All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“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.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again, and back with another review! I finally read All The Bright Places after hearing tons of great reviews!

“Sometimes there’s beauty in the tough words—it’s all in how you read them.”

Stars (Out of 10): 7/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I finally got around to reading this book, after hearing major hype about it over the past year or so, and I have to say it pretty much lived up to it. I was extremely hooked on to the beginning of the book, and the build up of the characters, their situations, and the plot. While I liked the ending less, and maybe it would have been better to read the entire book in one sitting, I still did enjoy it.

The Good: Interesting characters, interesting plot, had me hooked then heartbroken. Also, a main issue that I often find with books dealing with mental illness or other traits that lead to discrimination (such as characters in the LGBT community) is that those traits are often what makes up that character entirely, rather than just affecting an existing personality. I am super happy to report that this book did not feel like that at all, as Finch was an actual person, not just a walking mental illness. In addition, I also felt this book did not try to “beautify” or “promote” having a mental illness, another thing books and social media sometimes does, and manages to realistically show the tough parts of it, while still making Finch be a completely normal person. In this sense, I felt the book did a fantastic job.

The Bad: Didn’t care much for the ending, some parts felt unrealistic, or that connection to the characters dropped off for a bit, before it getting better again for the last few chapters.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

The Characters: I really liked how the characters all clicked together. No, Violet and Finch lives weren’t puzzles that just found their missing piece, as there were moments you could see their different pasts and upbringings coming into play, but they still ended up having a great, at least in the beginning, relationship. In addition, I also like how realistic all the relationships felt, and how they seemed to actually have meaningful impacts on the people Violet and Finch became. Lastly, I am glad this wasn’t another YA book where the parents seemingly don’t care or disappear as the teenagers go on magical adventures and bond. There were consequences that matched the situation (and their parents’ parenting style) whenever Finch or Violet lied, or disappeared, or did things they shouldn’t have.

The Plot: I am happy with everything but the ending. No, I am not just mad that Finch died. I am just frustrated with how the author wrote that particular part of the story. During the beginning of the end, we saw no more input from Finch, when the readers were used to near constant chapters and input from him. Yes, it was necessary to make the actual ending more impactful, but it felt kinda rough, and it felt weird suddenly missing a character, even though they weren’t yet dead at that point (although I guess this is how Violet went through it.) In addition, I didn’t like how Violet ended up hanging out with Ryan again somehow, and while she didn’t want anything more again, they kissed. And this was all while Finch was still missing, not yet dead. I get her moving on, it was just weird she went back to a guy that she said she would never want again, and it seemed to show a regression in the character Violet had become/was becoming, and almost deleting all the progress towards “being herself” she had made.

The Favorite Character: Violet

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