Book Rewind · Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Book Rewind · Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Today’s Book Rewind we are featuring All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I originally reviewed this book on my now defunct blog, so if this review seems familiar that is why. All the Bright Places was released in January of 2015, and if you weren’t aware the movie adaptation is in pre-production!
Book Rewind is a meme where we review a backlist title to distinguish reviewed books that are not a new release. We noticed we tend to review almost all new or newly released books and wanted to have a feature to spotlight some older books that we either just read or are just reviewing because we never got around to it, or possibly didn’t blog back then! This meme will be posted on Thursdays as a ‘Throwback Thursday’ kind of deal.
We totally encourage others to participate in the Book Rewind Review meme! Backlist titles need love too! Feel free to use our banner and be sure to link back to our page and tag us on social media so we can help promote your posts too!
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Category: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health
Publication: January 6th, 2015; Knopf
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.
*This review was originally posted back in 2015
I finished this book yesterday, and I still don’t have words to convey how much it meant to me. Or how much I loved it. I think Theodore Finch is the only one who would be able to write a review that does this book any sort of justice. Since that’s not possible, I will give it my best.
Typically when I’m reading, I highlight or mark important quotes so I can use them later to express important parts or themes of the story. In the case of All the Bright Places, that would have been nearly every sentence of every page. I’m not exaggerating at all. It’s that brilliant.
I love a book that makes me think and gives me a different perspective, especially on issues I’m not familiar with, or society has a misconception about. I admit that I had no idea what this book was about before starting it. I had received it from the publisher on NetGalley months ago, and unfortunately just now picked it up. That is my only regret.
The writing is flawless. The story moves at the perfect pace. Looking back, I wish I could have slowed things down. I wasn’t prepared for the reality of this story. At all. Even now, after having finished, I can’t make my brain stop thinking about all I’ve read. But I suppose that’s the sign of a phenomenal piece of literature. People always use the phrase “all the feels” when referring to a book that hits you right in the heart. To use that here would be a travesty. An unfairness. An insult. Because yes, it makes you feel, but it’s beyond words to describe the level at which you are sucker punched. Even now I’m having a hard time reliving parts of the story in order to give my thoughts.
Theodore Finch is unique. He’s troubled, and realizes it, but chooses to hide this truth. He acts out in ways that are expected of him by his peers. He’s a “freak” and often lives up to the name just because he can. But we see his real pain and darkness inside, and it’s those brutal glimpses that make you wish you could jump into the book and get this boy the help he so desperately needs. You don’t want to see his light go out, that return to darkness. He refuses to be defined by the label given to him, but the people who should recognize his troubles…don’t. The help wasn’t there. And when it got there in the form of a troubled girl, things did light up again.
UltraViolet ReMarkey-able, or just Violet Markey to everyone else, is stuck. After an accident that claimed the life of her sister, she is struggling to move on. The reality of what she went through has largely been ignored by her parents, friends, etc. and has made her believe the incident was her fault.
When these two come together, it’s like something in the world clicks and makes sense. Their meeting is unexpected, but it’s in that moment you realize that everything is about to change. Both of these characters are hiding things from the outside world. A class project is the cause of their intimacy, perhaps “forced upon” by Finch himself, but it becomes so much more than what they set out to do. And no, I am not talking rape. Somehow, Finch gets Violet to open up again. And Violet worms her way into his heart in the process. Their relationship is so beautifully written and powerful that I don’t want to talk much about it. It’s something you have to witness for yourself. However, I will say their first kiss is a truly memorable event.
So much of this book will make you re-think some of your high school days. I wish everyone would read this just once. Even as adults we can learn a lot from the story of Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. Maybe, just maybe, we’d be able to recognize those who are troubled and instead of bullying and tormenting them, we’d reach out a hand to help them.
All the Bright Places isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but neither is life. I think that’s what makes this book so special.