The book was nominated for the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction. And I really wish that I had read it sooner. I rated this book a 4 out of 5 stars, and would definitely recommend this to all young adult readers. The month of February was when I truly just flew through books, and this was another one of those that I read in one sitting. I'm on a roll with one sitting books--like, this one, and this one, and this one.
Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Summary: "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." (Goodreads)
I automatically rate this book high because it captured my attention from the beginning and I couldn't put it down. I remember reading this book on a road trip to visit some of Trevor's family and being completely sucked in. I think that the characters are so relatable and lovable that you are there in the novel with them--and then, when tragedy strikes when you aren't expecting you're caught with your heart in a grip that you didn't even know the book had you in.
As I was skimming over some other reviews, I noticed that people have mixed feelings about the way that this book deals with mental disorders. One review in particular that really spoke to me was the one by EmmmaBooks. She talks about how this novel romanticized mental illnesses and made it seems as though mental illnesses were quirky and fun and something to be lusted after. And in a sense, I agree with this. But these quirky and fun and lust-worthy characters in the novel were only made this way to intrigue and entertain the reader. In my mind, I do not feel slighted by the way that Niven portrayed their mental illnesses, I feel as though she brought light to a rough subject and made it enjoyable for all to read.
Some other things that I really enjoyed about this book were that it was set in Indiana, and the book focuses on adventure. I am originally from Indiana, so hearing the places and the towns and the way that these characters thought about their small town made me nostaligic and happy to have grown up in a similar place. One of the main concepts of the book is the fact that these two characters are on an adventure to explore Indiana. For a fellow (previous) Indiana resident, I found this really entertaining! The entire novel, no matter where you are from, has a way of making you feel like you have not seen enough. It made me want to see all the small and forgotten places around me.
This book was written in dual perspectives which was really neat. I really loved the character that was Finch and felt as though this was the main (and most intriquing) character in the book. I enjoyed reading about Finch's random trivia and all of his multiple personas that he took on. And on the other hand, I felt as though Violet was not as developed and engaging as Finch. With an overpowering and witty character as Finch was, Violet just didn't stand a chance.
All-in-all, no matter where you stand on love, adventure, etc. This book is one about making statements towards mental illness and growth as people. The characters learned and changed because of one another, and I loved that about this book. I would absolutely recommend this novel to young adult readers.
Check out my March Reads post to see more books that I am planning on completing before this month ends. Do you have any suggestions for me?