I received this book for free from Penguin in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Penguin Books, Limited
Publication Date: January 7th 2015
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park, All the Bright Places is a compelling and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
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: All The Bright Places intrigued me from the moment I read the synopsis and its striking cover. I’d heard quite a bit of positive buzz around this title and I love contemporary YA.
All The Bright Places is the dual-narrative story of Theodore Finch (a brilliant character name) and Violet Markey. When both teenagers end up meeting on the edge of their school’s bell tower neither jump off it and when they become partners for a school project an unlikely friendship starts.
Both Violet and Finch were clear individual characters, however for me Finch was a much more vibrant character and came off the page a lot more easily than Violet. At times I felt like Violet was more in Finch’s shadow, a character who steals his scenes with relative ease. This at first made me a little unsure of the book however I persevered and it was definitely worth it. What I found really interesting was the way Finch’s mental health was depicted, there are elements of him that meet the manic pixie dream girl trope, however there’s an obvious gender subversion here. Niven also beautifully deromanticises this trope, as well depicting a strong bond between the two and developing relationship.
I’m doing my very best not to spoil this book. However, I have to say that there are some scenes which can be a little triggering regarding mental health. The final part of the book is for me the most remarkable and it blew me away and changed me feelings about the novel almost entirely. It is honest and heartbreaking and Finch has stayed with me beyond the page. I read this late last year and I spent about a day and a half afterwards with my mind drifting back to this book periodically and for me, that’s always a sign that something in a book has stood out.
I received a free ecopy from Penguin for reviewing purposes. My review is honest and its tone and content unaffected by the means in which I received the book.