“All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven (Review)

Book: All The Bright Places
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 388
Time to Read: 
1 day

S Y N O P S I S

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Finch + Violet meet on the edge of the bell tower where they are both thinking of suicide. When Finch saves Violet’s life, he begins a friendship with her and picks her as his partner for a school project. As their friendship deepens and secrets are discovered, they realise how similar they are but also how broken they are. As Violet’s world grows, Finch’s shrinks.

W H A T  I  L I K E D

Yet again another book that shines a positive light on mental health issues. Finch has plenty but is still such a likeable + smart character with so much potential. Niven has many first-hand experiences with suicide and so she dealt with the subject sensitively.

The book was also hilarious and I didn’t find the characters pretentious at all. Although it’d be rare to meet someone like Finch, he didn’t have any ‘unlit cigarette’ or ‘I fear oblivion’ monologues (even though I do adore Gus…). Finch was funny and weird and cute.

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W H A T  I  D I D N ‘ T  L I K E

Um, nothing. Honestly. Can’t fault the book really.

F A V O U R I T E  C H A R A C T E R

Finch!!! Theodore Finch! Like I’ve already said he was strange and quirky and intelligent and sweet and impulsive. He had no idea what was going on in his life half the time but also knew exactly what to say and when to say it. His decisions were rash but also made sense.

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F A V O U R I T E  S C E N E E

I loved the scene where Finch parked his car and ran six miles where he stopped at a random secluded house and asked if he could pick some flowers for the girl he loved. He put them in a bucket and brought them to Violet where she stood in her driveway. His impulsiveness makes me blush.

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D I D  I T  C H A N G E  M E ?

I think if I’m ever friends with someone who has suicidal thoughts, I might deal with it slightly differently. I already knew quite a lot about it from having an advice column for 3 years. I have spoken to thousands of people about suicide so I would like to think I deal with it sensitively already. But I don’t think it changed me much. I don’t that’s what this book was for really. I think it was, for me, a chance to be emotional. To be moved. Other people could definitely take much more from it. But for me, it was to fall in love with Niven and YA.

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F I N A L  T H O U G H T S

I read some other book reviews and someone said that this is not a book for suicidal people, but a book for people who are friends with someone suicidal. This book can act as a trigger. This is a warning. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts/depression, don’t read this book. Ask someone else to read it for you.

I give this 5/5 stars.

Read it.

Thanks.

Bye.

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Q U O T E S

There are so many beautiful quotes, like, oh my word.

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“Ladies and Gentleman, I would like to introduce you to my death!”

Up close like this, I can see that her skin is smooth and clear except for two freckles on her right cheek, and her eyes are a gray green that makes me think of fall.

“Writing is so difficult that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment thereafter.”

Writing was what I did best, better than being a daughter or girlfriend or sister. Writing was me.

The great thing about this life is of ours is that you can be someone different to anyone.

We alternate choosing places to go, but we also have to be willing to go where the road takes us. This means the grand, the small, the bizarre, the poetic, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising. Just like life. But absolutely, unconditionally, resolutely nothing ordinary.

But come to think of it, after a lifetime of feeling too much, maybe there’s actually something to be said for fast and sudden.

She’s the first person I’ve met who seems to speak my language.

In that instant his skin touches mine, I feel a little shock. I tell myself it’s nothing more than the understandable jolt of actual physical contact when you aren’t used to it from someone new. But then these electric currents start shooting up my arm, and he is rubbing my palm with his thumb, which makes the currents go shooting through the rest of me.

“Standing next to you makes me feel as high as Everest.”

He shakes the hair out of his eyes and stares at me good and hard. His gaze trails slowly down my face to my mouth. For a second, I think he’s going to kiss me. For a second, I want him to.

“I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing, including me, and that a 1,257 foot bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.”

It’s taking all I have not to slam my foot against the slam pedal, but then I’m used to slowing down so that everyone else can catch up.

She is now walking several feet ahead, pretending I don’t exist, but that’s okay, I’m used to it, and what she doesn’t know is that it doesn’t faze me. People either see me or they don’t. I wonder what it’s like to walk down the street, safe and easy in your skin, and just blend right in. No one turning away, no one staring, no one waiting and expecting, wondering what stupid, crazy thing you’ll do next.

“Write it all down before I forget anything.”

“Just be careful with that heart of yours.”

You are all the colours in one at full brightness.

“We can start small. Open up a new document or pull out a blank piece of paper. We’ll make it our canvas. Remember what Michaelangelo said about the sculpture being in the stone – it was there from the beginning, and his job was to bring it out. Your words are in there, too.”

“I’ll never hurt you… But I can’t promise I won’t pick you apart, piece by piece, until you’re in a thousand pieces, just like me. You should know what you’re getting into before getting involved.”

She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can’t help thinking she’s more than that and she’s got other elements going on that no one’s ever heard of, ones that make her stand apart from everybody else. I feel this brief panic as I think, What would happen if one of those elements malfunctioned or just stopped working altogether? I make myself push this aside and concentrate on the feel of her skin until I no longer see molecules but Violet.

“This is the way I feel right now. Like Pluto and Jupiter are aligned with the earth and I’m floating.”… In a minute she says, “You’re so weird, Finch. But that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”

“No more winter at all. Finch, you brought me spring.”

Actually, I am [alone], which is part of the problem; 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.

The cadence of suffering has begun.”
I
am
in
pieces.

You have been in every way all that anyone could be… If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.

I’d like to live in a world designed by Theodore Finch. For a while, I did.

Violet Markey… Must treat her carefully, because she is fragile and might break if expected to do the same as everyone else.

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