Holding Up The Universe – Review

3.5 stars.

I’m genuinely curious as to why people believe that not reading a book means you can or should write a full review about it. Especially, when that review happens to be negative. If you are going to complain, at least do so after reading the book. Also, and here’s a thing that a lot of people LOVE to do which is talk over those who actually go through things or have a say in the matter. And to be more specific according to the book, if you aren’t overweight then please kindly refrain from speaking on the matter.
I don’t care if your brother, cousin, next door neighbour is overweight, it’s not a free pass to write your claims or praises by using someone else’s – real life people in this case – as your excuse to do so. This also goes to the author herself, I ge9780141357058t that as writers we can’t be everything or go through everything that we write about but some subjects should be taken less lightly when you decide to write about them.

And why am I saying this? Apparently, this book received a lot of negative reviews because of the way it portrays an overweight girl. I will not speak up about Jack because he’s not the character I relate to and I’m also not familiar nor do I have his disorder. But as an overweight girl, I will speak about how I felt about this book. First of all, if you think it’s offensive then clearly you have no idea what you are talking about (and I’m talking towards those who aren’t or never were overweight), what’s offensive is what people actually do and how they treat overweight people. What Jennifer wrote is just a small demonstration of the cruelty that goes around and god forbid someone actually writes a book with an overweight girl, her perspective and having her fall in love. While also showing her struggles and the bullying she goes through.

Libby is strong as hell, honestly, she became like my hero. I wish I had even half the courage she has and I wish I accepted myself the way she does. Yes, she’s overweight but at some point, she’s happy with who she is. And unlike what a lot of people said, no, Libby does not see a boyfriend as her salvation. She accepted herself long before she fell for Jack and when he breaks her heart, she didn’t let that slow her down. Did she have a moment of weakness? Yes. She’s human. Did she want a boyfriend? Yes, she’s a teenager and please don’t try to tell me that that it wasn’t accurate or “in real life, it doesn’t work this way”, sadly it does. And I would understand if Jennifer gave the idea that Libby wouldn’t be happy with herself nor her body unless she had a boyfriend who would love her and suddenly she would love herself too, that it would cause people to react negatively but that’s not what happens.

I get it, the book insists a lot on the fact that Libby is fat and on Jack’s disorder. Personally, that didn’t really bother me. And yes, people are cruel as hell. And some parts of the book that people feel as if Jennifer is being offensive or that she’s fat shaming, I have a question: Do you even understand what writing is? When I’m writing a character and it happens to be in their Point of View, for example, I’m going to write down their feelings because that’s how they feel or think and guess what, not everyone is perfect, not every book is fantasy so if you want accurate and realistic characters you are going to have to write feelings and thoughts that sound realistic. Here’s where it gets tricky, some parts don’t feel realistic in her book but it’s a YA book about two teenagers falling in love, it’s going to get sappy. Now, having my girl fat shaming herself doesn’t mean the author THINKS and FEELS that way as well.

And truth is, I feel that way a lot. I wonder if maybe having a boyfriend would make me feel better. Make me accept the body I have. It isn’t healthy thinking but it’s accurate. All the nasty things someone could say to me, I’m going to think them first. But seeing Libby being so brave and happy with who she is, it’s truly refreshing.

This wasn’t a story about the hot guy who saves the fat girl, in fact, it felt more like Libby was the one to save Jack. The constant mention of the fact that she is fat is nothing but an honest representation of what goes on in school and real life. Everyone sees you as the fat girl even if you do lose some weight. So yeah, no one was congratulating Libby for losing the weight because they still see her as that same fat girl. So for most people – for bullies – they don’t care.

To sum up, this isn’t a perfect book but it hardly deserves all the negative praise. And if you love TFIOS and god knows what else, then I find it hypocritical that you are going to call out this story for romanticising overweight people and Jack’s disorder. It’s contemporary so it’s a light and easy reading, it’s not a big book and with YA it’s not like you can go too much into things. If you can’t relate to it, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book.

River of Shadows – Chapter 5

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu

**

It didn’t take long for the darkness to settle in once again. By now, Ava was starting to get lost in night and day. She did not move from the place she had last seen him, there was a chance he would come back, she needed him to come back.

With more control of her powers, she managed to create a small fire, enough to keep her warm. Next, to her, some blankets appeared so she could lie down. 
She was starving as well but too exhausted to produce any more magic. Another star appeared on her left arm. So many that she realised it has been more than just a few weeks, it’s been months. Months together and yet she never felt like she knew him, not in the way she feels now. 

Completely exhausted she fell asleep, going through old/new memories. Trying to figure out when she lost control of it all.
She didn’t sleep much until she was woken up by a small girl shaking her in a violent way. Opening her eyes, she found the girl standing above her.

“I’m Athea.” The girl said.

Ava got up, defensive, for all she knew this could be the enemy. The fire was still burning strong. She could make everything vanish in a heartbeat, but there was no way she would let this kid see what she’s capable of.

“What do you want from me?” She asks.

“Help. I need help. I’ve been waiting to get inside for so long. But it rarely opens, but I finally managed now.” The girl replies.

Athea looks hopeful and harmless, there are freckles all over her face, her strawberry blonde hair is done in two matching pigtails on each side of her head. She looks so young. Taking her eyes off the girl, Ava looks towards the grass, bending over to touch it. Wet. It rained and she didn’t even notice it. Her heart races and immediately she thinks about it. A mix of anger and worry, please let him be ok.

“Are you a witch, Athea?” The small girl laughs.

“Yes,” she replies cheerful, “aren’t you? Both my parents were killed while trying to find this place, they left me outside hoping I would make it.”

“For how long? Were you outside, I mean.”

Athea began counting her fingers until they were no longer enough.

“I lost count, sorry.” She says, the smile on her face now gone. “30 years or so, I think.”

Ava gasps, “so that makes you?”

“12. I don’t age.” She smiles again.

This small girl was supposed to be a woman now, older than Ava. And yet here she is staring at her, looking like a child who lost her parents, who had to wait for so many years, alone just trying to reach safety. And for all this time no one knew she was there, no one even tried to save her. The rules had to change.

Ava had no intentions of going back to the Vila just yet, so she wrote a note and send the girl on her way.

I am Ava Cornelia Lewis, Queen of the Vila, River of Shadows.
I can not be present at the moment but I send to you this child, Athea, who has been seeking shelter for more than 30 years. I ask you to help and treat her properly until my arrival.
As for my well being, I’m okay, I will be back sooner than you expect.
Ava Lewis

Continue reading “River of Shadows – Chapter 5”

River of Shadows – Chapter 4

Memory was a curse, yes, he thought, but it was also the greatest gift. Because if you lost memory you lost everything.”
– Anne Rice

**

Caleb and Ella woke up shivering and with their clothes soaking wet. Ella had never experienced cold like this, or at least, she didn’t remember it. She was never sick, never had a fever. The sky was filled with dark clouds threatening rain at any minute again.

“What the -“

“What does this mean? I never saw it raining, never felt my body this cold.” She didn’t have to add the ‘I don’t remember’ part.

“Take off your clothes,” Caleb says.

“What?” she asks him, unsure of what his intentions are at the moment, all things considered.

“Just remove the clothes on your body and produce new ones.”

She’s taken by surprise at the demand, but in a low whisper she replies, “I can’t.”

“Then take this as a lesson. If you don’t remove the clothes you have on now, you are going to get sick.” He replies. His clothes are gone, for two seconds she slides her eyes across his body. Muscle everywhere, but the handsome kind of way. His golden skin shining with small drops of water in his chest.

She takes a quick glimpse at the tattoo forming on his hip making its way towards his chest and for a quick second, it looked as if it was moving. Before she can see more, new clothes are back on him.

Ella took off her clothes, staying in her underwear made her feel self-conscious and strange. She has memories of her fiancé but none include having her stand in her underwear for his eyes to prey. Caleb didn’t make her feel uncomfortable, in fact, he barely even bothered to look at her. It just made her feel even worse.

She tried her best and after a few minutes, new clothes were covering her body.

Without looking at her, Caleb said: “Let’s move.”

They keep going, as they move, the sky changes with them, blue and sunny. Warm wind, no signs of rain or that it happened. After walking for what it seems days, her feet began to feel sore, her stomach aching with hunger. Ella begs him to stop.

“Magic isn’t just people creating pretty things out of it, bad people use it too. We have to keep going. If they find you…” He stops himself from saying more.

“What do you mean?” He doesn’t say a thing. “CALEB, please.” She stops walking.

“Sorry your Highness, not everything is rainbows and rays of sunshine like it were back in your Vila.” He speaks with such bitterness that it catches her by surprise. There’s also a pang in her chest. She looks at him as if she never saw him before.

“I,” She pauses her hand in front of him.

“Don’t. You know who I am? So you were pretending all this time?”

Continue reading “River of Shadows – Chapter 4”

River of Shadows – Chapter 3

“I will find you.
In the farthest corner, I will find you.”
– Mary E. Pearson

**

They made a few stops once in a while, to eat, rest and take baths. Ella had no idea where she was going but she felt free for being able to walk and walk, not knowing where she’s headed and not having to go back either. No obligations nor people trying to force her to remember things she simply cannot. Not having people around expecting her to be someone she can not give to them. And instead of ending up feeling miserable for not being able to give them what they want, she’s here. Not truly happy, but free.

She didn’t ask Caleb anything about him or his life. Because if she did ask, she would eventually have to share things about her as well which she wasn’t ready to say and lying to him, again and again, wasn’t also an option she was comfortable with. She had a feeling he might feel the same way because through all the way he didn’t ask anything either.

When the night came, Ella marked her arm with a star. Like a tattoo created with the help of her powers. Several nights went by, each one leaving a mark below her elbow.

**

In the starlight, Caleb’s hair looked beautiful. Not white nor grey. It nearly blinded her by staring so long and deep into it.

Without noticing what was happening, she’s being shaken by Caleb, who waves his hand in front of her eyes. She doesn’t even blink at the sight of them.

“What?” She shouts.

Continue reading “River of Shadows – Chapter 3”