Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

all-the-bright-places-jktEdition: E-Book, 300 pages
Published by: Penguin Books, 8th Jan 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Mental Health, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Rating: A whooping 5 stars!

Summary courtesy of Goodreads:

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.


tumblr_static_tumblr_static_avo0awyllewos4sg4w8swwo0o_640 Screen-Shot-2014-07-03-at-4.35.26-PM All The Bright Places is written from the first person point of view of Finch and Violet. What is great about this style of writing is that we get to understand the characters in their point of views.

“Do you know I’d give anything to be you for a day? I’d just live and live and never worry and be grateful for what I have.”

I enjoyed reading about Finch’s POV because he sounded like a very interesting, strange and incredibly quirky character, but something felt a bit off, I could tell there’s something wrong with him. Fascinated by death is not a normal thing to think about but Finch is really fixated by it, which is very odd. Every time he attempts to kill himself, there’s something stopping him. He’d go home and research it, finding out which famous person killed themselves and the statistics. Another thing stopping him is Violet because he starts to fall in love with her.

Violet was a popular girl. She was on the cheerleading team, her sister Eleanor was her best friend, had a boyfriend and great friends. She was passionate about writing and had a website dedicated to her creative writing called eleanorandviolet.com. However she lost it all when her sister died in a car accident. Violet didn’t have the will to do the things she loved anymore such as writing, couldn’t talk to her friends or be with her boyfriend and couldn’t be who she was before. She couldn’t bear to drive a car anymore and would only walk or ride a bike. Her entire world is shattered. It was like she couldn’t go on living anymore, that’s why she was on the bell tower coincidentally meeting Finch.

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So they are paired up for a Wandering project to explore Indiana for their US Geography subject, in which Finch spontaneously suggests that Violet should be his partner. Together they learn new places about Indiana and I enjoyed reading their adventures together because gradually learn how to be themselves. Violet is able to let go, live and even started a new website for her creative writing, whilst Finch on the other hand is struggling.

Finch is probably the quirkiest and oddest character I’ve ever read. He’s so fun and spontaneous! But as you read on, you can sense he has a problem. He likes to step into different identities, such as 80s Finch or badass Finch and he seemed to be very excited to do spontaneous things, which is very out of the blue and it seemed like a sign of bipolar. He was trying so hard to fight it but couldn’t. No one knew about his illness. He bottled it up inside and felt like he couldn’t talk to anyone, which is very tragic because he could have spoke to someone.

I was very annoyed about Finch’s family. They did not take his illness seriously as they should have! They just brushed it off, hoping he’d get better but it only gotten worst. His sisters just simply said oh he does this sometimes, runs off and doesn’t come back for a few days. It sounded like they didn’t care.

“What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them. Actually, I know exactly how that feels.”
I was not prepared for the ending. It literally did break my heart. I had so many feels! I’ve never said this about any book before (not even the Fault in Our Stars) but it was like as if this book had my heart in the palm of its hand ready to crush it; it sounds a bit dramatic but that’s how it felt. I just couldn’t believe how much I was crying at the ending! This is the reason why I don’t read sad books. It’s a talent if a writer is able to evoke emotion from you. Mental illness is a very strong and deep subject to write about and it does give readers who don’t know (or do) about it an eye opener into what Finch is going through. I loved the characters and it was written so well! I found it quite amazing how these two characters met, fell in love and learnt how to be with each other despite their burdens.
Overall, this was a sad and amazing story. I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I finished it. I related to the book because I have dealt with a member of my family’s mental illness, which hasn’t been easy but it’s not something that should be ignored because it can deteriorate. I was a bit numb from the crying but this is probably one of my favourites this year. Big props to Jennifer Niven for writing it, as it couldn’t have been easy. The author’s note was very moving and I think it contributed to my rating for this book.
On another note I really like the cover! The blue paint with the cute post-it notes is adorable.
Bottom line: I highly recommend! But my tip is to get some tissues ready.
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Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
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6 thoughts on “Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

  1. OH! I love the graphics you used in this, they’re really cute! I’ve heard so much about this one in the blogosphere but haven’t picked it up yet. It really does sound interesting and seems like it’d be an emotional rollercoaster of a read. Nice review, Thuong!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I was on google images when I found all these lovely images! It is quite a emotional rollercoaster, now that you mentioned it! I think it kind of sneaked up on me. Here’s me thinking its just going to be a ‘okay’ read and then ended up really enjoying the story and tearing up along the way. I hope you enjoy it 😀 I think it’s definitely a must-read 🙂 x

      Liked by 1 person

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