Book Review: All The Bright Places

Book Review: All The Bright Places

All the bright places.

 

The New York best-seller and Jennifer Niven’s first Young adult novel, All the Bright Places, was published in 2015. It has gotten a lot of praise since then. It was selected for Zoella’s Book Club with WHSmith. It also won the Goodreads Choice 2015 award for YA Fiction.

As a fan of literature, I was skeptical about picking that book to read. But the amount of praise it has gotten grabbed my attention, as well as its insight on mental illness problems. It was not what I expected.  Also, the comments of big names attacked my attention. Such as Jennifer E. Smith. She believes: “It will break your heart and remind you what it means to be alive”.

Well well well, here goes nothing

Despite being given the name “the second The Fault in Our Stars”, I believe that is not quite true. Our book talks about Violet Markey, a seventeen-year-old teenager, and Theodore Finch, respectively switching between them in the narrative. They meet for the first time on the top of the bell tower in their school, almost thinking about contemplating suicide. They both have wounds where violet is still mourning over the death of her sister in a car accident, meanwhile, Finch is having some troubles with depression and dealing with his father. We see how they become partners in a geography school project, where they are assigned to wander around Indiana, slowly falling in love in progress.

The first thing I would like to talk about is that this book handles and portrays mental illnesses expertly. We see how Finch struggles in his daily life, often disappearing for days, and deals with negative thoughts. It does not glorify depression; everything Finch deals with a lot of us can relate to. He is in the novel a funny, light person yet he masks and hides his internal problems. I was surprised when I read more about violet’s character. She is the popular girl in school and Finch is in a different league. Yet they both share that they both keep their problems inside. It is finch who encourages her to step out of her bubble and break the walls she has built ever since her sister’s accident. Also, encourage her to write again on her blog.

Something very interesting that I found is that, for their wandering assignment, all the places they visited in Indiana are actually real places! For example:

1-Milltown, Shoe Tree:

It is a place in Indiana where people leave their shoes on a tree as a memory, and it looks quite beautiful.

2-Hoosier Hill:

It is Indiana’s highest point, and it is presumed as a landmark, standing at 1257 feet.

“I learned 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-foot bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.”

― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

3-Blue hole:

It is basically a bottomless pit of water in the middle, usually darker in color. This is where their love story started and ended.

As for its ending, it was really shocking and sad. As someone who devoted their time and heart reading, I definitely kept screaming “NO THIS CAN’T BE THE ENDING” while actually reading the ending. It had me crying like a baby. That was the first time a book does that to me, and probably not the last.

I even reached out to the writer, 3 years ago, when I first read the book, and I am sure it is clear how overwhelmed I was at the time *sighs*

She is such a sweetheart, isn’t she?

All in all, the book reminded me how is it like to fall in love again. but not only with yourself, but the world around you. And that there is such a thing as a bright place. I definitely do recommend everyone to read it even if you do not read many YA novels.

Being the hopeless romantic I am, I had to include one of my favorite quotes of the book:

“And in that moment, there’s nothing I fear except losing hold of her hand.”

― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

 

“If a song is meant to stay around, you carry it with you in your bones.”

― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

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