Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

TITLE: All The Bright Places
AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
ISBN: 9780141357034
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from library

Violet’s sister, Eleanor, died in a car accident a few months ago. Since then, she’s had “Extenuating Circumstances” and misses her sister dearly. When she finds herself, scared, on top of the bell tower, it’s another student, Theodore Finch, who talks her down. It’s only together they can be themselves, but as Violet’s world starts to grow, Finch’s continues to shrink.

Let’s start with the obvious with this novel: the incredible, lively, alive writing. I just couldn’t stop reading. The author uses a dual narration – Violet and Finch – to narrate the novel, and their voices were so different and exploring different things that it was truly a pleasure to read.

Much of the book is about suicide – contemplating it, attempting it, etc. Violet and Finch don’t want to die per se, they just don’t want to live anymore. It’s a heavy topic, and, I understand, not for everyone, but it was dealt with in a brilliant manner and really gives you something to think about: would you notice it in the person you love?

But it’s not just about suicide! It’s about friendship and love and first happenings and PTSD and guilt. A wide range of topics, huh? And it was just all written about so well, I am amazed. These topics are so relevant and always have been and always will be, and especially to me, this book came at the right time.

The characters were the full-blown, 3D effect. They were realistic and well-written. They had real-life problems, and their ways of speaking and doing both contrasted and complimented, making for a really dynamic read.

This book hurt to read. By the end, I was reading (I can’t actually remember where I was…) and holding back tears and wailing. It was a hard read, but really well worth it, and I’d definitely recommend it. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it, and I really, really adored reading it.


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