Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven

Summary: 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. 

Why I read it: I've been on a huge contemporary kick lately. Don't ask me why. Maybe because they're have been so many great new releases lately? I've just heard so many great things about it, so I decided to pick it up.

Thoughts: I loved it.

It's now been a while since I read this book, but it's still just as hard to find the words to describe how much I loved it, and why.

I can never decide if I'm a fan of dual-POV stories, but when it works, it really works. And it worked here. Both of our protagonists, Violet and Finch, were so richly drawn. They had their quirks and distinct personality traits, and I felt like I could know these people in real life. And I loved their relationship. I absolutely loved the way it built from the ground up, and how it progressed throughout the story.

We don't get many secondary characters here. There are a couple of Finch's friends, a couple of Violet's, and the families of course, but none of them ever get much of the spotlight. And that's okay. This story is very much about Violet and Finch and their influence on each other, not the world around them.

The writing was wonderful. I could see everything coming off the page, could picture every detail in my head.

And the plot. Here's where it gets hard to articulate my feelings. I love the whole idea of "wandering," and all the places they go are so interesting and fun. What was even better was finding out after I read the book that all of these places are real. That made me appreciate it even more, the fact that Jennifer Niven had put so much thought and research into the book.

I won't spoil you. I can't even think about spoiling you. This book is heartbreaking. I knew that general feeling going in, but it didn't lessen the blow. There were times I was outraged, disgusted by the people around Violet and Finch, violently upset that no one could see what was going on. But that's realistic. Not everyone is open-minded. Not everyone is intuitive enough to know. Not everyone is sensitive enough to understand. And it's horrible, but it happens. Maybe this book will help others see it in real life when they couldn't before.

But even so, it's still filled with hope. It's filled with that fantastic sense of wonder that we sometimes lose going from childhood to adulthood.

I don't have much more to say. It's a beautiful book and every time I think about it, I smile a little. Highly recommend.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tell me: have YOU read this book yet? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

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