Review: All the Bright Places

Posted May 14, 2015 / Book Reviews / 14 Comments

Review: All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Genres: Young Adult
Published by Random House on January 6th 2015
Format: Hardcover (400 pages) • Source: Library
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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.

thoughtsOh lord. How am I ever going to get through this review without crying? That’s the only thing I can think of right now. Usually I write my reviews less than 24 hours after finishing the book, but I just couldn’t do it that quickly for this one. I’m still barely ready to talk about it without tearing up.

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Not too much happened in the vast majority of the book, to be honest. I felt like it was slow but engrossing at the same time somehow. I couldn’t stop reading because I was desperate to see where the story went and what was going to happen with my little babies Violet and Finch. They were extremely interesting characters. Violet lost her sister in an accident and was trying to move on and leave for college, while Finch was always consumed by thoughts of death and how he might kill himself. It was really heavy most of the time, but they were pretty adorable as their relationship grew and time went on. Finch was kind of an enigma throughout the book. He had some mental health issues and it wasn’t totally clear what he was going through. I also felt SO BAD for Violet because she went through SO MUCH and she didn’t deserve it. View Spoiler »

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I don’t know how to say it except that this book completely broke me. I was literally Tobias (below) for the last fifty pages straight. I couldn’t read through my tears and my boyfriend kept bringing me tissues and asking if I was going to be alright. I couldn’t stop reading and needed to see how it was all going to end. View Spoiler » I am usually a pretty emotional person; it doesn’t take much to make me cry, honestly. I’m not surprised that I broke down so hard for so long at the end of this one. Have you read it? You know what I mean then.

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I can definitely see why this book was compared to John Green. (You either love him or hate him; I fall on the love side, but I can see why people don’t like him.) His characters tend to be a little – for lack of a better word – pretentious? They’re very literary and deep when I know for a fact I couldn’t come up with half of the crazy metaphors that those characters come up with. It was the same feel with this book; the characters were serious, smart, and deep. It can hard to get into books like that sometimes because I just don’t feel like it’s realistic. That’s really the only “flaw” I can think of with this book… but it was so beautifully written that it didn’t take any enjoyment away for me. I guess I also kind of wish there was a bit more about Finch and background on him. I don’t know how to explain except I wanted a fuller picture.

Final thoughts? This book broke me. It really did. I sat on the couch starting off into space for a long time, with my boyfriend trying to cheer me up and asking if I was going to be okay. It didn’t help.

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I’m still not feeling totally okay. I think it was a really heavy and beautiful book that I would recommend to just about anyone. I remember crying a lot during The Fault in Our Stars and this one was even worse. HOW will I watch a movie adaptation of this??? Good lord.


14 responses to “Review: All the Bright Places

  1. I’ve heard good things about this book. I always think that if a book can make you cry and really make you feel something, then it is a really great book. I have a feeling I won’t be tear free when I finally read this book.

    I hope you’ve managed to stop crying. 🙂

  2. I’m with you there Lauren, how am I ever going to watch the movie? When I finished the book I just sat in my room going through a stage of denial. But god it’s so sad and I just can’t deal with it. I agree, the characters are super deep, but they are somehow very enjoyable to read from. I really hope they don’t screw the movie up, this book really would look great as a movie. Thank you for the wonderful review!


    Kaitlin @ Next Page Please! recently posted: Bout of Books 13: Day 4 (Updates and Challenge!)
  3. I’ve definitely been putting off this book because I heard that it hit everyone so hard emotionally…but you’re the first person I’ve seen to compare it to John Green, who I’m not really a fan of (for the exact reasons of his characters/writing being pretentious that you mentioned). I wonder if that means I wouldn’t be hit too hard emotionally by this book…I didn’t cry at all during TFIOS.

    • Yeaaah if you’re not a fan of him, you may still want to try it! I think it was much more emotional than TFIOS to be completely honest. I cried during that one but not nearly as much as this one. The last fifty pages of this book was just nonstop tears for me haha. I don’t think it was as pretentious as John Green’s work either but there were some elements were I was just like, do teenagers REALLY talk like this??

  4. WHY DIDNT I THINK OF TOBIAS FUNKE OMG. Yep, that was me. Sobbing and wiping my tears away so that I could read more and repeat the cycle. This book is so heartbreaking, I wanted to hug Finch and try to do something, I hated his mom and ,still do I think. I don’t know when I will re-read this book but I know that I am going to. I really enjoyed the author’s notes too. Finch’s personality Lauren omg, I’m dying all over again. I am soooo glad that you loved it <3

    Ale-alejandra recently posted: Books That Have Made Me Cry

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