Book Review: All The Bright Places

4-star

Title: All The Bright Places

Author:  Jennifer Niven

Ratings: 4/5 stars

Series? No

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I read a YA contemporary novel.  No, hell has not frozen over, the sun still rises from the East etc… I just wanted to join in on a twitter chat with the author.  IT HURTS TOO MUCH. I still haven’t fully recovered from the emotional beating- all I know is that my heart is weak and I need a good dose of SFF to recover.  Anyway, slightly different format of reviewing today to commemorate this blog’s first contemporary review! Oodles of quotes because the writing in this book is beautiful!

atbp

The story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die.

That quote is pulled from from the cover of the book, it promises you’ll be in a world of pain.  Now, I do not like books that set out to make me cry – I hate emotional manipulation.  However, I couldn’t help but be pulled into these characters – stoic and cynical as I am.  It helped that Jennifer Niven wrote the book from a very personal and painful experience, so the book came across genuine.

atbp2

The book starts with Violet who’s contemplating to end her life at the school’s bell tower.  Once, she lead a charmed life.  She was beloved sister, daughter, and friend.  She’s still has the latter, but a car accident has left her sister dead and her broken.  Violet suffers grief and survivor’s guilt, she can’t reconcile the life she lead before the accident with the one after – how can she continue being perfect when a part of her has been torn away? Her struggle was something I could wholly empathise with.


However, the encounter crosses her path with Theodore Finch – schools’ reject and rebel.  He’s also far from perfect, but heatbp3 sees her struggle and he helps her in his own unique fashion.

Finch has his own demons, he has mental issues that adults around him either ignores or are completely unequipped to help him deal with it.  Though I love his narrative voice, I know a lot of readers had issues with his quirkiness – but I felt that it was part of his coping mechanism. I also felt lost and angry for him – his thoughts were always morbid, fleeting to suicide and a million different ways to die.  I was upset how no one could hear his own cry for help, and frustrated at how this was so like real life.

When he finds Violet and possible happiness, the warning comes:  Just Be Careful. As though people expect him to break everything he touches.


atbp4The most heartbreaking thing about this novel is that both Violet and Finn truly wanted to get better,

Life’s a bitch though, and it’s thrown a lot their way: The stigma associated with being depressed. The enormous societal expectations on them to magically become cured when their disease is barely recognised. Also domestic abuse, bullies, death.


My favourite part of the book is the relationship between Violet and Finch ( though, let’s be honest here guys, that’s basically all that’s in the book :P)atbp1

In the chat last night, Jennifer Niven revealed that she wanted the reader to understand how they saw one another – and I think she succeeded.

Finch saw Violet as his bright place, a reason that makes life worth living.  Violet saw Finch as the catalyst to her new life: he challenges her to rise against all her grief and depression.  Their romance was touching and believable.

But is love alone enough to save anyone?


atbp6At the heart of the problem: the issue isn’t about the lack of love – it’s a lack of understanding.  Of not knowing how far gone someone is into their thoughts of suicide.  How do you even help someone if you don’t even know or acknowledge their issue.  Oh my god, I get so upset even thinking about how everyone in Finch’s life missed the signs.


Ultimately though, this is a book about forgiveness.  The power to forgive others, and the power to forgive yourself. Life atbp5goes on, and it’s the only way you’ll be able to cope.

This book was so crushing because of how realistic it can be, any of the teens walking out there right now can be Finn.  At the end, I just wanted to know WHY – but sometimes, we can never get that answer.


Wow, my thoughts were all over the place with this one. Confession:  I have fortunately lived a blessed and charmed life – I wasn’t the most popular girl in highschool, but I always belonged. I had a group of very close friends who were all supportive and beautiful.  I had a family that would bend over backwards to make sure I am happy.  Even now, I am still loved and happy, I know very little about the dark places that people go to.  This is why this book and others like it are so important, not only for those who are struggling, but for the ones that aren’t – so that we can be in someone else’s shoes.

Have you guys read this book or others that dealt with similar issues?  What are your thoughts?

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35 thoughts on “Book Review: All The Bright Places

  1. This is literally my favourite book of all time. I was a little broken after this novel and it changed the way I viewed mental illness. Its a novel that will stick with me forever. I even have a tattoo of the violet and the finch on the post it note. It was so beautifully written that sometimes I just had to stop and breathe because it hit so hard and deep. She is such an incredible author and I’m so glad you liked the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so beautiful, I heard that Jennifer Niven might be coming to tour in Australia last night on the twitter chat, so you’ll be able to show it to her in person how much of an impact the book made 🙂

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      1. Hopefully she comes to Brisbane for your sake, then! I think they hinted maybe when her new book is out *excited*!

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  2. That was a great review! I loved the way you went about it. Very creative and thoughtful. I’m happy you were able to experience what this book has to offer, albeit heartbreaking. Glad you liked it, and great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was such an incoherent mess when I finished the book I knew I couldn’t do a standard review, so I had to just ramble around quotes – I’m glad you enjoyed the format and the book as well 🙂 I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation and see more people read it!

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    1. I wouldn’t recommend it for when you’re down– you might not get back up again hahaha! Maybe when you are feeling hopeful. But I know what you mean, I really have to be in the mood to pick up ‘issues’ type books.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. This is the first book of hers I’ve read, I look forward to reading others 😀 Thanks for commenting, I hope you enjoy this book as well ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo fantastic! I am always happy to hear people reading the same book I am– but a bit sad for you in this case too because THAT ENDING! Thank you for the follow, I will need to find you and follow you right back :D!

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  3. Very pretty graphics and a fantastic review! I have this one on my TBR but this makes me want to go out and get it ASAP! I really like that this book has an important message and moral, that’s not something you get in every contemporary novel so it’s nice to see one with a lot of depth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comment on my graphics! If you do read it, get those tissues ready 🙂

      I agree. Love YA books that addresses larger social issues!

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  4. This post is so beautiful Aentee, it makes my heart ache. This book completely destroyed me, over and over again. The hope, the devastation and the adventure of meeting someone who can become your savior, but ultimately you need to save yourself first. I love that Finch especially, his mental illness wasn’t romanticised, and even though Violet offered hope, he didn’t see her as being able to save him, but to save him in the meantime. It wasn’t black and white, but those shades of grey that some many of us live our lives in between. I absolutely adored your review, just stunning! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kelly, your comments always make me so happy. Glad you liked the post.

      Reading your comment is making my tear up from the ending again, argh, wish it could be easier for them -both in books and in real life.

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  5. I haven’t read this book yet, but I just know its going to make me cry – – one of the quotes made me tear up. I’m glad you enjoyed it and now it’s high up on my TBR list.

    Beautiful review! 🙂 I love your design!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I hope you will read it soon, and keep those tissues close.

      Thanks for liking my design 😀 I always think of changing it, but the laziness and comments like yours convinces me it should live another day haha.

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  6. Can I just say I’m always in awe with your graphics? Great review, I really liked the creative format you chose to present your thoughts. And All the Bright Places is a read I’m looking forward to reading someday, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely review! Really love the illustration and the quotes in the pretty speech bubbles 🙂 I read this book a couple of weeks ago and its become my favourite book of the year so far! Sad that I read it as a e-book instead of a paperback. I really liked the writing style, particularly in Finch’s POV – he sounded very quirky and odd. I don’t set out to read books that make me cry either and I was aware that this would be that kind of book but I thought it was a wonderful story and dealt with important issues that I don’t see much in YA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I didn’t think I had it in me to like contemporary fiction so much, but you’re right – the mix of endearing narrative voice like Finch’s and the issues in this book made it so special. Glad you also loved it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, prepare to read it on a day where you don’t have to step outside into the real world just in case! Hope you enjoy the read!

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    1. Thanks Jeann, I agree that books like these are super important – but argh I just want HEA in my fiction, isn’t the world cruel enough *cries*

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  8. Fantastic review! I don’t usually like commenting with that because it can sound so flippant and halfhearted but I mean it. I liked the quotes and how you used them to really expand on what you meant. I haven’t really read any super super convincing arguments for me to read this book but you’ve really sold it to me.
    Plus this. “Oh my god, I get so upset even thinking about how everyone in Finch’s life missed the signs.” DOES THAT MEAN HE DIES? PLEASE PLEASE SAY NO.

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    1. I SAY NOTHING. Just read it for yourself 😛 And aw this comment made me super happy, yes you must read the book! It’s going to be a movie just as big as TFIOS, I can sense it haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WHAT. THAT DOESN’T SOUND GOOD. AT ALL. I’m gonna have to go check it out at the library >.< I don't know if they have it.
        And if it becomes the next TFIOS and I end up liking it then I'll be riding the wave of superfans because I definitely didn't do it with TFIOS. I don't like John Green's books all that much 😦

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      2. *whispers* I never got John Green’s appeal either. The only thing he’s produced that I liked are the Crash Course vids on YouTube haha.

        Liked by 1 person

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