on January 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Narrator: Ariadne Meyers, Kirby Heyborne
Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
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.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
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.
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.
I’ve been putting off this review for a long time. I’m not sure what I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said a million times. All the Bright Places really hit home for me. I have a very close family member that suffers from bipolar disorder. Reading this book was sometimes hard. Sometimes I couldn’t help thinking of my own personal experiences. That didn’t keep me from loving Violet, Finch, and the story, though. I think it made me love it more. This review will probably have spoilers. I don’t think there’s anyway around it.
All the Bright Places is a tough book. From the very first page you are swept up by Violet’s sadness and Finch’s energy. I loved Finch from the start. He’s so exuberant. He’s the kind of person that I could be friends with. His mental illness is apparent from the beginning but Jennifer Niven does such a good job at making you forget or second guess yourself about it. Which is the way it sometimes happens in real life.
Violet was wonderful too. She doesn’t jump off the page like Finch does. Her sadness is so deep and quiet. I loved watching her catch glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. She really grows so much throughout the book. Her grief for her sister is always there, but she starts to move on thanks to Finch.
Even if you haven’t read this you’ve probably heard it’s heartbreaking. I knew it was going in. It still crushed me. I was in denial or Finch convinced me that he was going to make it through. Whatever it was All the Bright Places broke my heart into a million pieces.
I love the way the last bit was written. It felt extremely realistic to me. I’ve experienced the slow leaving or sudden disappearance of a person sitting right beside you. I know exactly how helpless Violet felt. I’ve even preformed that frantic, dreaded search like Violet does. Thankfully, my search had a better outcome.
The way that Jennifer Niven cuts off Finch’s chapters really brings the story to a fever pitch. We, as readers, are experiencing the same things Violet is. Finch was accessible and here one second and then a unknowable character the next. The book left me with endless questions. Why being the most prominent one. Why, Finch? It left me feeling hopeless and lost. That’s only a tiny fraction of the feelings brought on by a loved one’s suicide, I’m sure. But I can admire how realistic it felt. I liked that things weren’t tidied up at the end. I liked that Finch didn’t really explain his self. I loved how real it all felt.
The audio performance was very well done. I enjoyed the dual narratives. Kirby Heyborne was perfect. I didn’t like Ariadne Meyers as much, but I did get used to her voice quickly.
All the Bright Places was definitely a hard book about two lovely characters. I haven’t been able to get Violet and Finch out of my head since listening to the audiobook. I was left with so many questions and a lot of heartbreak, but it was so worth it.