Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Review: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: January 6th, 2015
Hardcover, 384 pages
5 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
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.
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 graduations, 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 intent, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA.
If there's one word to describe this book, it would be beautiful. Beautiful because two characters find each other when their lives are anything but great. Beautiful because of the things they see, sights they explore and poetry they recite. Beautiful because of the words Niven has used and the way she has described everything to make me feel like I was there the whole time, from heart-wrenching beginning to end. She made me fall in love with Finch and his broken ways. She made me wish Violet would find her writing voice again and be able to move on after her sister's death. She took me on an adventure through Indiana, showing me places that are simple in their beauty but still made me want to go see them in real life. It takes a special person to make you fall in love, break your heart, and still leave you loving the book when it's all over.
Finch is the kind of guy I always fall for. He's a totally different person around Violet, someone he trusts and loves to be around. Outside of being with her though, he is suffering like crazy and nothing and no one can fix him but himself. He dreams of death, keeps records of ways people have killed themselves and constantly plans his own suicide. It broke my heart reading his chapters, not knowing if there wad any way for him to get past his depression. It's not easy and falling in love won't fix it, but I kept hoping he would get the help he needed. Violet just wants to graduate and get out of Indiana, but the accident that stole her sister is always on her mind. She can't seem to move past it and become the person she needs to be, a girl without a sister. She's alienated all her friends, but finds solace in Finch, a guy who quotes Sylvia Plath to her and takes her to these wonderful places. I could see how hard Violet was trying to fix things, and I wanted to help so badly.
There's no way to sugar coat this, this story will break your heart but in the best kind of way. Niven writing swept into a world of deep longing, of wanting a way out, of finding someone to love in a world where everything seems hopeless. Finch and Violet share more in a small amount of time than some people experience in a life time. I found myself dog-earing almost every page, wanting to remember how I felt, what I read, what I experienced throughout those pages. There were so many lines to quote, so many moments to capture. I want to make my own wall of quotes, write my own story, explore my own city and see things I haven't seen that could be magical. There was so much hope in this book, it filled me to the brim until I burst. Hope and death and pain and above all love. Seriously, just go pick this up, you will not regret it. Though, I suggest a box of tissues close by.
"I leaned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me, and that a 1,257 bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you're standing next to the right person."
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