Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Rating: 4 Star
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.
Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I received an ARC of this book early from the publishers, and I just want to make a shout out to the little bits of extra effort they put into this ARC. Part of the book contains a wall of post-it notes of things Finch finds interesting or enjoys in some way, so the publishers stuck post-its into each copy of the book they sent out to reviewers with different things that the publishers liked. I thought this was an absolutely adorable thing to do and it really touched my heart. Here are my post-its:
Now, onto the actual book!
Now, we all know how I feel about books on suicide from when I reviewed Thirteen Reasons Why, but this book takes a different kind of look at depression why people might kill themselves. I feel I actually have had my views softened for some people who kill themselves. While with Hannah in TRW I thought it was mostly her fault for not speaking up or accepting the help offered. While in this book, I can see and feel the mental illness. Serious intervention would have to be taken to help the people in this book, and that would mean that people had to notice the signs instead of just shrugging them off. I admit that I even shrugged off some of the things that happen in this book as a character trait rather than a sign of something deeper. After reading this book I might not be so quick to jump to a negative thought about someone I heard who killed themselves.
The Parents… are insisting it was an accident, which, I guess, means we’re free to mourn out in the open in a normal, healthy, unstigmatised way. No need to be ashamed or embarrassed since suicide isn’t involved.
I think I liked all the characters in this book. I remember finding any of them disgusting in a way I did in TRW, I think most the side characters in this book just didn’t understand or didn’t notice any of the things that were going on.
The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.
Our main characters on the other hand are completely loveable. They are two completely different people, but they both come together at a moment when they were going to end it all and help each other in ways they didn’t even really know they needed help. Finch is up the bell tower deciding if this was the day he would kill himself or not, until he sees Violet there about to do the same thing, and he decides that he cannot let something so beautiful die and thusly he saves her and she saves him. He then lets the whole school think that she was up there to save his life, so that the whole school doesn’t pick on the pretty popular girl for thinking about death. I loved pretty much all their moments together. I was both jumping for joy and dying on the inside with the emotion that was created between the two.
“You asked why I wanted to do this with you. It’s not because you were up on the ledge too, even though, okay, that’s part of it. It’s not because I feel this weird responsibility to keep an eye on you, which is also part of it. It’s because you smiled at me that day in class. A real smile, not the bullshit one I see you give everyone all the time where your eyes are doing one thing and your mouth is doing another.”
“It was just a smile.”
“Maybe to you.”
The plot of this story is also very touching, and as I have stated, it taught me things. This book is only at a 4 start for me because the ending is not everything I wanted it to be. In the theme of the plot, the ending might have been very powerful, but just for me personally, it was not what I wanted from the book.
What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet – give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.
And there we have it guys. I don’t want to say anymore because I want your experience of the book to be just as powerful as it was for me. I reazd it months ago and I was only just now able to pull some thoughts together and give you guys a review. I strongly suggest you go get this book and be prepared for the emotions to come. I proudly display my ARC on my shelf, I will be reading this book again, and I might even go get a hardback to add to my collection. I have an interest in reading more good books on the topic and anything else the author publishes in a heartbeat.
Till Next Time…