Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: January, 2015 by Penguin
Purchase: The Book Depository
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.
These characters. Wow. They spoke to me. And I loved them. Okay, more to the point, they were actual people, with actual people problems. I may not be suicidal, but I could connect with their issues, the emotions they were feeling, or trying not to feel. All of that, it added up to great book, one that I had to put down too many times because lunch breaks just aren’t long enough. I would have read this so much quicker if spending time with family wasn’t a thing, oh, and working, that too.
This wasn’t my favourite book of all time, but it’s one of those books that you don’t regret spending a minute with. The pages disappear without you even realising it. Violet, having lost her sister in a car accident, was, as you would expect, afraid of any method of engine-powered transportation. Closed off and letting the world go by around her, she had plenty of space left to grow as the book progressed. I really enjoyed experiencing that. Flipping back to the start, the two Violets were just so vastly different.
Finch. Oh, Finch. Such a great character. I loved his perspective. Full of problems, and with a family that didn’t help things, he became such a helpful, loving character himself. Sure, getting into fights and stirring up trouble came with the package, but the whole of him was just so, I don’t know how to say, he just made me want to keep reading. Pushing Violet, getting her to open up, not to be the person she used to be, but the person she was holding herself back from being.
It’s all about the growth, the getting to know each other, the spark of feelings, the experiences, the wandering. All of it comes together in a way that just makes you feel, and want to keep feeling, no matter what those feelings are. Seriously, if I could experience those feelings for the first time again, I would. But like I said, not my favourite book, though it’s up there, at least for books I’ve picked up this year.