All The Bright Places
I don’t even know how to start this review, because I know whatever I say will not possibly be worthy of the book itself. This book… it’s one of those books that changes your outlook on life, how you see the world. It breaks my heart to see one star reviews on Goodreads, because I don’t think some readers get what this book is actually about. This isn’t just a story, it’s not just words on a page. So many people have the same experiences as Violet and Finch in their day to day lives, and they have to deal with that pain for the rest of their lives. This, if you read my interview with the author, Jennifer Niven, you would already know that she has inserted some of her personal experiences and feelings into this book. These are real feelings, and this is a real story, a story that so many experience every day.
Sometimes there’s beauty in the tough words—it’s all in how you read them.
This book is about a boy named Theodore Finch and a girl named Violet Markey, both who come from different backgrounds but have one thing in common- pain. Theodore is an outcast at school that gets made fun of and called a freak. His home life is especially difficult since his father left for a better life and a new family. He goes from day to day, trying to keep himself Awake instead of Asleep, a dark place where he sinks into an abyss of sadness and despair.
We are all alone, trapped in these bodies and our own minds, and whatever company we have in this life is only fleeting and superficial.
Violet, on the other hand, is popular and liked by many people. She was generally happy with her life, with plenty of friends, until the accident. About a year before the story takes place, she is in a car accident with her sister, who does not survive. Violet is supposed to carry on without her best friend, having the guilt that it was all her fault on top of everything else- the pain, the sadness, and the longing to have her sister back.
What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good?
They both meet on the edge of the end of their lives- literally. Finch is up there because he has been carefully contemplating what would be the best way for all of it to end, and Violet is simply there on a rash decision to end her pain. Call it a coincidence or fate, they find each other on the top of a ledge, and as a result, both of them are saved.
And within that moment, Violet Markey, the sister who survived, and Theodore Finch, the freak, bond over something special. Their story starts on that ledge. Soon, over a school project, a few odd sight seeing trips, and a few messages through a Facebook page, they both begin to feel something deeper.
This is not a book that is simply about love- it is about pain, and heartache, and being broken and hopeless as well as loving someone who is broken and hopeless and how the two can combine to create something lovely. This review did not do this story justice, because there are some feelings that are so important- so personal, that simply words will not even describe them.
I loved this book. Some people hated it and said that it was just another love story of two tragic backgrounds, and maybe it was for them. But do you know what it feels like when a book clicks with you? When you feel like some parts of it were written just for you to read over and over again? Because this book changes you as a person? Because the words are things that you have been saying in your mind for years?That book for me was All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.