book review · books · fiction

All the Bright Places

Warnings: swearing, sexual inferences, suicidal thoughts, mild mental illness (mentions of bulimia, bipolar disorder). 
Author: Jennifer Niven


‘Theodore Finch wants to take his own life.
I’m broken, and no one can fix it.

Violet Markey is devastated by her sister’s death.
In that instant we went plowing through the guardrail, my words died too.

They meet on the ledge of the school bell tower, and so their story begins. It’s only together they can be themselves…

I sent a message to Violet: ‘You are all of the colours in one, at full brightness.

You’re so weird, Finch. But that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

But, as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?’

This was a birthday present from one of my best friends. I trust her, of course I do. But then the book she gave me CRUSHED MY HEART INTO TINY PIECES.

The reader gets to know Violet and Finch well, through the flipping of each chapter between the two. This also lets us get in tune with their emotions and connect with them, something that I feel improves the quality of a book greatly. They’re cool, and quirky, and sweet and fluffy, basically all someone needs in a character.

However, I felt like the background characters didn’t get much time ‘on screen’. Finch’s friends Brenda and Charlie seemed slightly archetypal, the badass girl with a soft side and the patent athletic black friend, but they could’ve been really interesting characters given a bit more development. But I realise this book is supposed to focus on the star-crossed lovers.

As with every YA fiction about love, there has to be the conflict between the boy and the girl’s parents. Niven jumped on the stereotypical bandwagon of “You haven’t (brought her home on time/kept her safe/let her concentrate on school) so she can’t see you anymore.” On the other hand, this conflict was very well written so I couldn’t complain too much.

The last chapters of the book had me in tears, which doesn’t happen often. I went downstairs bawling to get my computer charger and worried my mother, and to be completely honest worrying myself too. This book took a day and a half to finish and by the time I had, I was so attached to the characters that I cried for a good 10 minutes when the ending came.

This book is extremely well written, making up for the stereotypes, and drove me to whipped cream and nutella. It was also Niven’s first published book, and the success with which it has been received leads me to believe that she will write some equally emotional books in future.




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