background photo via joyreads on instagramAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Random House Children's Books on January 6th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Depression & Mental Illness, Death & Dying, Love & Romance
Amazon // The Book Depository
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.
powerful. poignant. painful.
in all honesty, i don’t think i’ll ever be able to recover from a book like this one. it’s left me – mentally, emotionally, and physically – a blubbering mess. i did enjoy this novel, but it was extremely heartbreaking. i’ve managed to continuously cry for an hour while reading this, and that’s saying something because i’m generally not a “crier” for books. a few watery eyes here and there, but while reading this there were real life tears streaming down my face. i just… i can’t. UGH.
since this book was so awfully emotional, i’ve had a hard time writing a review. my thoughts and feelings are all over the place, but i’ll try my best. please bear with me.
“Is today a good day to die?”
– page 1, first sentence
both main characters of this novel were complex, quirky, and entirely their own.
theo finch was hard to decipher, but that’s what i enjoyed most about him. he was thorough and i feel like if i were to reread the novel, i would get to know him even more, with each and every sentence. he was snarky, sarcastic, caring, and all in all, brilliant. the complexities of his mind and personality continues to surprise me. throughout the novel, violet’s character developed and changed so much. it was absolutely beautiful to watch her grow from a pessimistic “popular girl” to an entirely new person. but personally, i preferred reading from finch’s perspective. niven did an amazing job separating these characters with their unique voices. if i didn’t read the chapter titles, i’d still know who’s pov i’m reading from. (cough unlike in another book i read, in which both character’s voices sounded the same ugh)
“The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.”
– pg. 129
the romance in this novel was absolutely adorable.
their interactions were smooth and they were so cute. i could feel the bubbling chemistry between finch and violet, and I LOVED IT. View Spoiler »i loved their group project and the inside jokes and the subtle hints. i loved their adventures together and the jovian-plutonian hoax. i loved how finch made a facebook account specifically for violet. i love everything about the two of them and i could honestly go on and on and on. « Hide Spoiler
“You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.”
– pg. 142
jennifer niven perfectly portrayed the harsh truth of society, labels, gossip, and more.
through our characters, we see how easily and naturally our society labels people. if you’re rich, you must be happy, carefree, and popular; if you’re different, you must be “weird” and a “freak”; if you’re intellectual, it’s obvious you’re a nerd; if you’re depressed, you must be doing it “for attention.” it was incredibly sad to see how the inaccuracy and misinterpretation of our thoughts could affect a person.
niven showed that not everyone suffering depression is openly sad, moping, or unhappy. the striking truth of depression and suicide was a constant reminder of society’s misconception. suffering depression and suicide is not something that is one’s choice.
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
– pg. 253
also, it was beautiful to acknowledge that not everyone is who they seem. there were characters categorized into these labels, but it was clear they were more than what other’s classified them as. it made me realize that everyone is complex and worth knowing.
overall, i think this novel was very profound and moving. it reminded me of the fault in our stars (or any john green book, really) because it was so painfully emotional and deep. if you’re not comfortable with sad books or heavy topics like depression and committing suicide, then i wouldn’t recommend this book because it has a lot of that.. however, other than these minor triggers, i’d definitely want the world to read this (even though i know it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea). it was a beautiful and wonderful debut novel and i cannot wait to see what else there is in store.
side note: i also really enjoyed this novel because we get to explore indiana and see so many cute landmarks. i read/began it on the plane flying to indianapolis, indiana and it made my experience that much more real and enjoyable. i could actually feel the hot summer air (but not the snow because like… it’s summer right now and it’s HOT).