Author: Jennifer Niven
Publication date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: e-ARC from author via Netgalley (Thank you, Jennifer Niven!)
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this compelling, exhilarating, and beautiful 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.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
Written in alternate POVs, All the Bright Places follows the story of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey, two complex and flawed teenagers going through dark times in their separate lives. They meet at the ledge of their school bell tower one day and from then on, they became a significant part of each other’s life.
Author Jennifer Niven’s writing has a distinct rhythm and a fresh, resounding YA perspective that blows you away. She breathed life to unique characters that are definitely going to create a huge mark in the YA world. Finch and Violet have beautiful voices that captivate readers through thought-provoking insights. Both characters are dear to me but throughout the reading process, I have developed a greater fondness for Finch. How could I not? He is funny, bold, loving, and highly fascinating. He plays the guitar and writes songs! SWOON! ❤ Finch also has a way of speaking that draws anyone to listen. His words are like fairy dust scattered in the wind, spreading magic all over the place. But what I adore most about Finch is that he inspired Violet to break free from the cell of grief and guilt she imprisoned herself in. He gave her light to see reasons to live.
Finch and Violet’s romance is sweet and heartfelt! Their interactions will set off euphoric flutters in your stomach that could make you burp rainbows and the brightest sunshine ever. You know the feeling when you’re with someone you like and want to be something more? THAT!!! I melted at the little gestures such as exchanging smiles and holding each other’s hand. Oh. My. Heart! *happy sigh* And even after reading a swoon-worthy scene, the blissful electric feeling still lingers. 🙂 Finch and Violet’s relationship impressively displays the magnificence of discovering that person who reflects your soul.
After all the delightful moments, something devastating happens. Honestly, I’m still in denial until now. The emotions are very raw and painful. I didn’t react at first because I had faith that it’s not what I thought it was, that there’s still a chance for *insert name of character* to be in good condition. I held on to the hope that things would be fine but when I turned the page to the next chapter, that’s when I felt the finality of the incident, the gravity of its aftermath. Everything crumbled to dust. Tears started to fall uncontrollably. It’s the kind of moment where you need someone to hold you and say that things will be okay. But how can you move on when you feel like your heart is crushed, drained of blood and all the energy that’s keeping you alive? What hurts the most is the thought that you can’t do anything about it. What’s done is done. There’s no way to rewind time to stop it from happening. The weight is too much to bear but it’s an eye-opener to the reality that people do such a thing. When it happens, it affects everyone. I know this is fiction but it felt so real.
When you love a book that broke your heart in a spectacular way, it’s difficult to stitch your thoughts and emotions into articulate sentences. It took me two weeks to write this review because I had to gather enough courage and strength to keep myself together. Pouring out my feelings is like tending to a fresh wound as I cry recalling the sorrow, and then smile eventually when the happy memories take over. Having said that, I believe this book wants to tell readers that there’s hope in finding something bright in a world that seems so dark. Darkness will always be part of our life but when we think about the lovely things that put a smile on our face, brightness will shine through.
Thank you so much Jennifer Niven for writing this remarkable story!
Brimming with the brightest of hopes and the darkest of heartaches, All the Bright Places is a memorable tale of love, loss, and the beauty of being alive.