So today I will be reviewing All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This book was one that I saw on the shelves at Waterstones and thought that it looked like a fun read! Also, according to Goodreads and numerous news sites, it is set to become a film in 2017! Such an amazing book so let’s hope the movie reflects that. Now let’s get on with the review!
Book Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Date Published: January 6th 2015
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 a captivating novel written by an up-and-coming author and describes how a simple rally of events can drastically alter the future of anyone. This story in particular follows the tale of Theodore (Theo) Finch and Violet Markey. Due to unfortunate circumstances, they meet at the top of the school bell tower. Both helping to save the lives of the other, they form an unlikely friendship and eventually love. Their bond only growing stronger with a school project, this relationship is… well… complicated…
There is so much that I loved about this story. I loved the diversity of the characters and how some who you thought had perfect lives, were actually rather complex and abstract. Finch was an amazing character to witness. The diversity in his personality and how rapidly it changed made you realize that he was scared of who he could be and what he could do. In his life, it is clear to see how the factors and decisions of his family and friends made him the person he was. Violet also was a unique character. Her life being changed after the untimely death of her older sister, pulling out of clubs and isolating herself from her friends, her character and Finch really merge well together and create an almost perfect pair. The other character I would like to mention is Amanda Monk. She plays the classic “popular high school queen” role with her own posy and her crude nicknames for anyone not inline with the status quo. However underneath all that status and popularity is an uncertain, insecure girl with no idea how to save herself. We find this out when she and Finch meet in an unusual situation which shall remain unnamed in the view of no spoilers.
As well as the depth of the characters, the plot line was also extraordinary. I felt that everything Finch did throughout the story (all the wondering and visiting unique places) told us a lot more about his personality than just meeting the character. Towards the end of the book, Finch leaves a trail for Violet to follow. This leads her to all the places he wanted her to visit and each with a little memento left by him to show he was there. Each place he led her to was somewhere that few kids their age would have been interested in visiting. Yet throughout the story of the wandering and arriving in unexpected places, Finch told the deepest parts of his personality to Violet on that final wandering through every gift he left her. This made us realize just how in-depth his character was and how much he had grown to trust Violet in the short time he knew her.
There was honestly very little that I disliked in this novel. The one thing would probably be that I felt we didn’t get to know the real reason for decisions that Finch made and I found that to be almost unfinished in a way. I knew how it was going to end after Finch sent the emails to his close friends and family, however I found them to be very abstract and without a clear reason (however this did perfectly fit his character). I feel like right at the end of the book, there should have been a way to clearly understand what happened as I found it to be confusing.
Other than that one thing though, this book was perfect. Complex, interesting characters coupled with a perfectly deep and twisting plot line made this an enticing and gripping read all the way through. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of 13 and likes romance, occasional serious issues and hidden humour. It is a great addition to the world of YA and perfect for fans of John Green (TFIOS, Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska etc.), Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor and Park, Fangirl etc.), Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why etc.) and Gayle Foreman (If I Stay, Where She Went etc.). I look forward to seeing what else this new writer has up her sleeve.
Thanks for reading and I’ll post again soon!