Book Review – All the Bright Places

October 2, 2015 Reviews 2 ★★★½

Book Review – All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Date Published: January 6th 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Depression & Mental Illness, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 400
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 4 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Ariadne Meyers, Kirby Heyborne
Rating: three-half-stars
Description: 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.

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Lynnpic Lynn’s Review:

Is it possible to both really like and really dislike a book at the same time? That’s how I feel about All The Bring Things. 

Theo Finch and Violet Mackey meet at the top of a bell tower, where they are both thinking about jumping. But in the end, they save each other. 

Violet is recovering from the death of her older sister in a car accident the previous year. She’s skating through life without really experiencing it. She uses the “Extenuating Circumstances” excuse to quit all of her activities, friends, school work, blog, and even applying to colleges. She’s not driven or ridden in a car since the night of the accident.

Theo Finch, or Theo Freak as the school bullies like to call him, is the weird kid at school. The one that acts out for attention. Or is he acting out for another reason? He disappears for days or weeks into the time he calls “Sleep”. And he counts the days he’s been “Awake”. His daily journal is a wealth of knowledge on suicide. Mostly because he’s trying to find the best way for his own suicide. And his friends and family just chalk this behavior up to that’s what Finch does. 

As for my likes: The characters of Violet and Finch. I felt empathy towards Violet and especially Finch. He was fighting off the Asleep, trying to live his life to the fullest. Getting Violet to live her life to the fullest. Always wanting an adventure. The two are working on a group project together, to Wander Indiana and learn about all of its wonders before its too late. This was the other aspect of the book that I really enjoyed. Having grown up in Indiana, I wish that we would have had such a project while I was in school. And that I would have know about the roller coaster built onto the side of a barn. Though to be honest, unlike Finch, I probably would have thought the project was lame, like the other students in the class. I think I will try to do some Texas wandering now to make up for my lack of wandering as a teenager. 

As for my dislikes: Aspects of this book were very similar to Paper Towns, whether on purpose or not. Violet spends an inordinate amount of time following Finch’s clues at the end of the book. I could have done with a lot less of that. I also wish that someone besides Violet would have cared when Finch disappeared. His family and friends were nonchalant about everything Finch did. I really didn’t feel any concern from any of the characters besides Violet.
I’m not really sure if it matters or not, but the description of a cross between Rainbow Rowell and John Green in the synopsis didn’t seem accurate to me. Sure, the John Green. But not the Rainbow Rowell. There were sad parts, but I never really found the joy and laughter that I get from reading Ms. Rowell’s books. Overall, I’m conflicted about whether or not I enjoyed reading this. Loads of emotion and crying. Well-written. I liked the first 2/3 of the book. But I just wish the plot was so similar to a lot of other books I’ve read. 

I think the author makes a good point about there being a vast difference between death as an accident or from sickness and death from suicide.

“People rarely bring flowers to a suicide.”  

PSA time. If you, or someone you know, needs help, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is here.



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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Romance
Overall: 3.5

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2 Responses to “Book Review – All the Bright Places”

    • Lynn

      Thanks, Ramona. Book club was mixed as well on this book. I’m glad to hear we weren’t the only ones.

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