 stars because it made me think, feel, and opened my eyes to other’s thoughts and feelings.

I love reading books that make me want to take action when I’m done. This one motivated me to put myself out there again and try to be the healthiest version of myself. It motivated me lose weight because I love myself and not because I hate my body.

Once again, Jennifer Niven is a brilliant writer. I’m pretty positive I will love anything Jennifer writes and am already looking forward to reading the next one.

What’s your favorite book at the moment?

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

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Five on Friday #5

Five on Friday

It’s been a hot second since my last Five on Friday post! Today I am finally back with another five things that I am looking forward to or thinking about on this dreary Friday morning.

  1. We leave for Arizona tomorrow morning to visit my grandparents! My mom, sister, Brett, and I are going down for a few days of relaxation and family time before my sister moves to Hawaii next month. I can’t wait to be back with the fam and have a few days off of work!
  2. I have five books packed in my suitcase ready to go for some serious pool time reading. I’m flying through books again so please send me your recommendations! I’m trying to read a variety of different genres this year.
  3. I’m in the process of redecorating my house for spring and it’s making all of this snow and ice much more bearable. Michigan went from -37 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the matter of a week. My body is confused about what season we are in.
  4. I’m working on changing my mindset towards weight loss. I’ve been really struggling since early 2018 with my weight after taking a medication that made me blow up like a balloon. I’ve had issues with food in the past so I know that I need to be careful with myself and try to keep this experience as positive as possible.
  5. Brett and I are trying to plan out our summer! Summertime in Michigan is my absolute favorite but I always feel so stressed to squeeze everything in my the time it rolls around because I didn’t plan ahead. This year I just want to spend as much time at my grandparent’s house on the lake as possible.

What are your plans for this weekend?

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The Importance of Practicing Self-Care

The Importance of Practicing Self-Care
Hello, my friends!

I have spent the past few weekends learning how to practice self-care. I have never given myself enough time to truly focus on making myself happy. I am always in a rush and when I do have any down time I like to spend it reading or relaxing on the couch. Relaxing is important but I never felt better afterward.

In one of my last posts I talked about my weight gain. What I didn’t really mention were all of the negative things that I brought upon myself because of the weight gain. I hated the way that I looked and the way my clothes fit. I thought punishing myself by squeezing into my old clothes would motivate me to lose weight. Instead I just felt terrible all of the time. My confidence, especially at work, was at an all time low.

A couple of weekends ago I finally had had enough. My mom, sister, and I drove to the outlet mall and I bought all new work pants and jeans. I had no idea how much of an impact those purchases would have on my self esteem. It felt good to not look like I was squished into my pants. I wouldn’t say I felt confident but I did feel better.

The next weekend I decided to spend an hour getting my haircut and eyebrows waxed. It felt so good. I have such thick hair and it grows at such a fast pace. I usually only get my haircut every six months but it was making me unhappy so I decided to change it. You still won’t catch me styling it in any way but at least I can brush it!

Spending a little time on self care is SO important and I am just now realizing that. I have never ever made the time to put myself first. I deserve to be happy and shouldn’t punish myself for the fact that I’ve gained weight.

Do you have any tips for practicing self-care? I’d love to hear them!

 

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

I’ve Gained Weight

I've Gained Weight

Hey guys,

I’m back with another post. This may be the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to write but as you can tell from the title….

I’ve gained weight.

That one sentence makes me want to crawl back in bed and not come out for a very long time. I have a very negative relationship with food and weight that makes this topic hard for me to discuss.

The truth is that I am at the highest weight I have ever been. My clothes don’t fit, my skin is stretched out and uncomfortable, and I feel sluggish all the time. I have started my “weight loss journey” at least three times over the past 6 months but it’s hard and I quit because I don’t see any results. The number on the scale just keep growing and growing so I have stopped looking all together.

I can remember a time when stepping on the scale was the highlight of my day. The numbers kept dropping and I was so proud of myself. I thought being in the double digits would be the best thing that would ever happen to me. Luckily for me, I never quite made it to that extreme.

It’s been several years since I was at my lowest weight. I don’t remember consciously making the decision to lose weight all of those years ago. I was just anxious and didn’t ever feel hungry. I started college and gained the typical “freshman 15” which put me back at a healthy weight.

Over the years I have gained and lost weight. When I studied abroad in London I gained about 20 pounds which I was able to lose easily when I came home. I stayed at pretty much the same weight until I got married. I went a bit crazy during the honeymoon and ate whatever I wanted. Since coming back in early September I continued to eat anything and everything. It felt great not having to think about fitting myself into my wedding dress.

I did not realize how big I had gotten until my clothes stopped fitting me all together. When I look in the mirror I can see that I’ve gained weight but I had no idea how much I had actually gained. I went to the doctor and saw the number on the scale and had a small panic moment. I could not believe that this was my reality.

Now I can’t seem to lose the weight. I eat healthy and work out but the numbers on the scale keep getting bigger. I’m not sure if there’s a reason, like hormones or medication, or if I need to try something different. I usually shed a few pounds each summer because my activity level goes up and I eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

This post isn’t about telling you that I have started some crazy new healthy lifestyle. In fact, I am still trying to find the best diet and workout routine that will work for me and my body.

I really just wanted to share my story as someone who has a negative relationship with food. I am trying my best to lose weight in a healthy way and stop any crash dieting that can be harmful to my body.  I know that this journey will take some time and I want to do what is best for me, both physically and mentally.

Let me know if you have any tips or tricks for having a healthy lifestyle! And as always, thanks so much for reading!

 

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash