All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
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.
I really enjoyed All the Bright Places, it was a well written book and the topic that Jennifer Niven discusses is not one you see a lot in teen books. A few chapters into the book I kinda knew how it was going to end but regardless it still kept my attention and I could not put the book down.
Theodore Finch was a really well written character. I fell in love with him from the beginning and reading from his point of view was always interesting. His character is sort of hard to decipher but that is what makes him so interesting and what I loved about him.Violet Markey‘s character developed throughout the book and it was amazing being able to see her grow from a pessimistic, “world hates me” attitude to a more vibrant person who was okay with herself and learned to let the past go. I really like that both character’s voices were different and you did not even need the chapter titles to distinguish between the two. Often times reading from different point of views the characters sound the same but Niven did a great job keeping their voices different and unique.
The romance in the this novel was not really insta lovey, at least not for violet, and I did enjoy that. I liked that the romance in this novel grew and was not just thrown in your face. I really enjoyed the relationship between the main characters and I believe you guys will too.
“What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet – give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us.” – Theodore Finch, page 168
The issue that Niven conveys in this book is very powerful and really though provoking. She deals with mental illness, accepting yourself, depression, labels, and much more in this book. The way that Niven writes about depression was brilliant, she showed how someone with depression may not openly show signs and that they might seem happy on the outside but are so broken and torn inside. There were people in the book that could have helped but instead they decided to brush it off as just a normal thing and way that the character acted. That was one thing that bothered me in the book but I think it was necessary to show because there are people who struggle in this world but their loved ones do nothing to help.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and I think you should definitely pick it up and give it a try! It will bring you to tears and will hopefully make you think. There things that I think could have been written differently but the message in the book is worth the read.