Monday, April 13, 2015

Julie's Review: All The Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven
Series: None
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 400
Obtained: via a friend
Genre:  Young Adult
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Heartbreaking, gut-wrenching and beautifully written
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
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.

Review: All the Bright Places is one of those breathtaking novels that consumes you. Whether you are an adult that reads this or a teen, you will see bits of yourself, your friends and your family in these characters.Theo Finch is an outsider, Violet Markey is an insider in their world at Barlett High School. It is a fateful day that brings them together under some less than stellar circumstances. It is also when Finch decides to take things into his own hands and partner with Violet on a school project.

It's not that you can't see the writing on the wall. You know that a couple things are going to happen: 1) They will fall in love with each other, Finch quicker than Violet 2) One of them will end up more broken than the other one. I was quick to adore Finch. He's likable and self-effacing. Like all teenagers he doesn't know who he is. He keeps "trying on" new personalities, when really the best one is him just being himself, if he could figure out who that really is. He wants to think that he's letting Violet see the real him but I think he's being what he thinks Violet wants him to be. He never really lets her or anyone else in. No one really knows the struggles he has gone through.

Violet is wandering after the death of her sister, Eleanor. She feels survivors guilt and doesn't know how to move on. It isn't until Finch pairs up with her for a school project that she begins to live again. It opens up her eyes to the good around her.  I loved that Violet's outlet was writing and that while she couldn't do the same thing she did with her sister, she decided to something different. I also loved that she branched out and found like minded people.

Reading this as an adult and parent, I think it just highlights the troubles that teens can go through. I think that it's always hard to go through those years, everyone comes out scarred in some way, but teens these days have other factors we didn't have, like social media. I also realize that as a parent you have to let your teen experience things that perhaps you'd like to protect them from. It allows for growth. (P.S. remind me of this when mine are in their teens)

We are all broken in some way, it is up to us to figure out how to fix ourselves and perhaps see ourselves how other people see us because most of the time they see the better part of ourselves.

This story will make you feel hopeful, sad, happy and it will break your heart. These characters will stay with you long after you have closed the book.



The Cover Contessa April 13, 2015 at 7:45 PM  

Fantastic review. Like you, I adored Finch. And I knew that there would be romance and tragedy. This book sucked me right in. I will say that I wasn't 100% thrilled with the end. I felt like it was a bit abrupt and didn't really wrap things up as much as I would have liked. Overall I really enjoyed it, though!

Michelle April 14, 2015 at 12:12 PM  

I adored this book, as you know, but I do struggle with the adults in this book. Do you honestly think teachers and parents would be so removed and absent from their lives? Especially Finch's mother. And the teachers after a suicide attempt. No one would be that removed.

Julie April 14, 2015 at 7:32 PM  

I agree about the ending, Brooke. Maybe it felt abrupt because we knew it was going to happen.

Michelle, in today's society with so many helicopter parents, you bring up an excellent point. I wouldn't think they would be that absent but you know I tend to be surprised and not always in a good way.

Michelle April 14, 2015 at 10:19 PM  

I just don't know. I think schools are so worried about being sued that if a student expressed suicidal tendencies, the teachers would be ALL over it.

Julie April 14, 2015 at 10:37 PM  

One would think and I guess I just take it for what it is, fiction. Focus on the main story.

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