Book Review, Books

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

May contain spoilers.

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This is a lot description of the book: 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.

What drew me to this book was not only the description but the cover is beautiful it caught my eye immediately. The post stick notes really drew me in, and even the description on the back of the book was written in separate post stick notes and I thought the design of that was really clever and it kind of made me fall in love with the cover a little bit more. So yes as you can tell I am very much in love with the cover. Also I like book covers because then they look very pretty on my bookcase.

We will start off with a quote one of my favourites from the book.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

I love this quote, it’s a good one for live, as you can tell from that quote you can see what kind of book this is going to be.

Violet’s character I love how she was so 3D and not 2D character, everything Violet felt, I could relate to her. Violet had daily struggles after the death of her sister, and as she does she begins to realise what is important and what is not. I think on some level we can all relate to what Violet is feeling throughout the book. Her character starts off as being closed off and just trying to finish school so she can leave the heartbreak behind. As she meets Finch she begins to open up more and we see a different side of Violet, a nice bubbly side and she can be herself with Finch.

Finch. I have no words really to describe Finch. Although everyone at his school just called him a freak and a weirdo. I think we have all been down a dark path before and can a small part of us relate to how he is feeling, maybe not have a diary about different ways to die, but wondering what would happen if we was not here anymore? What is interesting about Finch’s character is that he goes by his last name not his first. I don’t think it is often that Finch’s first name is mentioned, although we know it. Most people refer to him as Finch, it is kind of using the one-stepped removed tactic where the character is trying to keep a distance from not only the reader but also the other characters in the book. So the author I think was really smart doing that, whether it was accidental or on purpose either way it works!

So I am going to start my small or big ramble on this book starting with the plot. I love the plot, although the ending really disappointed me, we will get to the end later, but now the beginning. The titles at the beginning of the chapters are interesting for example Violet’s are so many days until she finishes school. Finch’s are how many days he is still alive. That is something that drew me into reading this book even more.

Violet and Finch’s first meeting is on the bell tower. Finch is up there deciding whether jumping from the bell tower is a good way to die, and he talks about it in he thoughts. But then he looks over and sees Violet also up there, and as he slowly talks Violet off the ledge he is also talking to himself. As they both come off the rumours begin to spread that Violet saves Finch from killing himself. Only those two know the truth of what happened in the bell tower and it brings them together, Finch is interested in what Violet was doing up there, and through his persistence he finally makes some headway with her. I love the building of these characters, we learn what it means to Violet that people don’t find out and the fact Finch doesn’t care about it. This part of the book tells a lot about both of these characters and there personality.

As they work on the school project together they get closer with each other as they go and search for natural wonders of their state and through this we see them both open up to each other and begin to fall in love with each other. With the outings they had I didn’t feel as connected to the characters at that point, I think one of the reasons is the fact I have never been to the place where this book has set. I mean I know what the imagination can do and it did make me think of the place but I didn’t connect with it. I did love the adventure they both had in them and along the way they both learned to either do new stuff or redo stuff they had stopped. For example Violet and the fact she wouldn’t drive after the accident, but then with Finch to see him she does.

The parents splitting the two apart I think was so unfair! Like fair enough they stayed out late and she got back late, and they had both been naughty. But they are TEENAGERS. Teenagers really don’t get much freedom and Violet’s parents I think show that they don’t listen to her. Which many people can relate to that the fact their parents won’t listen to them. How much they defy their parents to try and see each other I think shows how much they love each other. But in the end it still wasn’t enough.

“What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them.”

As we come to the end we see how much of an effect both of these characters have on each other. I hate at the end when (SPOILER) Finch kills himself, the bit of the book leading to that part was very well written and I could basically feel what the other characters were feeling especially Violet. I could feel the panic she could feel when she realised he was missing. So when she finally finds out that he is dead it really made me mad. Finch helped her move on from the grief of her sister’s death and then when he dies she has to start a new grieving process. And of course we know there can be no life without death and all that yada. But the fact the book ends with him killing himself and then she is on a little trip to find where he spent his last days where he has left notes for her. Well I admit that part is cute, but I think that him doing that it doesn’t really help with her grief, although he left something in the world. 

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

And that was the perfect time to insert that quote! I do love that quote, and that is in the ending of the book, from that you can understand why Finch left his mark on the world. BUT IT STILL MAKES ME MAD.

“You saved my life. Why couldn’t I save yours?”

I really do not like my friend for persuading me to read this just after getting out a reading funk because after that depressing story, I’m back in it. Also the next lot of my books (the ones I have at uni) I think the majority are sad stories. I am going to start another book later this week so hopefully I should be back out of my funk. But this book certainly didn’t help that. It hurt. Right at the heart.

“The thing is, they were all perfect days.”

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