Novel: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Goodreads
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
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.
Includes a PDF Help Line Resource Guide and a Note Read by the Author.
This was Lit Up Review’s Spotlight Book Club pick for March. It’s definitely reminiscent in some ways of The Fault in Our Stars but I thought it stood nicely on its own. I liked it better than TFIOS, but it deals with the same tough and gritty issues in a different way. This book focuses on mental illness – bipolar disorder in particular – and suicide. But it also wonderfully highlights the importance of relationships – friendships, family structure, and romance. All the Bright Places is written from two different perspectives: Violet and Finch. Finch was my favorite of the two protagonists. He’s always been an outcast and has been labeled oversensitive by his family for feeling too much, for taking on the whole world’s pain. He’s deep, he’s a thinker, and he’s compassionate and empathetic beyond belief. Violet is part of the in-crowd at school, but ever since her sister’s death, she hasn’t fit in the way she used to. This book is about both characters finding themselves with the help of each other and the story is truly happy until about halfway through. Then Finch goes dark, spiraling out of control in manic stages that Violet can do nothing to stop. The characters don’t do enough to try to help Finch until it’s too late. But the book goes on a bit after that and I appreciated the closure Violet and the reader gets. Jennifer Niven truly does an excellent job of describing mental illness and suicide and all the nasty effects. She shows what it’s like to be afflicted and to be close to someone who is afflicted. I also really enjoyed Niven’s incorporation of seemingly boring Indiana so deeply into the plot and setting, along with notable works of classic literature into Vi’s and Finch’s conversations. I loved this book wholeheartedly and I cried at the end. I fully recommend reading All the Bright Places. You’ll be forever changed.
I gave this novel 5/5 stars on Goodreads.
Notable Quotes from the Novel:
- “It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” – Theodore Finch
- “I am forever changed.” – Violet Markey
- “People rarely bring flowers to a suicide.” – Author’s Note
(There are a ton more, but they are a lot more relevant in the context of the novel so I’ll let you discover them for yourself!)
Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts on All the Bright Places.