Friday, November 13, 2015

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Book Review

(TRIGGER WARNING: Suicide, Mental Health Disorders, and Abuse)
Title: All The Bright Places
Author/s: Jennifer Niven
Publication: January 6th 2015 by Knopf
Format: Hardcover, 388 pages
Source: Personal Purchase
Plot in a Nutshell:
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

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.
-Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:
I found out about All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven through the hype and buzz the book had in the blogosphere and Booktube community. Truthfully, reading this book was such a mesmerizing and painful experience. The topics that the author tackled were tough, but she was able to execute it in a way that got under my skin. 


Before I ramble on about the content, can we all just appreciate how beautiful the book design is. I am an adamant user of Post-Its and I really appreciate the clever use of the said product in the cover. Then after reading the book and knowing its significance in the story, it made the whole cover more poignant. However, initially I got the wrong impression that the story is a light and sugary read due to this fantastic cover. I know that it is my own negligence for not reading into the blurb, so it's all good.


On to the main review! As I mentioned earlier, the gravity of the topics discussed in this book was really heavy and raw. I appreciate how insightful it was about mental health and personality disorders. 

Did it romanticize the said topics? 

In my honest opinion I think it did, in a way. I particularly disliked the instant connection between the two main characters and the how the drama unfolded, which was the result of their suicide attempts in the beginning of the book (it's not really a huge spoiler so don't freak out). However, it managed to balance giving out the hard-truths about suicidal tendencies while still humanizing the characters which made them accessible.


Theodore Finch was such an eccentric personality. I know I might be missing the point of the book when I say this, I did find some of his thoughts too uncomfortable to read. There were parts that really affected me so much I stopped reading it because it was like experiencing what Finch felt, which was both scary and enthralling. 

Reading from Violet's perspective was honestly disappointing. I think she lacked the emotional depth that I wanted from a character and she could have been fleshed out more. The Germ Magazine thing could have been expanded better, because honestly I didn't grasp the significance of the blog. The rest of the characters were all okay and they all served their function. 


The thing that really bothered me the most with this book was the relationship between the two main characters. I felt like it was rushed and it even bordered on "insta-love", which is a plot device that rarely works for me. It felt unrealistic and it irked me to read some of the things these two did for the sake of their new-found love (I can be such a bitter a**hole sometimes, but I can't help my opinion about it). However, I have to admit that I did got attached with their love story in the latter part of the novel. There were some scenes that just made my cold, bitter heart a little twist.

But did it make Finch and Violet a favorite One True Pairing or OTP of mine?

Sadly, no.


Aside from those criticisms, I think this book is still an interesting and powerful debut. It packed quite a punch in the emotion department and the things discussed within its pages still resonated with me until now. It does provide an eye-opening experience in regards to mental health awareness and I feel like it does deserve the attention it has gotten.

The design of this book is simply amazing!
Have you read All the Bright Places yet? What did you think of it? Please do share your thoughts on the book and my review by commenting down below. 



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