Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
My rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads summary: 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.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.
This was the final book I chose for the #TBRtakedown 5.0 challenge, and I chose it for the “out of my comfort zone” category. The main themes covered in this story were suicide, mental illness, bullying, and friendship. I don’t usually like to read anything that I think will reduce me to a sniffling teary mess, so I was a little wary going into this story.
Definitely out of my comfort zone!
This book is told from the perspectives of a boy named Finch and a girl named Violet, two teens who each have more than their fair share of troubles, and are struggling to cope in their everyday lives. The two met atop a tower where they had both come with the intention/desire to jump, and each talked the other down from the ledge. They are two distinctly different characters, yet I found them both to be very relatable. Violet has lost her way after the death of her older sister and is constantly dealing with the guilt of surviving when her sister did not. Finch on the other hand is one of the most unique, eccentric, highly-energetic characters I’ve ever encountered, while simultaneously being such a deeply depressed, misunderstood and overlooked individual. I liked how the author kept the details of what was troubling Finch quite vague (using terms like “awake” and “asleep”) until near the end when all was made more clear. It was really interesting and entertaining to read both of their perspectives, but also very sad to see how they often suffered in silence. I think that’s one of the things that makes this book so important though: we need to realize that its okay to feel not okay, and its okay to reach out for help when you need it. Furthermore, mental illness needs to be taken more seriously; it is so important that we look out for each other! There were a few times in this book that I wanted to reach through the pages and slap some sense into Finch’s parents and friends; they always brushed off his absences and odd behavior by saying things like “that’s just how he is” instead of taking it seriously and trying to help him.
One small “complaint” I guess I have with this book is that the ending felt a little blunt to me. I would’ve liked to see a bit into the future with the college decisions and all that jazz, but I understand that this wasn’t the focus of the story so it wasn’t really necessary. I think I was just curious and I didn’t really want the story to end. 🙂 I loved that Violet overcame her fear of driving by the end though; her character really showed a lot of growth!
Otherwise, I don’t believe I have anything negative to say. This book was tragic and beautiful, heartbreaking and eye-opening.
I loved it.
Be forewarned though, you should have a box of tissues handy!