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.
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.
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.