Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 378 pages
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Source: Library (Libby)
Triggers: suicide ideation, suicide attempt, suicide completion, death, loss of loved one, grief, PTSD, bullying
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.
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 a beautifully written, tragic, difficult, and important read. Violet and Finch have the quirky, intelligent, all-consuming kind of relationship that only seems to exist in YA novels. The novel alternates between their POVs.
I really enjoyed their school project visiting different attractions Indiana, and how they felt free to be themselves when it was just the two of them. Violet had been aloof since her sister’s death, but Finch helped her feel grounded again. However, Finch struggled with depression and a rough home life. The amount of things he was able to hide from his parents was staggering because they were so uninvolved in his life. He wanted Violet to be his savior, but that’s too much pressure to put on any one person. Finch needed more people to care about his well-being and his mental health.
This book deals with some very heavy and emotional topics, and I definitely shed some tears while reading. Make sure you are emotionally prepared before you pick this up, because it has a lot of potential triggers. This book shows how important it is to check up on the people you care about, pay attention, and trust your gut when something seems off because they may not be able to help themselves. At the same time, you are never singularly responsible for what goes on in another person’s head.
I did feel like the ending dragged a bit, and while this book made me very emotional, I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would’ve liked. That might be because I listened to the audiobook and I was not always giving this story 100% of my attention, or maybe I’m outgrowing this kind of YA story. Still, it was beautiful and heartbreaking, and I would recommend it.