An exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might die, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground—it’s unclear who saves whom. And when the unlikely pair teams up on a class project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, they go, as Finch says, where the road takes them: the grand, the small, the bizarre, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising—just like life.
Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a bold, funny, live-out-loud guy, who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet forgets to count away the days and starts living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
This is a heart-wrenching, unflinching story of love shared, life lived, and two teens who find one another while standing on the edge.
Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publication Date: 6th January 2015
So a friend of mine that never reads expressed an interest in this book. That told me that this book was something.
And then one day I was at Tesco, and I saw this book there! It was crazy cheap – like cheaper than Amazon so I bought it after reading a chapter. I feel like I need to point out that there is a warning at the back saying that it “Contains adult themes.” That should be warning enough since books never really have these things. So if you were to read it, proceed with caution.
There are 2 main characters and the entire book focuses on them. Other characters like parents and friends come into it, but don’t really play a part or we don’t really get to explore them.
Theodore Finch is the male main character and he’s always thinking about killing himself. We know he doesn’t want to though because there’s a part in the book where he says that he’s fighting to live. He’s basically fighting with himself. Theodore lives with his mum and 2 sisters. His parents are divorced and his dad is now married to another woman. Oh, and he’s also abusive and hits Theodore. He’s known as a “freak”/”troublemaker” at his school although it’s hinted that he’s still popular with the girls.
Violet Markey is the other main character. Her older sister whom she was very close with died, and Violet is depressed. She has a “perfect life” ahead of her: good family, good education and a “good” boyfriend.
What I really liked about the characters were that although they were both popular, they were very different. Theodore had undiagnosed bipolar disorder and received no real support/help. Violet on the other hand, had depression because of her sister’s death. Their backgrounds are also very different: Theodore’s family are uncaring while Violet’s family are overprotective.
I loved how Jennifer Niven used characters that were popular and not the stereotypical suicidal goths that society see as the only suicidal people. It felt more realistic and also more relatable this way.
The book follows Violet and Theodore. They meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, and talk each other down. After that, we get to watch as they become friends, and later on, as their friendship evolves into something more.
I have mixed feelings regarding the plot. The beginning was a bit slow and I didn’t like it that much. But when Violet officially starts becoming more active, and she and Theodore become friends, I started to get into it properly.
The book is told from 2 point of views: Violet and Theodore’s. They don’t always alternate, but generally they do every chapter. The point of views are easy to differentiate because of how different the characters are and their thoughts reflect that.
Like every contemporary, the writing is easy to read. At times though, the dialogue can get quite poetic. This mean that I find it hard to imagine actual humans saying it, but it also makes the book more soulful.
And I love some of the quotes from the book too. They rang with me and made me think.
The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.
Something I also loved, was how well I felt mental illness was portrayed.
At school, I catch myself staring out the window and I think: How long was I doing that? I look around to see if anybody noticed, half expecting them to be staring at me, but no one is looking. This happens in every period, even gym. In English, I open my book because the teacher is reading, and everyone else is reading along. Even though I hear the words, I forget them as soon as they’re said. I hear fragments of things but nothing whole.
The fact that Theodore could stare out the window and forget feelings of time was right. The way he expected people to be staring felt right. The way Theodore described his lessons felt right. He was detached.
It was relatable and it felt real. I don’t know how Niven did it, but it was raw and honest. the entire book and the way it dealt with mental illness was and that was what made it such an effective book that had a such an impact on readers.
OMG OVER A THOUSAND WORDS – I think I got a bit carries away.
I don’t want to give too much away, but I enjoyed this book. The ending bugged me a bit, but overall, it was still great. I loved seeing popular characters being depicted as the ones with mental health issues. I loved how Jennifer Niven didn’t make everything perfect. Theodore wasn’t recovering from mental illness, nor was he coping. He was living with it. In doing so, Jennifer Niven showed us the reality of mental illness and that not everyone got help.
- Interesting characters
- Kind of a slow build up
Rating: 4.5 Stars – See my rating system.
Owned: Yes!! I’m eyeing the Zoella’s Book Club edition too…
Recommended for: Those that want a contemporary, those that want to read a book with mental illness in. Oh and if you enjoyed Me Before You.
Have you read it? And do you like books that deal with mental health issues? I personally haven’t read a great deal of them, but I really enjoyed this one and will definitely be picking up more!