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 ❤
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!