All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places Jennifer Niven

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

Is today a good day to die?

Plot

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. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

 

Review

Violet recently lost her sister in a terrible accident. She doesn’t know how to deal with her not being there anymore and struggles with the guilt of surviving when her sister didn’t.

Finch has just recovered from a bout of darkness. He’s awake now and determined to stay awake. He will keep the darkness at bay, he will live and he will ignore the dark voices inside his head.

And here’s something else he’d never believe – I’m fighting to be here in this shitty, messed-up world. Standing on the ledge of the bell tower isn’t about dying. It’s about having control. It’s about never going to sleep again.

Both have their own reasons for finding themselves on the top of the school’s bell tower that day. It is the day that will change everything for them. Thrown together on a school project, they go wandering around their home state of Indiana, visiting unsual and quirky places and slowly, but surely, Finch draws Violet out.

All the Bright Places was such a sweet, heartbreaking story. I just wanted to take the characters, hug them and tell them that everything will be okay.

I really liked how their struggles were portrayed in the book. Violet’s guilt over her sisters death and how neither she nor her parents know how to talk about it and how it affects her whole life.

We haven’t taken one since before the accident. This would be our first trip without Eleanor, but then there have been lots of firsts – first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s Eve. This is the first calendar year of my life that she hasn’t been in.

And then there’s Finch, who struggles with terrible depression, alternated by manic episodes where he won’t sleep, where he has to keep going, keep doing things. His depression constantly hangs over him like a cloud.

It was really well portrayed, the differences between the Finch he shows to the world – crazy, outgoing, full of strange ideas and energies, and the Finch he is inside – afraid and thinking about his death a lot. It was terrible how little support he received, how much people dismiss stuff as ‘just typically Finch’.

I also really liked their romance. They fell in love slowly, it was believable and really sweet.

I like the idea of something that can give you those feelings all the time. I want something like that, and then I look at Violet and think: There she is.

I really cared about these characters, I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted them to be okay. I wanted a miracle cure for Finch. But life doesn’t really work that way and depression is a terrible foe.

Conclusion

Beautiful and heartbreaking, full of sorrow and joy.

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