Review of All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Published: 8th January 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 400

Blurb:

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. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?

Review:

Theodore and Violet have one thing in common: they both want their lives to end at the top of the school bell tower. Quickly enough, their worlds collide as one helps the other and soon enough, they confide in one another like never before. The instant connection between the pair was beautiful and despite Violet continually trying to push Theodore away, they seemed to click together in perfect harmony.
“Violet Markey. There’s more to you than meets the eye.”
As they team up for their geography project which takes them across their town to various places, it was obvious that the pair were fond of one another. Their conversations were nothing fantastic, but they were a comfort for one another and I really liked that. There was something about the connection between the pair which made them to be rather addictive to read about. Their personalities were unique and despite having their own problems to deal with, they were still supportive of each other. Violet came across as quite a drawn in character; after her sister’s death she’ll barely do anything and it was really heart warming to see that Theodore was the one to change that. As a character, Theodore was quite diverse in terms of constantly wanting to change his personality and physical human form but to me, he was pretty fun just how he was.
“By the time we’re done, their guests have gathered outside to see the boy who must have flowers to give to the girl he loves.”Β 
At first, their friendship is hidden away from school because Violet is popular and Theodore is labelled as the “freak.” After a while, readers see that Violet slowly begins to ease her way away from her usual band of friends and towards a group of people who genuinely care about her Β which of course, includes Theodore. When the loved up duo go beyond breaking the rules, the narrative transformed into a real Romeo and Juliet heart breaking moment; they’re not allowed to see one another and it was absolutely agony to read about.
“The only thing that makes me feel better is that, whatever Finch wrote, it will always be there, underneath the layers.”
When Finch goes missing towards the end, the entire narrative changes. I really liked the aspect that Finch not only went missing from Violet’s life but Jennifer took his point of view away from readers so we could feel Violet’s pain as well; as heart breaking as it was, it was also rather clever. The book as a whole is beautiful; Jennifer’s words are so captivating. Both Violet and Theodore were such mesmerising characters that it was impossible not to love their story. This is a very important book, filled to the very end with discussions on suicide, mental health, violence and being yourself. I really, really loved it.
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