All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven.
Publisher: Penguin Random House and Knopf.
Published: January 6th 2015.
Page Length: 378 pages.
Genre: YA Contemporary.
“Sometimes Ultraviolet, things feel true to us even if they’re not” – Theodore Finch.
Theodore Finch is fascinated by the idea and concept of death. He consistently imagines the ways in which he might kill himself. However, each time something good happens, no matter how minor, halts him from committing the unchangeable act.
Violet Markey lives for her future, counting the days until she graduates. Until then, she can’t escape from her Indiana hometown. Violet is trying to escape her heart wrenching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of their school’s bell tower, it’s uncertain of who saves who of the ultimate decision. When they pair up on a school project to discover ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Violet and Finch discover themselves.
The two both find that they can only be their true selves around each other, not around the gossiping teenagers at school. Finch is a weird, funny, risk taking and down to earth guy who’s not such a geek after all! Finch helps Violet throughout the novel about counting down the days and to start living in the present. But as Violet’s world begins to transform, Finch’s begins to shatter!
We loved the premise of the story and how it develops over the course of the novel. Jennifer Niven assimilated the idea and concept of mental illness, depression and suicide throughout the plot of All the Bright Places in a logical and realistic way. She guides the reader to educate themselves on what mental illness is and what it can lead to. We caught a glimpse of the characters suffering from these thoughts and feeling and we saw their families and friends suffering as well.
We couldn’t just read All the Bright Places in one sitting as it’s gut wrenching, exhausting and heart breakingly sad. The ending definitely ruins your mood after reading as everything comes at you all at once, leaving us in a silent shock! This book re-enacts how mentally ill people can be treated and how hard it can be for them to survive constant negativity. This book described that those suffering can be doing so in silence without anyone knowing. This novel can educate everyone into showing awareness towards others, to constantly check on those around you and if they are ok.
Jennifer Niven does an amazing job of developing a shattering collision between two complete opposites, sharing their feelings of being lost. One who is contemplating suicide and the other who is surviving the loss of a sibling. Violet and Finch both need each other to find understanding, loyalty, friendship, love, help and acceptance.
We found that the development of the main characters was a little slow. Their dialogue was beautiful and overwhelming. However, it was forced at times. Although their relationship progressed at a slower rate, this helped represent what they were going through in their lives. Another development that we were confused by was that although Violet liked Finch, she appeared cold. This could have been due to the fact that she was indeed still grieving her sister’s death.
We found the novel to be a bit meh at times due to the connection between Violet and Finch not seeming as strong. Their also didn’t seem to be enough chemistry to fulfil their liking to each other. We did really love the idea and plot of All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven as it did give us a greater understanding towards mental illness and how to move forward from it.
We recommend this novel to young adult readers. But, we do recommend this read to more mature readers due to the content that it covers.
Book Rating: 3/5 stars.