All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Book Review

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Book Review
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.
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I’m a day late returning this book to the library, and the fine I incur is 100% worth it.

This book is one of the few books that make it into the 5+ stars category.

Not to be cliché, but All The Bright Places is ….”all the colors in one, at full brightness.”

I went into reading, “All The Bright Places” blind, not knowing one thing about this book, other than it was Goodreads young adult winner. I can say with complete truth that I am so glad I went in blind because if I knew what this book was about, or knew where it was going, I would never have read it.

All The Bright Places is a sad book. Overall it isn’t, but when you get to the end you will be crying your heart out. You will need a towel to dry your eyes because a tissue just won’t be enough. Don’t let this scare you. It would have scared me and I would not have picked up this incredible book, but I’m so glad that I did.

We start the book out with Theodore and Violet meeting for the first time on top of the school bell tower. Theodore is contemplating if today is the day he should end it, and we don’t know what the heck Violet is doing up there. It is raining and freezing cold outside, making the top of the bell tower even more dangerous. When Theodore see that Violet is having a hard time getting down from where she has perched herself, he comes to her rescue and lets the school population that Violet had come up to talk him down from jumping. The bell tower is where the relationship between Theodore and Violet begins.

Through the book we learn about mental illness and depression. We learn just how dangerous it really is. We also learn that friendship is a beautiful thing and we should embrace others instead of pushing them away. Others are not better off without you here.

Not many of you know this, but I hail from the state of Indiana. All The Bright Places takes us on a journey of discovering Indiana, or wandering Indiana. I lived there for 15 years and did not know any of the places Theodore and Violet visited existed. Of course I lived there from birth to 15 and didn’t have a chance or the know-how to see these places. Back before the internet existed.

Theodore and Violet wander Indiana as part of a school project, but it turns into so much more. We learn about all the amazing places that Indiana has to offer, from the beautiful to the bizarre. I found myself looking the places up and feeling jealous that I missed out on these places when I lived there.

Theodore has a mental illness and suffers from major depression, while Violet has her own demons to battle. The two struck up a friendship during the project and took it from wandering to 2 places in Indiana to much more. It was interesting to read about all the places they went to. One location was this natural rock pool and I want to see it so bad. When I go visit my sister I’m going to have her take me to a couple of locations because Jennifer Niven makes them sound amazing.

I’m not sure how to wrap up this review for the book and convince you to read it, without giving much of the story away. There comes a turning point in the book that takes away the sadness and makes it into a beautiful story. You will still find yourself crying your heart out, but you realize that it has taken a really crummy situation into something beautiful. It is going to be an amazing movie. I’m glad that I read it before it comes to theaters because if the movie is anything like the story that came to life in my head, it’s going to be awesome. I’m excited Indiana is going to get some positive press instead of the negative it has been receiving lately.

So to summarize, read this book! It is a once-in-a-lifetime read. It is epic. It is sad. It is beautiful. It is “all the colors in one, at full brightness.”

 

 

five-stars

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