March 26, 2015

Wicked Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Published: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Knopf
Acquired: Borrowed Paperback

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.

I would like to thank my friends, Jayvee of Writer for Misfits, for being such a dear with her All The Bright Places tweets that I checked it out because of her, and to Neil for lending me his copy of the book.

It was:
- Beautiful
- Gut-wrenching
- Amazing
- One hell of a ride
- Dramatic
- Intense

Theodore and Violet went to experience what their pretty Indiana has to offer them. What started as a requirement became one of the most beautiful journey's I have ever read. It's a journey to knowing yourself and the person you're with. Theodore has thought of killing himself numerous times but he can't quite get to it. Violet lost her sister and can't seem to get back on track. At one point in my life, I have had thoughts of killing myself. I've had "episodes" wherein I completely shut myself out from the world. But when Theodore met Violet, his world changed.

He let Violet in his messed up world of Post-It notes and carefree attitude. He has multiple versions of himself in the book. He tries to dress up and acts a certain way depending on his mood. He is often misunderstood, I think. He was labeled a 'Freak' by someone whom he saw as a really good friend. He was physically abused by his father who walked out of their lives and started a new family. I knew from the moment I read the book that Finch will be the one leaving the book. Each chapter is told in their POV and below their names are the number of days leading up that. His death didn't satisfy me. I felt like there was something missing. But if only Finch were real and I could get to the fictional purgatory where their souls rest, I'd ask him.

Violet, on the other hand, lost his sister to a car accident. Her relationship with her sister is something I'm envious of. Whenever Violet remembers Eleanor in her memories, I can't help but sort of tear up because I wish that my older sister and I grew up together. Violet's life before the accident was a vibrant one. She and her sister have a website of their own. She has a boyfriend. She's popular. She's passionate with writing. She's part of the cheerleading squad. It was almost perfect. Ever since losing her sister, she lost everything. She blames herself for it. She can't get back to writing. She met Finch. She met the real Finch. She knows who he is. She loved him to death.

Their love is quite scary and beautiful at the same time. Scary because it consumed both of them and beautiful because it's that kind of love that you can dream of and hope that it happens to you as well. This book tackled suicide, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. Heavy topics, I know. But they are serious. Especially bipolar disorder. It's become a label. I asked a friend of mine who's a psychology major about bipolar disorder and it's serious. Only licensed psychologists/psychometricians/psychiatrists are the only one who can diagnose someone with bipolar disorder. Reading this book opened my eyes to this. I admit that I have used the term bipolar so loosely. I've called people that not knowing the real definition of the word and the implications of my actions before. This is a call for everyone to be more careful with their words and actions as well and to be more aware of people's feelings.

This is a wonderful read. I asked my friend Neil if I could extend my borrowing time because I plan to read it again and he said yes. I am thankful to Jennifer Niven for bringing this amazing YA debut into the world.

By the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson ("If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win"), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder's sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven't stopped... I've written eight books (two of those are forthcoming), and when I'm not working on the ninth, I'm contributing to my web magazine, Germ (, thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

1 comment:

  1. I'm scared to read this book. It sounds really depressing but beautiful at the same time. Awesome review!

    Pearl @ AsteriskPearl's Book Blog