Friday 16 January 2015

Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 8th Jan 2015
Sypnosis: 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.

Review: I had seen a lot of hype about this when it first came out, and it had been sitting in my Kindle for a couple of weeks so I took the plunge and I dove deeeep, just like Finch would when he was looking for the sinkhole.... Like a lot of others as well, I want to talk about so much in here but I don't want spoilers. So I will try, but no promises, to review without Spoilers.

I really liked this book. It has such a beautiful sadness to it, and talks about something we shouldn't be afraid to talk about, something real, and something I think in some form we will all have experience with at some point during our lives, whether directly or indirectly. Recently I said that I feel a lot of coincidence around the books that I am reading and never before did I feel it as strongly as when I was reading this. Without going into specifics, because this is about the book not my life, reading this and hearing what people around me were saying made the messages in here shout out even more, and made my emotional connection more raw so that I cried through about 10% of the book, and it sat with me for days after i'd finished it. 

The prose was written beautifully, I loved the creation of the voices, and they flowed so effortlessly between perspectives. I got the characters, there were elements of each that I could relate to. Violet was a regular teen, stuck in a rut, and finding herself after the wake of a tragedy.  You felt for her, and grew with her, and it was lovely to see her transformation. With Finch you had an enigma, changing through all the different Finches, and each one you could tell was part of the original Finch but subtly different. I liked each one in different ways, yet you could see his broken nature under all of them, and that made me feel for him even more. He had that thought provoking nature, and would speak in such a way that you were drawn into him and wanted to go wandering with him.

And wondering was such a great tool, I think we should all go wondering more. Having lived in London nearly all my life, I know for a fact I've taken so much of it for granted having always been immersed in it, yet if I was to go around and wonder, find something new, I KNOW for a FACT I would find a whole world of things I never do...Note to self (and you as my witness) Go and do that! There was that beautiful moment in the book with the wall of goals that people wanted to achieve before they died, and that was what I got from much as there can be dark, there can be light and i want to reinforce that light in my day to day life, and achieve all the things I want to. Their wondering took them to some lovely places and really helped them to build their connection as much as ours with the. It feel like regular teen life played out in a dramatic way. 

One of the most important things I think I got from reading this, and that I think we should all tale from it, is that whatever happens we should be able to talk about it and there's always someone to talk to. This is one of those books I feel should go down as a modern classic, something that can be read and taken from for years to come! Forewarning you may need some tissues, but this book should definitely be read. 


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