Tuesday, January 26, 2016

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This book has been on my radar for quite some time. The good reviews for it are endless. But, also, I have coworkers, patrons, and friends who have all told me to read it. I purchased the book from my favorite independent bookstore in Chicago (Women and Children First) when I was visiting family over the holidays. I guess I just knew I had to be prepared for a most-likely-to-be-sad kind of book, or in the very least a book that dealt with some serious issues. I was waiting for the right moment to read it.
I’m not sure I waited long enough. I did love this book. I see why there are so many rave reviews. The writing, the characters, the sadness, and the realness of this book are so spot-on. I read it extremely quickly. It’s one of those books where I was up until 3 am reading, even though I get up at 5:30 to get ready for work (4:30 if I’m going to the gym). I couldn’t go to sleep when there was such a major question that needed to be answered.
This is one of those books that will keep you up until 3 am on a workday. It’s the kind of book that sits with you, settles with you, and won’t leave you alone. To be honest, it’s the kind of book that keeps me blogging and reading like I do. I’m always looking for this kind of book.
It was a sad one. My only qualm is I wish I did read it maybe a few months to a year later than I did. The book has a lot of tough issues in it: death, grief, drinking, mental illness and suicide. It hit a little too close to home for me because I lost someone due to suicide this past year. And reading about these characters and everything they were going through involving this topic, brought back a lot of emotions and pain for me.
On the other hand, I think it’s so important and wonderful that this book exists. Clearly, the author got a lot of things right on this topic and how people feel surrounding such a topic. I related so closely to how one of the characters was feeling that there was literally a point where I had to put the book down and distance my brain from theirs.
Needless to say, I was an emotional mess reading this. And I’m so glad I read it at home and not in public, where someone would most likely assume something was terribly wrong with me. Maybe I should have read it a little bit later, so I wasn’t quite as emotional. However, it also felt good to read this and know I’m not alone in my thoughts and reactions.
All in all, this is a powerful book. The writing is superb. The characters are so real, I literally confused myself with one of them. Also, how am I not supposed to fall in love with characters that quote Virginia Wolfe and Dr. Seuss? It was an emotional read, to say the least. I loved it. I give it a 10/10.

1 comment:

  1. I recently got a copy of this from the library. I am going to be reading it very soon so I'm glad to see you loved it.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian