All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
Release Date: 8th January 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the 'natural wonders' of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that Finch can be himself - a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink.
I am so glad I read this book in the privacy of my own home. It should have had a warning label 'be prepared with tissues'. I had heard how this was a sad book, I'd heard that there would be tears, but still I was unprepared for what I experienced. This book invokes a lot of emotions and then it really hits you with the feels in the last portion of the book. It is a fantastic read, though. Jennifer Niven knows what she is doing in writing a fantastic novel which deals with mental illness and the idea of suicide in a very realistic way.
This was a beautiful book, it was beautifully written and included some of my favourite characters I’ve ever read in a book. These characters were amazing and the relationship between Violet and Finch is intense and real and just too much really. I connected with Finch immediately, he is so easy to like. He is the one who is too different, stands out too much in school and is an immediate target, but he embraces that. People talk about him in hushed whispers, but they are all fascinated with him as well, he is that infamous boy you love to gossip about. His voice was strong and he seemed like a character who knew who he was and wanted to be.
Violet, on the other hand, was lost. She was lost after losing her sister and no longer knew where she was headed in life after such a dramatic change to her world. She hadn’t accepted her sisters death and begun the steps to recover from it, as shown by the fact our initial meeting begins on top of the bell tower with her contemplating jumping, much as Finch was. Though Finch’s suicidal thoughts were much more theoretical, throughout the books he gives out random facts about suicide which is both interesting and terrifying.
I loved that from the initial introductions these characters changed and developed, both for for better and for worse. You see Finch changing as you learn more about him and more about the mental illness which affects him. You learn more about Violet and her fears and she learns to move past them and begin living again.
The story itself is fantastic, Niven has put a lot of heart and soul into it. The concept of wonders is the book is great, all about learning to find the wonder and beauty in the place which you live is such a fantastic idea. That is the kind of thing everyone needs to do because I know I don’t always appreciate the place where I live all the time. You grow too used to it, so I like the idea of trying to view where you live through new eyes.
As I said, this is one of the most emotional fraught books I have read in a long while. By the time I finished I was a blubbering mess on the sofa with my mom confused what I was crying about. I couldn’t even fully put into words the emotional rollercoaster I had been on reading this book. Frustration was felt throughout, for various reasons, but mostly because it is obvious what is happening but no one is taking action. You get caught up in the highs and lows of this book, I think that is why it such an emotional ride, you get so caught up with the story that the denial swiftly kicks in until you get the punch in the gut of the ending. I am attempting to not spoil things for you, but it is difficult to do so. All I can say is if you’ve read it you will understand.
This is a fantastic read, definitely one of my favourite contemporary YA reads. I would say it is similar to The Fault in Our Stars in that it is a real and emotional read, but the book in itself is all its own. It is its own story which is not actually comparable to any other. As I said at the beginning, it is emotional. You grow frustrated by some aspects of the book, but that is more because you can see what is happening but no one else seems to be taking action. My recommendation of this book does come with a warning, though, be prepared with tissues and be aware this will leave you a blubbering mess by the end.
I want to hear your thoughts on the book if you’ve read it. I want to hear about the wonders of your home more, though, because I want to attempt to appreciate the wonders of where I live. Do you find you don’t see the wonder in where you live anymore?