Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 7 January, 2015
Source: Penguin Australia

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.
Review by Nara

Okay, so maybe writing this review five minutes after finishing the book isn't the best idea (because I'm sure it'll end up being a complete mess rather than an actual review) but OH MY GOD I NEED TO GET THESE FEELS OUT.

This. Book.
This. Damned. Book.
Seriously, I am not okay right now.
1. Feels.
2. I am in shock.

I love how it deals with mental illness and suicide and grief without wrapping things in pretty packaging.
At times, it's brutal.
At times, it's dark.
But if it's one thing, it's honest.
Honest, and heartbreaking, and beautiful.

I love how the characters are so well developed.
Finch reminds me a bit of Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars with his preoccupation with "making a mark" and oblivion and his strange confidence, but he's also so different in so many ways. He's struggling with a mental illness. He's quite a bit weirder (in a good way). He's a musician.
Violet is dealing with the grief of losing her sister, and the guilt that it's "all her fault". She's realising she doesn't really like her friends as much as she thought, and that she's ready to make new ones.
The romance between these two is realistic and humorous and perhaps just that little bit too fast, but the sort of fast that you don't mind. You're too caught up in the whirldwind of their relationship to care.

And the writing is just brilliant.
It's told in dual POVs, with Finch and Violet narrating alternate chapters, and Niven is fantastic at differentiating their voices, so you're never confused about whose head you're in.

It seems that there's been a bit of a boom recently in contemporary novels with themes rooted in suicide and grief. All the Bright Places is one that will truly stand out from the crowd.


Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 4/5