All The Bright Places - Jennifer Niven
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.
All the Bright Places
Knopf Publishing Group
Contemporary Romance, YA
‘All the Bright Places’ is one of those books that you can never forget. They leave a lasting impact on you and change the way you perceive things in life. It is written with such elegance and poise that it makes you want more. After I finished this book I almost went into a reading slump trying to find a book that left this type of effect on me. The book follows a story about two students that go to the same high school, Finch and Violet. They first meet at the Bell Tower where Violet is attempting suicide but Finch comes to her rescue. Finch and Violet are polar opposites. Finch is unpopular, weird, and a freak. Whereas Violet is popular with a hit online blog. The book is described through their friendship and love, their adoration for each other is so enchanting that it warms your heart. The two create a bond through a school project and they end up falling in love. But it isn’t a typical love story, it’s special and unique.
“The thing I realize is, that it's not what you take, it's what you leave.” ~ Jennifer Niven, All The Bright Places
This book is truly impactful and unforgettable. Jennifer shows teenagers struggling with mental health problems, mainly focusing on suicide. The book delves into the struggles of the characters as they try to cope with their personal losses. It highlights both the ways in which some are able to move past their grief and push forward, as well as those who are unable to escape their pain and are trapped in their memories. The author does a great job of showcasing both the positive and negative aspects of depression, painting a realistic picture of what it can look like for those who are struggling. The book touches on first love stories and how easy it is to fall for someone. The result of the project is Finch and Violet going on road trips together. They both try to become better versions of themselves around each other. Finch is occupied with the idea of death, but for Violet tries to find reasons for living. Violet is absorbed by guilt, but for Finch, she begins to let go. Both of them want to make it happen. Along their journey, they begin to realize that maybe love isn't the answer, and that love is not able to and can not fix everything. They deny this fact and refuse to believe it, hanging on to the hope that their relationship will keep them afloat.
Something I didn’t like about this book was how it sometimes romanticized mental health disorders and made them a cute oddity.
Plot and Themes:
Overall the book is a phenomenal read, touching both life and death and showing the reader how valuable living is. The book also exhibits many messages, one of them being that one cannot judge a person's struggles just by their appearance. Those who appear to have it all together on the surface might actually be facing hidden battles and difficulties in their personal lives. It also emphasizes the influence one individual can have on another person's life and the memories they create together can be profound and enduring. These positive experiences can leave a lasting impact and beautiful memories that continue to bring joy and comfort, long after they are gone.