All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven {Review}

All The Bright Places by Karina Halle
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Date of Publishing: 6th January, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Links: | Goodreads | Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | iBooks |
My Rating: ★★★★★

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.

Review

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

While I was reading All The Bright Places, I thought of so many things I’d write about it. Elaborate quotations and all these metaphors and my actual, real thoughts about this book. But that won’t do. Partly because I can’t think clearly enough to write up a “review” but mostly because many, many people have gotten that down better than I ever could. So I’m just going to talk about it. No dissecting it, no trying to find hidden meanings. Just talking it out.

All The Bright Places starts with Theodore Finch, who stands at the top of the bell tower of his high school, welcoming onlookers to his death. Except, no one really cares. A few people notice him from below, but he doesn’t seem to be getting any attention. He is Theodore Freak, after all. The guy who changes personalities like shoes. The weirdo. The freak.

But he starts to get attention when Violet Markey, sister of recently deceased Eleanor Markey, turns up beside him. He talks her out of jumping, but it so happens that in the days after the incident, people like to believe that she saved him.

Violet Markey, who recently lost her sister to an accident, saved Theodore Freak.

Needless to say, it’s huge news.

And thanks to a happy turn of events, Theo and Violet are paired together in a US Geography class to “wander” around Indiana. They take notes and click pictures and just live, all the while battling their own dark problems. And they fall in love and when you witness this, you know you’ve found a ship that you’ll never stop shipping.

“You know what I like about you, Finch? You’re interesting. You’re different. And I can talk to you. Don’t let that go to your head.”

… “You know what I like about you, Ultraviolet Remarkey-able? Everything.” 

As a character, there’s so much about Theo that I could talk about. He’s mysterious and closed off and very vague, thanks to which, even by the end of the book, I was very unsure about him. I don’t know if that’s the right word but it comes closest. I knew just as much as Violet knew about Theo and maybe that’s the way the author intended it to be. Either way, it worked beautifully. Theo is an unforgettable person, who latches on to you from page one and doesn’t let go long after you’ve closed the book.

Violet, on the other hand, should be ordinary. She should be just a simple girl, mourning the loss of her sister, while also trying to avoid this guy from school. She should have just been.

But there was something about this girl, who felt too much and loved too much and gave too much of herself, that I just couldn’t ignore. And, yes, for me, Theo stole this book. I read this book because the part in the blurb about him interested me and I kept reading because of him. But somewhere along the way, I gave a part of my heart to Violet, too. She’s strong and brave and she’s giving.

“She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can’t help thinking she’s more than that and she’s got other elements going on that no one’s ever heard of, ones that make her stand apart from everybody else. I feel this brief panic as I think, What would happen if one of those elements malfunctioned or just stopped working altogether? I make myself push this aside and concentrate on the feel of her skin until I no longer see molecules but Violet.” 

See? Theo said it best.

As for Jennifer Niven, there’s really nothing I can say that hasn’t been said before. She’s managed to make a huge impression on me in just 384 pages. She managed to make me bawl for 2 and a half hours straight. If she can do this to me, she can do it to anyone.

There’s a lot more I want to say about Theo and Violet and a host of other things, but I don’t want to spoil this book for you. I know that there are plenty of you who haven’t read the book yet and I’m damn sure you’ll be surprised. Try not to brush up on the blurb too much. Allow the book to take you and sneak into you and make you cry and laugh and feel. You’ll be ever thankful.

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