My sister-in-law recommended this book to me and I knew I was in for a ride when I got a text from her saying, “OMG, All the Bright Places 😡”. A book that makes you feel like that emoji and you still recommend it? I read it in about a day and yes, it was quite the book.
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 is one of those books with such Deep and Feeling teens that I can’t help but roll my eyes at what they say but still feel it, you know?
That’s one thing that contributes to my #1 issue with the book: characterization. Don’t get me wrong, I did like the characters. But sometimes they felt a bit too much like characters rather than people that might actually exist. I don’t know anyone who acts as eccentric and quirky as this entire cast of characters, and I’m kind of glad for that, but it made me feel a distance from the story that was disappointing.
Besides the weird characterizations, I enjoyed the plot, themes, messages, and general writing style of the book. I love a good road trip and, though this book doesn’t really focus on one grand road trip, there are the Wanderings and the exploration of Indiana that Finch and Violet go on. This really made me want to find all the weird destinations in my state and travel to them.
The presence of mental health issues was dealt with in a good way. I didn’t realize this book was based off true events in the author’s life until I finished the book, but even without knowing that I could tell that Jennifer Niven was being careful to not depict mental disorders in a negative and stereotyped manner. Nothing really felt like it was being used for the sake of trying to have a “different” and “original”book.
Besides the weird writing of the characters, the overall writing style was easy to follow and entertaining with the POV changes. You know I love a good multiple POV book, and these two characters are so different from each other that it was really cool to change chapters and see things from a different perspective.
I had been aware of this book but never really knew what it would be about. I’m so glad I finally picked it up because it gave me a view on suicide, grief, and mental health that I hadn’t given much thought toward. I would definitely recommend reading this!