All the Bright Places
By Jennifer Niven
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a kindle copy
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It’s official. Those quirky contemporary books that everyone else seems to gobble up like candy and rave about all over social media? Not for me. And when the hype gets to me and I’m like “oh, maybe the book IS decent, even for a contemporary issue book with quirky characters” I need to remember where I stand. Because All the Bright Places is just not the book for me. I can’t really say I hated it, but I’m frustrated by it. I can’t tell if maybe it’s just a tired trope or not as well written as I’d hoped or I’m just simply too old for the YA issue books with absent adults and inherently wise teenagers. But whatever the problem is, I just have to keep reminding myself to not let the hype get to me.
I don’t want to sound cold or ill informed when I say that I just didn’t think All the Bright Places captured anything real. I’m sure there are people out there who would vehemently disagree. But I will say that the book didn’t have the kind of writing that sucked me in or characters who found their way into my heart and that made any actual realistic aspects of depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, etc just fall flat. I feel like books should call out to not only those who have suffered from the tough topics they talk about, but to those who haven’t, so they may feel that they walked a mile in someone else’s shoes. If I haven’t felt like it was enlightening or realistic or remotely moving, what was the point?
All the Bright Places was like Paper Towns except the main characters were suffering from an array of mental disorders. Violet was dealing with the loss of her sister and having to face life without her. Finch was bipolar, but he was also from an abusive home and neglectful parents. In this story, he was the girl from Paper Towns, leading Violet on grand adventures. If Violet was the type to try to make herself appear smaller and avoid the spotlight, Finch was the loud and proud class clown who runs around in order to stay in the spotlight. Both characters were not dealing with life in a healthy and stable way and neither of their parents seemed to pay attention to anything.
The book felt contrived, full of issues, lacked real character depth, and left me feeling frustrated. It announced itself as a suicide book from page one and I knew I was waiting for someone to die. I knew who it would be and I’d hoped for some real emotion along the way. I’d hoped both characters would save each other in some way, even if one of them would die. But I never really connected with the story.