{Release Day} Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

January 6, 2015 Book 8 ★★★★★

{Release Day} Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer NivenAll The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fiction, Love & Romance, Psychological, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Young Adult
Published by Knopf on January 6th 2015
Source: Provided by Publisher
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five-stars

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.

I want to start this review with something really simple, and frustrating nowadays: Publishers shouldn’t compare one book to other famous ones. Why? What if I didn’t like Eleanor and Park, or Gayle Forman, or John Green? A comparison like that brings great expectations, not to mention that it also repels some readers. The book didn’t even need those comparisons to stand on its own light and shine with it’s great story, which I will review now…

“Is today a good day to die?”

That’s the first sentence of the book, and once you read it you are gripped hard by it until you have to end it. This is a book that deals with suicide and the hardships some people face during high school, in this case Violet dealing with her sister’s death and Finch by staying awake.

“Come here often? Because this is kind of my spot and I don’t remember seeing you here before.”

These are the first words Finch spoke to Violet, that lead them to work together in a Geography project across Indiana and the start of their strange love.

I love the interaction between these two characters and the depth they both had. Violet detested Finch, and Finch kind of seemed to just be fooling around, but slowly through the entire book you see how their love develops as they both try to decide what life is really about and how to move on.

What really got me of this book was the emotion behind it. It deals in big ways about suicide and depression, mood swings, and even anorexia, common things among teenagers and adults. By the end of the book it got me thinking a lot about it, specially since during those days I wasn’t feeling too well emotionally and it inspired me greatly. Suicide is not something to be taken lightly, and through this book we see how depression slowly makes its way into a person and how it may affect others around him/her.

I loved the characters very much, specially Finch and Violet. Finch was nerdy Finch, Bad boy Finch, British Finch, and more Finches along the way. He was funny and sarcastic most of the time, but incredibly smart and profound, yet not in a very philosophical way. He battled with being Awake and not blacking out into Sleep, because he wouldn’t know how much time he’d be gone. He had a very hard life with his divorced parents, and it’s a contrast with Violet’s who are always present and there for her, even more after her sister’s death. Often in real life this happens, how parents don’t even realize how their own problems affect their kids in negative ways like what happens to Finch, plus other things.

Violet however was a girl that was afraid to live, so it seemed. She often regretted her sister’s death and used it as an excuse to not do some of her school work, counted the days until High School was over, and couldn’t seem to write as before. I loved how she expressed her passion for writing and how slowly she got back into it with brainstorms and ingenious ideas (Germ Magazine from the book exists! Click here to check it out 😉

I can’t give much details on the rest of the book because of spoilers, but it is an emotional rollercoaster. I cried like a baby, but worse.

After half the book there is a series of events occurring that really grip and play with your heartstrings. You don’t know what is going to happen, and dread starts to accumulate in your gut because you know something is very wrong, yet you hold on to the hope, to the rational thought that you are wrong and that you can’t know what will happen. And in real life it feels just like that, but worse.

I had a best friend who went through a series of problems because of his ex-girlfriend and family, which left him blacked out for two weeks, more or less. And every time he told me his problems I would tell him in tears and afraid to not commit suicide, that I’d go to his house and slap some sense to him before he even considered that an option.  Before that I went through a depression (over now) and it was horrible, plus I know other friends who have gone through the same. This book made me remember all that, yet by the time you are done with it you are left with a sense of responsibility to act and do something to help yourself and others. It gives you the hope that life goes on and that you matter, no matter what others may say about you.

Overall, it was really funny, sad, frustrating, and thought-provoking. Jennifer Niven has proved to be a great YA author with her debut in this genre, and I hope to see more of her future projects. Definitely worth the read.

Rating: 5 wonderful stars <3

 

PS. While reading the book, I was listening to a few random songs from my playlists and all, and I felt like some of them went pretty well with the mood of the book, or represented the characters in a way or another. Since most of them were almost depressive, I tried adding a few cheerful and playful ones about love. Enjoy!

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I'm Jennifer. Addicted reader, and lover of books. I'm a full-time college student majoring in English Liturature and Linguistics & Communication, with aspirations of being a professional editor. Among other things. In the meantime, I obsess over books, history, art, and politics. I believe in freedom of speech and reading whatever you want. Open to discussions about anything and everything 🙂
  • Genesis Sheli

    I don’t know I wasn’t as interested in reading this book but your review…. I don’t know where to begin. Yes, depression is one of the most horrible, terrible, awful things that can happen to a person. You had a depression, so you know that once you are better, your view on life changes so much. And you saying that this book is thought provoking on that end and suicide, to want to help others, did it for me. Now I need someone in my family to get me this book because I can’t break my ban of buying books. Great review, Jennifer. I really like your writing. I can’t wait until you write a book because I know it will go big.
    FELIZ DIA DE LOS REYES!

    • jmmbookworm

      I wasn’t interested in this book either, specially since I feel this issue is used a lot lately by authors in most of YA books. But this book has something different I guess. It goes deeper than I expected. I hope someone gets to buy it for you soon 😉 It’s worth the try. And awww thank you <3 I can't wait to get something down either hahaha. FELIZ DIA DE REYES! Woo more partying for Puertorricans 😉 lol

  • OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK SOUNDS PERFECT. I want the feels to wash over me. I want the romance to be amazing. I want this story, and its epicness. Lovely review 😀

  • I seriously need to read this book. I’ve been waiting for this to come out since December when I heard Kelly talking about it. I am looking forward to experiencing the emotions that you felt while reading this book!

  • What a powerful review Jennifer, it sounds like it really hit you in a relatable way, as did me! I didn’t say it in my review, but I dealt with depression in my family while growing up too, and it really brought back all those childhood feelings and I was crying all the tears. I loved how this book portrayed depression and mental illness in such a realistic and relatable way, and hopefully bring to light the understanding and healing for people. Great review Jennifer!

  • Bec

    *sobs* This book is just so wonderful. Wonderful characters, wonderful (but sad) story, wonderful everything. I can’t stop thinking about it.

    Thanks for the great review and letting me know Germ is real! I had no idea before now!

  • Couldn’t agree more, and especially with this book too. It completely stands on it’s own and really outshines anything even John Green could produce. Wasn’t it beautifully poignant. I can’t remember ever being so effected by any book before the way this one destroyed me. I sobbed. I think we’ve all been touched by depression through family or friends at at least one point in our lives, and it sounds like you could really relate here. Wow, and I didn’t know Germ was a real magazine, looks like they knocked it up to honour the book actually. What an incredible tribute! Brilliant review, absolutely loved it <3

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