- Title: All The Bright Places
- Author: Jennifer Niven
- Genre: Young Adult, Mental Health/Illness
- Publisher: Random House
- Publication Date: January 8, 2015
- ISBN: 978-0385755917
- Rating: /5
- Buy: Amazon, National Book Store, Fully Booked
“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.”
Okay… I find it hard to summarize this book without spoiling you guys so refer on the synopsis above instead. I also had a hard time rating this. I originally gave it a two but thought twice and changed it into 3 stars because I just have to commend Jennifer Niven for writing such a sensitive topic. It is not easy writing about young adults going on through this. One wrong move and it might get misinterpreted.
On the storyline: Honestly, the story dragged, as for me. I may have set the standards too high on this one. Most of the readers bawled so I was waiting for that scene where I would also shed tears but unfortunately, I did not feel anything. Not even a tug on the heart. I don’t know why, maybe I need a re-read? Moving on to the other parts of the story and looking through the eyes of an objective reader, it was good. I liked the fact that most of the story was set on a road trip. An entirely different kind of road trip because they mostly used a bike in going to places in their state. I like books showcasing different scenic spots of a state. Also, I was already half-way through and still couldn’t pinpoint where the plot is. It kind of lacked some WOW factor which I always look for a book to help me not get bored along the way. Thank God, Niven’s writing is not that hard to comprehend which I think compensated for the lack of wow factor.
On the characters: This is a sensitive thing to talk about because depressions and other mental health issues is such a big word for me.
Theodore Finch, I picture him as one of those weird guys in school who causes troubles here and there but could also pass as your handsome next door guy. Since he is the main character of the book, he was the one experiencing the inner struggle. Some may say he is selfish for what he did, but for me what he really needs is understanding and attention. He should have an outlet of everything that’s going on in his mind, he needs absorber and a listener which he found in the person of Violet but it still wasn’t enough because he’s been going through this for a long time, even before he met Violet. For the most part, it felt like Theo is made up entirely of his illness trapped in a human body. Nothing more. But on some scenes, I like how even though he has something going on in his life, he never fails to uplift his family and help other people. He also tries his hardest to control himself in terms of anger and other aspects.
Violet Markey, one who just goes with the flow. It felt like she just does what people would tell her to do. The accident that happened which always leads her to extenuating circumstances is annoying. It has been going on for a long time and yet she has not redeemed her old self yet and I actually don’t sympathize with her because deep inside her and her monologues, she knows that she’s over it but keeps on taking this “extenuating circumstance” for granted. Thankfully, among the characters in the story, it is Violet’s character who developed along the story.
The other characters, especially the elders or their parents seemed to not care at all. Okay, Violet’s parents do care but not to the extent that normal people would. When they know their som/daughter needed expert’s help, they did nothing.
Overall: The story was good, it just lacked some precise or intricate explanations and characters developments. Since the subject matter of the story is sensitive it must have been curated very carefully. It was very thought-provoking but not entirely in a good way. Also, for the last part of the story, it felt like I already read this book. It brought back my feelings while reading Paper Towns of John Green. It has some similarities with all the getting away and clues being left in every places. Where is the uniqueness?
The book is okay, I might just need a re-read and be more keen into details.