Author: Jennifer Niven
Name: All The Bright Places
Released Date: January 6th 2015
Genre: Younge Adult Fiction Book
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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.
Let me just start out by saying this book is incredibly moving and not for the faint-hearted. I have never cried and felt so many emotions for a set of characters in the books I’ve read. People may compare this to ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ By John Green due to the similar storylines. But I adore ‘All the Bright Places’ much more and feel a stronger bond with the characters, Violet and Finch.
The first line of the book is immediately an attention grabber;
‘Is today a good day to die?’Theodore Finch
It sets the story up and tells the reader that this young boy is obviously thinking about death. Sensitive topics are obviously involved. Throughout the first character, you begin to see how serious he is thinking about killing himself. He stands at the top of a bell tower, either ready to jump or thinking about it. That is until he notices a girl up there with him. Violet Markey who is suffering from the loss of her older sister. Right here at this moment is where his sarcastic, know-it-all, can-do attitude comes out and tries to talk her down, completely forgetting about himself. This first encounter with her is the start of Theodore Finch’s crush on Violet Markey.
Finch has always been known as the ’freak’ and doesn’t have many friends and doesn’t care about popularity. All he cares about right now is staying awake from his months of sleep that overtake him now and again, and Violet Markey. He tries everything to get closer to her. He finally manages to when a paired project in school comes up and jumps at the opportunity. She’s not too happy about it. Finch tries to get Violet to confess why she was up on the bell tower, and though it takes her a while she finally trusts him enough to tell him. But before she trusted him and cared about him, she told him this one thing that may or may not stick with you while reading the book;
“None of it matters. Not school, not cheerleading, not boyfriends or friends or creative writing programs…It’s all just time filler until we die.”Violet Markey
It makes you think about how some people just think about the future. And how nothing will matter about what you’re doing now, because one day it will all be gone. This is how you would think Finch would think. It took me by surprise when he tries to defend the life he was living. Jennifer really captured Finch’s split personality because even he doesn’t know what he wants sometimes. As the book goes on you can see their relationship starts to develop and I’m not the only one who’s a sucker for a love story. So every time finch tries to get her worked up to get a reaction out of her, I’m mentally screaming at them to hurry up and get together.
The colour blue in this book is very symbolic and is mentioned quite a lot throughout the book. It first caught my attention when Finch paints his whole room a light blue, which I imagine is the same colour as the book cover. If I had the time to read the book again, I would simply look for other symbolic references to the colour blue and how they fit with water and bright colours that Finch continues to talk about.
Now finally! The part that everyone was waiting for! When Finch tells violet he likes her and kisses her, when for so long he pretended he didn’t (But she must have been blind to not notice). I love how in the book their relationship isn’t introduced too early and gives you something to read on for. The storyline itself is a lot more grown-up. So if you’re like I and are sick of all these characters in books who are only 15/16 years old and feel like they need someone to love or it’s the end of the world. Then this book will suit you just right. Finch and Violet are aged 17/18 so I feel as if I can relate to them a lot more and not wonder why the younger characters in books are always acting older than they are.
My favourite character throughout this book has to be Finch, even though he has many problems of his own, like getting beaten by his dad, he manages to help Violet when she was going through a rough patch in her life. He put her first in every decision and always tried to make her happy. I mean he ran 6 miles just to get her some flowers!
I’m not going to lie to you. You will cry, a lot. Jennifer Niven has written this extremely well, not going over the top or exaggerates how depressed Finch is. There are subtle and obvious hints in the book that he really needed help and just didn’t want it or it didn’t help. Even things that Violet couldn’t help with. It makes him seem selfish because he managed to get Violet to love him for who he was and he just takes off one day and leaves her.
I like how the book doesn’t end after him, you get to see Violet heal a bit and how’s she’s coping afterwards but always holding onto that tiny bit of hope that Finch may reappear at the end. I cried for a good half an hour after I finished reading, just putting myself in the character’s shoes and then I still couldn’t imagine the emotions they must have been going through.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and how well Jennifer Niven has been able to put in words the depression and anxiety that the characters were going through.