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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!   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.   The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!   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.   This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.


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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!   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.   The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!   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.   This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

30 review for All the Bright Places

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    Fuck. I’m a glorified classics guy but what the hell happened here. I cried. Fuck. I rarely go for YA trust me; I’m a condescending jackass who’s read one too many books. Usually I never even touch these kinds of sappy stuff, I basically hate the genre. I don’t like John Green. Fuck the Fault In Our Stars overrated sack of shit. But I don’t know why this book got through to me. For one thing, it doesn’t condescend, it doesn’t sound corny, it doesn’t try too hard. The thing about adults writing Y Fuck. I’m a glorified classics guy but what the hell happened here. I cried. Fuck. I rarely go for YA trust me; I’m a condescending jackass who’s read one too many books. Usually I never even touch these kinds of sappy stuff, I basically hate the genre. I don’t like John Green. Fuck the Fault In Our Stars overrated sack of shit. But I don’t know why this book got through to me. For one thing, it doesn’t condescend, it doesn’t sound corny, it doesn’t try too hard. The thing about adults writing YA novels is that they try to sound fucking stupid. I mean, just because you’re writing for someone younger doesn’t mean you’re writing for someone moronic. Don’t look down on them, treat them like equals. I didn’t feel that condescension here. Jennifer Niven doesn’t fall into the pit of trying to water things down, or sound like a kindergarten teacher or a smartass. It felt natural. She didn’t condescend, I didn’t condescend. Nobody condescended, which is great. Respect begets respect. I digress; let’s get to book in the spotlight. The story is about a girl learning to live from a boy who intends to die. It starts with two people meeting on a ledge of a school tower, both considering ending their lives. One out of grief, the other out of pain and in the midst of death they connect .Both survive that day. Then they are hurled together into a project that makes them wander through their provincial Indiana State finding beauty where they never expected to see it. The story of their growth in love and life, trying to find meaning is something that kept me up reading all night. Their journey through those precarious times together made me feel more than the last ten books I’ve read combined. They made me feel alive. But somehow, as one’s horizons grew, the other’s world shrank. “It's my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” This novel touches on death, depression, and suicide; it paints a picture of love in a canvas of pain. Teenagers for one understand pain and loneliness more than anything: death, grief, love problems, hormones, identity crises, self-esteem issues. You don’t need to be depressed to relate to this novel. You don’t need to experience death to know the pain. Heck you don’t even have to be a young adult. You are just drawn by the flow of it all, you give in. You ride the waves and sometimes you can’t help the flow of tears. I guess one of the things that really drew me in is the portrayal of characters. They feel real, they capture the life of someone who feels a variety of emotions, the confusion and pretenses of being a teenager. It captures anger. It captures heartache. It captures the hopeful dread inside someone young looking at the deep abyss of the future. Forget whatever their issues may be, forget their circumstances, they’re persons and they feel real. What happens to them feels real. And it also doesn’t hurt that this novel is one giant tribute to Virginia Woolf. But I think what’s important about this novel without giving away too much of a spoiler is that it spreads awareness about mental illness and suicide the same way Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time did with autism. This novel has the potential to be a mainstream success, and it talks about an important issue that needs more recognition especially with young people. It gives light about how young people should understand and deal with people who suffer from depression, bulimia, bipolar disorders, and other mental illnesses. Especially considering that young people who suffer from these are the ones most fragile, often bullied by their peers and schoolmates for being different. Ultimately this is a great novel with an important message aimed at the right audience. At the end of the day that’s all we can ask for from a book. Whoever you are, whatever your condition may be, know that: “You are all the colors in one, at full brightness.” Only sometimes you may get enveloped in darkness, which when you learn to deal with, you find actually accentuates your light. Keep your head up.

  2. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO FUNCTION RIGHT NOW. I HAVE JUST READ THE MOST BRILLIANT AND HEART-RIPPING STORY OF THE UNIVERSE. How do I do words?! How do I explain how much I'm feeling right now? I think I could cry and sing all at once, but mostly cry. Just know this very very truthful fact: This is the most incredible book I have read. It's probably my favourite contemporary in the world. I can't....I just...I need a moment. I love this book. You know how it's compared to Eleanor & Park and The Fa I DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW TO FUNCTION RIGHT NOW. I HAVE JUST READ THE MOST BRILLIANT AND HEART-RIPPING STORY OF THE UNIVERSE. How do I do words?! How do I explain how much I'm feeling right now? I think I could cry and sing all at once, but mostly cry. Just know this very very truthful fact: This is the most incredible book I have read. It's probably my favourite contemporary in the world. I can't....I just...I need a moment. I love this book. You know how it's compared to Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars? Usually I hate going into a book with expectations like that, but for ONCE it was exceptionally incredibly totally spot-on. Well, cut out E&P. It's nothing like that. It's everything like John Green's writing. Intelligent and emotional and energetic. I actually say (and trust me, I would not be saying this lightly) this is on par with my favourite John Green books. YEAH. I SAID IT, OKAY? DEAL. It's about mental illness and being a freak and being alone and having a best friend. Wow. Heavy topics. It gets a million stars for each. It's about a mental illness that I'll put in spoiler tags just here (view spoiler)[bipolar (hide spoiler)] (not that it IS really a spoiler...but since the book doesn't tell you what exactly it is until the end, I figure you might want to go in blind. I did. I liked that I wasn't 100% sure). It creates this character, Finch, who is so live and real and spontaneous and unprecedented, I just...I just loved him. I felt a huge connection to Finch. It made the book so personal because I know people with mental illnesses and I suffer from some (though not the same as Finch's) myself and ... wow. Can we just give the author all the award of ever for writing it PERFECTLY? I want to cry. GAH! I'm reviewing, okay, okay, I'm reviewing. It's also about Violet, who's suffering from PTSD after losing her sister. Both Violet and Finch basically want to die, but then they don't want to die. Suicide is a huge theme in the book. I mean, the two meet on a tower were both were considering throwing themselves off. It does make me sad, though, that both kids really hid their feelings from adults/help because they thought nobody understood. That always makes me sad when I read that. IF YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM THINGS YOU CAN'T CONTROL: IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. AND ASKING FOR HELP IS OKAY. Though this was addressed too. Eventually. Kind of? The writing is perfection. Violet and Finch take turns narrating and their voices are SO different. Incredible. Finch is like a ball of spontaneous energy but simultaneously crippling depression. Violet is discovering herself without her sister...and what even is the point of life? Their voices are raw. Their thoughts are so relatable. I only had half an issue with it. I felt the ending dragged a bit. I loved it. I didn't want it to end, but at the same time I just felt like it was procrastinating. Little teeny bit not okay. BUT WHO EVEN CARES?! *throws flowers of sadness* I LOVED THE BOOK. But I have to warn you...it also hurts. Not in the "ouch, hate that" in the "I FREAKING CANNOT HANDLE THIS RIGHT NOW. STAHP. STAHP EVERYTHING AND JUST STAAAAAHP." More like that okay? I was nearly number. The characters are just so real, I felt like I was in the book. Also, I never do this, but I lost track of time. At one point I read for 2 hours straight without even noticing I'd been reading that long. I...I never do that. I have a short attention span. So I don't know why you're still here. Um? Go. Go preorder or read this book or something.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    Hmm, so there's a girl whose name is a colour (Violet) and a boy whose name makes him sound like he burst from the pages of a Dickens' novel (Theodore Finch) and they're both super quirky, intelligent and know the names of a bunch of dead poets. Then there's that whole death thing hanging over this novel... why does it feel like I've read this before? Err... Oh, right. Okay... so don't you just hate it when reviewers try to tell you what you should or shouldn't read? And they make universal stateme Hmm, so there's a girl whose name is a colour (Violet) and a boy whose name makes him sound like he burst from the pages of a Dickens' novel (Theodore Finch) and they're both super quirky, intelligent and know the names of a bunch of dead poets. Then there's that whole death thing hanging over this novel... why does it feel like I've read this before? Err... Oh, right. Okay... so don't you just hate it when reviewers try to tell you what you should or shouldn't read? And they make universal statements like "who could possibly love a book like this?" Yeah, me too. Which is why I'm not going to tell you to do anything; but I am going to strongly recommend that you consider reading Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock instead of this book. Because the theme is the same, only I believe it to be so so much better. Perhaps it's just me, but I am getting so tired of these Lifetime special kind of books that seem to hit me over the head with emotional manipulation. John Green, of course, created his own set of quirky characters to make a humorous book about cancer, and now we've reached the same for suicide. If you did happen to love The Fault in Our Stars and other books like it, don't let me keep you from snapping this book up - it probably will become a new favourite. But it just did not work for me. These characters all feel so fake; like plot tools the author uses to extract our emotions. From the very first page, I felt like the book took centre stage and introduced itself as: "I am a book about suicide. Cry, bitches!" I knew how this was going to end; I just knew it. Not even any surprises. Apparently, it's some flaw in my character for not loving All the Bright Places because these books constantly claim commercial and critical success. I should be drowning in my own tears and mucus right now. Oh well, sucks. And honestly... Augustus Waters and Theodore Finch? Please. What century am I in? Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caz (littlebookowl)

    *EDIT* Full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXQBq... I don't even know what to say... I'm sure the words will come, and at that point I'll try to film a review. But for now I'll just think about a million and one things. My gosh <3 Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. *EDIT* Full review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXQBq... I don't even know what to say... I'm sure the words will come, and at that point I'll try to film a review. But for now I'll just think about a million and one things. My gosh <3 Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben Alderson

    OMG THIS BOOK HAS CHANGED ME

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    dnf not a fan....

  7. 4 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    Seeing other people's reviews on this book that I really trust made me realise a lot of things that I don't really agree with. Right at the time I was reading this, I felt like I could really relate to the main characters and their depression and I think that's why I thought I loved it so much and why I somehow overlooked some really concerning things. It's kind of written in a way that the characters are nothing but their illnesses, if that makes any sense. It felt like there was nothing else t Seeing other people's reviews on this book that I really trust made me realise a lot of things that I don't really agree with. Right at the time I was reading this, I felt like I could really relate to the main characters and their depression and I think that's why I thought I loved it so much and why I somehow overlooked some really concerning things. It's kind of written in a way that the characters are nothing but their illnesses, if that makes any sense. It felt like there was nothing else to them except for their depression. That's so sad because I feel like this book was written just for the purpose of having mentally ill characters, rather than crafting a story centred around the actual characters and their personalities, ya know? Also, what the hell were the adults DOING in this book?! Obviously nothing, because they completed ignored what was going on instead of getting these people help. It was just really weird. The writing was nice, but other than that, I can't really see any redeeming aspects of this novel that could change my opinion back to the way it was. The hype for this book was huge and I was so caught up in the huge thing that happened at the end of this book, that I failed to see anything else. I'm really sorry if this is your favourite book or something, but people's opinions can change after a lot of deliberation and personal growth and stuff. Hope you all understand that I'm just being honest!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    $1.99 on Kindle US 1/28/18 This is one of the best books I have ever read. I'm going to say a lot of personal things on here then go on with the review which will include spoilers, but I will put up the spoiler alert before I do. I also want to add some quotes from the book and the author's note at the end. This book is about teen suicide and bullying. But, it's also about some wonderful people, happy moments and a bit of crazy-wonderful. When I was young I was bullied in school most of my life. $1.99 on Kindle US 1/28/18 This is one of the best books I have ever read. I'm going to say a lot of personal things on here then go on with the review which will include spoilers, but I will put up the spoiler alert before I do. I also want to add some quotes from the book and the author's note at the end. This book is about teen suicide and bullying. But, it's also about some wonderful people, happy moments and a bit of crazy-wonderful. When I was young I was bullied in school most of my life. I ended up quitting school and getting a high school diploma through the mail, which is legit but doesn't seem so since I never finished school. I never told my family about this and to this day at 43 they still do not know. My entire family think I was just some kind of a loser that didn't want to go to school. Never judge a book by it's cover right? When I got sick, physically in 2008 it put me in the hospital overnight and I came out with all kinds of mental disorders. I'm guessing they were brewing on the surface as I have always had some anxiety. I came out with severe panic disorder, agoraphobia (fear of going outside for me), ocd, depression and then came the physical stuff being fibromyalgia and arthritis from all the hard playing I used to do outside before all of this and hereditary with the arthritis, I'm assuming. All of these things turned so bad that I wanted to kill myself many times. I still feel suicidal to this day, and yes I see an psych, no I don't take a million pills, only one for panic. The one thing that held me back was my dog Dakota, I never wanted to leave him, he was my son. Then he had to be euthanized suddenly in Feb. of 2013 from cancer. He just collapsed and then here I am having to kill him. And I thought this is it, I can finally leave and go with him. One out of the couple of friends I have, sent me flowers because she knew he was my son and how much it about killed me much less me killing myself. Surprising to me was that my dad was very understanding and always checking on me since I cried every day. My family knew I always said I wanted to leave this world when he goes, so I guess he was a little worried. And my stupid self let my family and doctor talk me into getting another dog. Now here I am with my rescued greyhound and I don't want to leave her, but I tell you I feel the pull of suicide a lot. I even tell her about it. Her name is Lucy. The reason I'm telling all of these personal things is I want some people to know a few things from someone that really thinks about these things. It doesn't make any of us freaks and we can't "just get over it." That's what people say in this world with mental illness. If it's not physical it's not real, well I would like them to walk a day in any person's shoes with any kind of mental illness. If we could "just get over it" we would have freakin' done that by now. I'm going to add a quote from the book that sums up how I feel personally and I know alot of people feel the same way. *QUOTE FROM BOOK* Amanda stares at her hands. "I can only tell you how I felt. Ugly. Disgusting. Stupid. Small. Worthless. Forgotten. It just feels like there's no choice. Like it's the most logical thing to do because what else is there? You think, "No one will even miss me. They won't know I'm gone. The world will go on, and it won't matter that I'm not here. Maybe it's better if I was never here." **Quote finished** This gave me chills because I have said that in my head and out loud so many times. I even asked my parent why they even had me. And you see so many people seem like they are ok, they can hide these things. Look at Robin Williams, it doesn't matter if your rich or poor, if something is going on with you and there is nothing to be done or no one sees it... that's it. Being lonely sucks! Okay, let's move on to the review! **SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT** I fell in love with Finch from the very beginning. I liked Violet too, but it's Finch that steals the story. He is fun, crazy, seems like he is so full of life, but he's not.. Finch and Violet meet at the top of the bell tower at school. This was not a planned meeting, this was a random meeting of two people that where thinking of committing suicide. Can you imagine, someone messes up your suicide attempt. These stupid, insignificant prats are yelling for Finch to jump. They should have the crap beat out of them. People like that make me sick. Anyway, Finch ends up talking Violet down from the tower but lets everyone think it's the other way around and she is labeled as a hero. They end up being friends, but not without a lot of pushing on Finch's part. Violet doesn't really want to be around anyone too much. Her sister Eleanor was in a car wreck with her almost a year ago and Eleanor died and she didn't. Violet feels like this is her fault because she told her to take the ice-slicked bridge. So Violet has her own issues. She won't get in a car, things like that. Sweet, wonderful Finch brings out all of the good in Violet. Brings her back to herself. They do a cool report for school together where they wander around and look at wonders in their town. It's so wonderful and I would love to do that! They do fall in love, and I was so hoping this would help Finch. But throughout the book he is still fighting these death feelings. He has a mom and two sisters, but they don't see anything wrong, they just say that is Finch. He has a dad who left them for another woman and her son and he is a big jerk of a dad always saying Finch is a loser etc. I think Theodore Finch is a wonderful character. Just like so many out there that take there lives or lose their lives. I can see how wonderful he is, but he just can't. Obviously, Finch takes his life, but I'm not going to say how he does it. I'm not going to say any more about this wonderful book but to tell everyone to read it! Read it! Understand it! Love it! These things are real! People like this are real! And there should be no room left in the world for bullies or people that don't understand mental illness. Get off your high horse and let others live the way they want and try to have some compassion! I can't find the other quote I highlighted but I think I got my point across! **I'm going to put the Author's Note in here because I think it is another important thing for people to read. I'm not going to add her personal parts of the note because that may not be right to do unless she asks me too. I'm just going to add the basic parts and some hotlines.** **AUTHOR'S NOTE FROM THE BOOK** Every forty seconds, someone in this world dies by suicide. Every forty seconds, someone is left behind to cope with the loss. In All The Bright Places, Finch worries a lot about labels. There is, unfortunately, a good deal of stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness. Often, mental and emotional illnesses go undiagnosed because the person suffering symptoms is too ashamed to speak up, or because their loved ones either fail to or choose not to recognize the signs. According to Mental Health America, an estimated 2.5 million Americans are known to have bipolar disorder, but the actual number is a good two to three times higher than that. As many as 80 percent of people with this illness go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. If you think something is wrong, speak up. You are not alone. It is not your fault. Help is out there. **End of partial AUTHOR'S NOTE** Some hotlines: SUICIDE PREVENTION 1-800-273-TALK - suicidepreventionlifeline.org DIAGNOSING MENTAL ILLNESS IN TEENS - helpguide.org I recommend this book to everyone! www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

    ”I know life well enough to know you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either. I know myself well enough to know that no one else can keep you awake or keep you from sleeping.” I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to write a review about this book. It made me so damn sad that I feel whatever I say, it just won’t be enough. It wil ”I know life well enough to know you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either. I know myself well enough to know that no one else can keep you awake or keep you from sleeping.” I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to write a review about this book. It made me so damn sad that I feel whatever I say, it just won’t be enough. It will never do my feelings justice. The sadness I’m feeling is impossible to put into words. It’s the kind of sadness that festers in your heart. The sort of sadness that makes you ache all over and draws the air from your lungs. Maybe it’s because this book hit way too close to home. Maybe it’s because I know exactly how Violet felt. Maybe it’s because in some way Theo reminded me so much of myself. ”The wall has various names: Wall of Thoughts, Wall of Ideas, Wall of My Mind, or just The Wall, not to be confused with Pink Floyd. The wall is a place to keep track of thoughts, as fast as they come, and remember them when they go away. Anything interesting or weird or even halfway inspired goes up there.” His actions, the fact that he embraced life more than everyone else around him! That he saw the beautiful things in our grey world and vehemently refused to succumb to the ugly things that sometimes make it so hard to live. Finch fought for every single moment and to watch his constant fight thoroughly broke my heart. ”I’m fighting to be here in this shitty, messed-up world. Standing on the ledge of the bell tower isn’t about dying. It’s about having control. It’s about never going to sleep again.” It wasn’t the plot or the subjects that moved me. It were the intense feelings this book gave me. The mood it put me in, the trip down my own memory lane… There are books that make you think, There are books that make you feel, But it’s so very rare to experience both. To think and feel and hurt with every fibre of your heart. I am not perfect. I have secrets. I am messy. Not just my bedroom but me. No one likes messy. They like smiling Violet." It’s exactly what “All the Bright Places” did to me. I thought about it even when the book was closed, I hurt reading some scenes even though there seemed to be nothing that would qualify such a reaction. There were tears in my eyes when I read certain parts and I can’t even tell you why!!! ”I walk into my closet and shut the door. Inside, I try not to take up too much space or make any noise, because if I do, I may wake up the darkness, and I want the darkness to sleep. I’m careful when I breathe so as not to breathe too loudly. If I breathe too loudly, there’s no telling what the darkness will do to me or to Violet or to anyone I love.” All I can tell you is that I ache… I hurt… I’m a mess after finishing this book. I didn’t ugly cry when I read the last page. I didn’t sob my soul out. I didn’t weep like a little child. Instead I hurt… I suffer… I feel like a part of what makes me “me” was ripped out of me. Exposed to the eyes of the world. ”Be the person I’m meant to be and have that be enough.” This book is so beautiful, powerful, hopeful, charming, relatable, frustrating, crushing, life-affirming, heart-wrenching, and at times even funny and deep. ”Keep going. Don’t stop now. Don’t be a waiting person. You lived. You survived a really horrible accident. But you’re just … there. You’re just existing like everyone else. Get up. Do this. Do that. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Over and over so that you don’t have to think about it.” It’s an ode to life and yet it left me utterly exhausted and somehow broken. Should you read it? Absolutely! Yes!! But be careful, it might easily crush your heart. That’s not only a fair warning. It’s the bitter truth. And now excuse me while I finally yield to my sadness and actually cry. T_T ”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.” 💔

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)

    Updated- 2015-07-02 This book has been bothering me for a while in all honesty. I thought I loved it when I first read it, I really did, but honestly I think I was caught up in all the hype. What Raeleen (padfootandprongs07 on YouTube) said has really stuck with me: the characters become their illness. And while depression really is all consuming and can make you feel like you're made up of not molecules but sadness, I feel that a book about depression should show that there is more to people tha Updated- 2015-07-02 This book has been bothering me for a while in all honesty. I thought I loved it when I first read it, I really did, but honestly I think I was caught up in all the hype. What Raeleen (padfootandprongs07 on YouTube) said has really stuck with me: the characters become their illness. And while depression really is all consuming and can make you feel like you're made up of not molecules but sadness, I feel that a book about depression should show that there is more to people than their illness. It makes me sad that these characters were defined by their illness and the adults in this book didn't give a flying fuck about what was going on with them. This book does not do a good job of portraying mental illness as it gives no hope and leaves the reader with a false image of a depressed person being nothing more than their depression. For this reason, I'm lowering my rating once again. I previously had lowered it from a 5 star to a 4 star but now I'm lowering it all the way to a 1.5 star. I may do a video regarding this later. I just got too caught up in the hype and was seeing a beautiful story when really, what was making it beautiful was the romanticizing of mental illness and depression. It irks me more the more I think about it and honestly thanks to Raeleen and her review for opening my eyes to what really was underlying the message of this book. Updating again since I've already ranted, why not rant some more. I also was irritated that this was a pretty solid rip off of TFIOS. Like the unlit cigarette, c'mon man. *please don't tear me apart in the comments*

  11. 4 out of 5

    NReads

    very very sad but extremely beautiful

  12. 5 out of 5

    emma

    Reading is an interesting thing. When I was around 17, I was just getting back into it. I’d spent the later part of my middle school years and the beginning part of my high school ones not reading much at all. This is due to my being deep in long-term tests of a very forced and inauthentic persona, in playing a version of myself who was just way too cool to do all those totally lame things like read, or try in school, or be an even remotely pleasant or interesting person. It was neither convincing Reading is an interesting thing. When I was around 17, I was just getting back into it. I’d spent the later part of my middle school years and the beginning part of my high school ones not reading much at all. This is due to my being deep in long-term tests of a very forced and inauthentic persona, in playing a version of myself who was just way too cool to do all those totally lame things like read, or try in school, or be an even remotely pleasant or interesting person. It was neither convincing nor fun (for anyone involved), and eventually (mercifully) I gave it up. However, the 17-year-old me who was getting back into reading was mostly doing so through the voracious and uncritical consumption of any YA contemporary she could get her hands on, using either her decade-old library card or babysitting money at the mall. Little to no thought was put into what I picked up or what I thought of it. It was all the same to me. When I read this book, I mostly swooned at the idea of a manic-pixie-dream-boy with an interesting name and a Penchant For Wandering. I marked it as read on Goodreads with a five-star rating and a few gushing, meaningless sentences. And there it has sat ever since. Now, I indulge in considering myself a critical reader. (It’s not THAT uncalled for -- my average rating is below three stars.) And some of those outdated, teenage ratings of books I can’t remember have bugged me. None more than this one. So recently(ish), I sucked it up and reread. And wow, did I gloss over a lot. All the negative reviews of this book are right. All the Bright Places is filled with girl hate and the not-like-other-girls trope. The discussion of mental illness, especially medication for and treatment of it, is irresponsible and gross. And the whole thing’s imbued with a John Green-esque glorification of the “special” people, the weirdos, and above all the idea that most people who are living their lives are doing it incorrectly, in a way that is normal and mundane and so f*cking worthless and boring. It’s an exhausting and frustrating read, and while the sheer force of nostalgia (alongside my belief that the author is sweet and well-meaning) prevents me from one-starring it, I can’t pretend this is in any way a good book. Here are some quotes, organized by category. GIRL HATE/NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS “I have bad luck with women. Something about going for the bitchy ones or the crazy ones…” “She is different from all other girls” “bitchy Amanda Monk” “you’re not just any girl” SLUT SHAMING “Amanda’s father owns a chain of liquor stores, which is one of the reasons she’s so popular. That and the fact that she puts out.” “‘I knew him even better than that.’ Her voice goes slutty.” (What does that even mean?) “They told us girls who Do are sluts and girls who Don’t are teases. [...] Amanda said, the only way around it is to stay with one guy forever.’ But does forever have a built in ending…?” “even though the Day Of wasn’t slutty, I feel a little slutty, and also kind of grown up” TERRIBLE TREATMENT OF RACE “Charlie is black. Not CW black, but black-black.” I don’t even have to say that there is absolutely no place in which a white author can ascribe types of blackness in which some are “realer” than others. “Every athletic coach at Bartlett High has been trying to recruit him since he first walked through the school doors, but he refuses to be a black stereotype.” This is just f*cked up. BODY SHAMING “Too many high school girls are built like boys.” The whole character of Mr. Black: “literally the largest man I have ever seen.” “Bren hates all girls who aren’t at least a size twelve.” A body shaming and nonsensical girl hate combo! “Do you think I need to lose weight? Be honest. Do you think any guy will ever have sex with me or love me for who I am?” (Finch’s response to this, which is asked to him directly, is mostly to ignore it.) TREATMENT OF MENTAL ILLNESS “‘I’m OCD,’ ‘I’m depressed,’ ‘I’m a cutter,’ they say, like these are the things that define them. One poor bastard is ADHD, OCD, BPD, bipolar, and on top of it all has some sort of anxiety disorder. [...] I’m the only one who is just Theodore Finch.” It is so irresponsible and hateful to portray medications negatively, ESPECIALLY as killing what makes you “you.” Also, Amanda confides in Violet that she went to a support group for suicide, and Violet’s ONLY RESPONSE is to care that Finch was there. SEMI UNRELATED COMPLAINING Just a fun thing if you want to lose any remaining faith you have in humanity: This book is being adapted into a film (because of course it is). A black actor was cast to play Finch (who is white in the book). This should be a good thing, considering it’s at least one more character who isn’t white (up from one total nonwhite character). According to the dozens, maybe hundreds of accounts spewing nonstop immature racist vitriol in the comments of every Instagram the author of this posts, it is not. Sometimes I don’t understand how people can read stories like this, with passages like this one has, and not feel like something is wrong. But in the case of those ignorant assholes, I understand precisely. Bottom line: There is so much wrong happening here. ---------- welp. review to come ---------- In 2015, I loved this book, but in 2015 I also had never had a critical thought about anything containing a whirlwind romance and a boy with a quirky name who was characterized as "charming." In other words, I am Not confident this reread will go well.

  13. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    ‘sometimes theres beauty in the tough words - its all in how you read them.’ i dont think a quote from a book has ever described its own story so perfectly. this is a tough one to get through, but living in the heartbreaking words is a touch of something so lovely, so precious. ive noticed my feelings regarding this book have slightly changed the second time around, but there is one thing that has stayed the same. and that is how this story demands to be felt. its a kind of rawness and pure ‘sometimes theres beauty in the tough words - its all in how you read them.’ i dont think a quote from a book has ever described its own story so perfectly. this is a tough one to get through, but living in the heartbreaking words is a touch of something so lovely, so precious. ive noticed my feelings regarding this book have slightly changed the second time around, but there is one thing that has stayed the same. and that is how this story demands to be felt. its a kind of rawness and pure vulnerability that makes you take a step back and examine your own heart. and its safe to say this book still has mine, in its entirety. _________________________________ this book has stolen my heart and i dont think i am ever getting it back. who knows if i will ever be able to recover. ↠ 4.5 stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    First things first. In the blurb of this book it says..The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park. That should go. I liked both those books in their own right. This book should and does stand on it's own. It's better than that. This review may go all spoilery and too much personal information. Be warned. My writing of reviews have been said to be Awkward..fuck that. I'm going all in on this one. If I can get one person that needs to read this book to read it through my review..it's worth it. "M First things first. In the blurb of this book it says..The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park. That should go. I liked both those books in their own right. This book should and does stand on it's own. It's better than that. This review may go all spoilery and too much personal information. Be warned. My writing of reviews have been said to be Awkward..fuck that. I'm going all in on this one. If I can get one person that needs to read this book to read it through my review..it's worth it. "May you eye go to the Sun, To the wind your soul.." "Or go to the waters if it suits thee there." Theodore Finch: That odd boy who tries on different personalities hoping to find one that will put him into "Awake" mode. He knows so many ways to die and little things keep him from going through with it. It might be that he doesn't want a destroyed corpse for people to look on. It might be that he finally met that girl that is maybe the one that might keep him there. Violet Markey: Recently lost her best friend/sister in a car crash. She is broken. No more cheerleading, writing on her webpage, no more wanting to go to college...she just is. These two meet when both of them are on the ledge to the bell tower at school. Contemplating the reasons that it hurts to bad to go on. Finch steps up and talks to Violet. The word around high school becomes that she saved him. Later a class project comes up that means they have to partner up with someone and "wander" their state. Finch nominates Violet to be his partner and our story begins. This book does move slowly at times. I thought at first it would be a 3/4 star book. Then it snuck up on me and I think it became part of my memories. This book deals with depression and mental illness. It's not one that you can just walk away from. The thing I know about bipolar disorder is that it's a label. One you give crazy people. Labels like "bipolar" say This is why you are the way you are. This is who you are. They explain people away as illnesses. .................................................................... I get into these moods sometimes, and I can't shake them. Kind of black sinking moods. I imagine it's like what being in the eye of a tornado would be like, all calm and blinding at the same time. I hate them. Finch's dad obviously suffers from those same type of moods. He turns abusive with them. He has found a new family though and moved on with his life. Which just hurts Finch more. My mom has un-diagnosed bipolar disorder. She can be the sweetest woman you ever met and then it happens. She can be very abusive. Is it her fault? No, but it does make life harder to live with her. I left home at the age of 15 because I was scared of her. My sister and I both have tried to get her help. She goes into the doctors offices and becomes the "sweet woman"..and they never listen to either of us about her moods. My dad passed away last month and I thought we were stable with her...then she told the funeral director that she only had one daughter and shut me out of the room. Does it hurt? Absolutely. Do I hold it against her? I can't. I have to let it go. She has a sickness..one I hope that she will find help with eventually. (No, I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on tv. We just want her tested) What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them. Actually, I know exactly how that feels. I'm so glad this book was written. Suicide and mental illness needs discussed. It doesn't need to be that dirty little secret that is pushed into the black hole of a closet. I feel like I could quote you this whole sweet, funny, heartbreaking, wonderful book. I won't though. Just go and read it. According to Mental Health America, an estimated 2.5 million Americans are known to have bipolar disorder, but the actual number is a good two to three times higher than that. As many as 80 percent of people with this illness go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. If you think something is wrong, speak up. You are not alone. I received an arc copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Darth J

    Where to begin? I heard great things about this but I should have stayed away. Violet I feel like she only really existed here to be the emotional component of this book. She's used as a prop mostly and a prize, yet I never saw her as having any personality beyond just being a sounding board. There is plenty of woe is me/my sister died so I use that as an excuse to hide from life from this character. She just felt insubstantial to me, her only purpose being to tell the readers about the emotional Where to begin? I heard great things about this but I should have stayed away. Violet I feel like she only really existed here to be the emotional component of this book. She's used as a prop mostly and a prize, yet I never saw her as having any personality beyond just being a sounding board. There is plenty of woe is me/my sister died so I use that as an excuse to hide from life from this character. She just felt insubstantial to me, her only purpose being to tell the readers about the emotional weight of the tragedies around her. Finch I know people are going to hate me for this, but I was so annoyed by this character. He reminded me of the kids who tried so hard for attention that they were constantly wearing new personas. Hell, he even creeps his way into Violet's heart when she initially isn't attracted to him (this is SO the wrong message to send to teens/tweens, btw). He's a knight in shining fedora, you know: the "I'm a nice guy" kinda guy who is really pretty warped and "extreme" as Violet initially refers to him. Because he was always desperate for attention it stands to reason that his actual cries for help were ignored. This book glorifies suicide. It makes it seem hauntingly beautiful. I'm sure there are kids reading this and contemplating attempting it for the "They'll all finally care when I'm gone!" reasons that this story seems to show with the aftermath. But this is not okay. It's not okay to romanticize the notion that counselors and peer groups can't be a place of support and help when having these kind of thoughts. I know teens like a tortured love story, but I'm just really ready for this sick-lit trend to end. Here's the thing: Your life matters. It matters now. It's great to leave a legacy, but please be remembered for who you were and what you did beyond how you died.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Darling

    I think this may end up being a DNF for me; consider this a prelimary reaction as I put it on hold. I've only read a few chapters so far, but I'm struggling with the quirky/cute style married with a subject as serious as suicide. I mean, are we going to see self-mutilation or child abuse or domestic violence or homophobia painted with cotton candy colors next? This is one of those set-ups (girl meets boy as they're both standing on a ledge contemplating suicide, rat-a-tat precocious-funny dialog I think this may end up being a DNF for me; consider this a prelimary reaction as I put it on hold. I've only read a few chapters so far, but I'm struggling with the quirky/cute style married with a subject as serious as suicide. I mean, are we going to see self-mutilation or child abuse or domestic violence or homophobia painted with cotton candy colors next? This is one of those set-ups (girl meets boy as they're both standing on a ledge contemplating suicide, rat-a-tat precocious-funny dialogue ensues) that probably works better as an indie darling romantic comedy film than it does in book form, as there are no soundtracks or Instagram-type filters or dizzying camera tricks to distract from the main point of the story. It's not that I don't think heavy topics can't be handled with a light hand (see the excellent--and hilarious--Suicide Notes, and I believe pretty much every John Green novel I haven't read), but thus far I'm not charmed enough by the relationships or humor or writing here to forget that suicide is used as a cute plot device. If the book also dealt well with the serious, no-shit implications and consequences of the acts these kids are contemplating, I might be more inclined to continue, but after chatting with my fabulous co-blogger Layla, it doesn't sound like that really ever happens--and in fact, the severe depression and (view spoiler)[and mental illness and manic pixie dream boy trope (hide spoiler)] don't sound like they're handled with satisfactory weight. She wrote a real review for the book here: http://www.themidnightgarden.net/2015... discussing specifics if you're curious. I'm wondering too--do reactions to this book vary depending on how much personal experience you've had with suicide or depression? Suicide has touched my life in ways that have forever changed me, and while I don't consider myself overly sensitive or prone to reacting to triggering material, other readers might find it easier to accept this facile treatment--or even harder, depending on your history. Most readers I know seem to be absolutely loving this book, though, so take our reactions with that in mind. As I have a mental block with it at this point, I'm setting it aside for now, though I'm guessing I might come back to it out of curiosity, or if the year-end awards cycle sweeps this one up in its wake. It certainly seems like just the type of book that would be prone to do that. An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

    This is my secret---that any moment I might fly away. Somehow I think 5 stars aren’t enough for such an ultra-remarkey-able book; if I can, I’ll definitely give it as many stars as those shining in the entire universe because All The Bright Places deserves them all, seriously. For starters, I actually like the way Theodore Finch met Violet Markey---on the ledge six stories above the ground at the Bell Tower in their high school on a rainy day---it's a rather beautiful encounter for me. This is my secret---that any moment I might fly away. Somehow I think 5 stars aren’t enough for such an ultra-remarkey-able book; if I can, I’ll definitely give it as many stars as those shining in the entire universe because All The Bright Places deserves them all, seriously. For starters, I actually like the way Theodore Finch met Violet Markey---on the ledge six stories above the ground at the Bell Tower in their high school on a rainy day---it's a rather beautiful encounter for me. Theodore Finch was a teenage boy who was extremely fascinated by death, especially suicidal incidents happened and recorded in the history, and he was also suffering from various levels of misfortune, such as domestic violence, bullied/labeled, and bipolar disorder. All of these made him think of dying every minute he was awake. Before I die I want to know a perfect day. On the contrary, Violet Markey was a girl who couldn't get over her dear sister's death a year ago and kept waiting for graduation, planning on escaping everything in the future; thus, she didn't know how to live her life. Therefore, when the two of them paired up in a seemingly simple yet boring school project, sparks ignited. Brightly. When we’re in the act of wandering, we need to be present, not watching it through a lens. During their "wandering", Finch showed her not only how to live in the present but also how to walk out of her shell. For Finch, I like that he could truly be himself whenever Violet was around and never thought about that endless black hole or deemed himself as a worthless mess. And for Violet, she could finally start to see and feel all the tiniest happiness surrounding her. My calendar is shoved into a corner. I unfold it now, smoothing it out, and look at all the blank days, too many to count, that I didn't mark off because these were the days I had with Finch. To be honest, I think everything between the lines was really meaningful---every single word Finch said, every conversation Finch and Violet had, every quote they used/googled---all of them were too heartfelt to forget. Although they didn't and couldn't have that much time as I wanted them to spend together, what they'd experienced were so beautiful that I absolutely adored. ”Where would you go if you could go anywhere?” It comes out bitchier than I mean for it to. He leans forward over the handlebars, eyes on me. ”I’d go to Hoosier Hill with a beautiful girl.” I love the honesty in Finch's words and how he treated Violet. He was far from that labeled Freak when in his true self. He indeed showed her the world. My favorite one was the Jovian-Plutonian Gravitational Effect scene. "But I bring it up to let you know that 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." He could be so much funny, positive, considerate and thoughtful when he wanted to be. Just a small thought of Violet could stop him from ending his life, because he realized that Violet is life at times. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? This is what I want to do with Violet---give her only the good, keep away the bad, so that good is all we ever have around us. Sadly, he insisted on searching the bottom of the Blue Hole, or at least I'd like to think that way. And ironically, broke the world record at the same time. There was nothing to make him last a long time. Even when he was somewhere out there, he could still end it in an amazingly beautiful way. I remember running down a road on my way to a nursery of flowers. I remember her smile and her laugh when I was my best self and she looked at me like I could do no wrong and was whole. I remember her hand in mine and how that felt, as if something and someone belonged to me. Mercifully, he wasn't forgotten as if he never existed in this world. For both him and Violet and his friends. By the way? For what it's worth, you showed me something, Ultraviolet---there is such a thing as a perfect day. As for her, I particularly love the remaining wandering of their project, or should I say, their seeking for that Great Manifesto? Finch definitely left every best thing for Violet and those he left behind, and during her completing the entire journey, she was forever changed, because what it mattered all the time... Even though it seems like a happy ending for me, and for Ultraviolet Remarkey-able, too, I still feel an inerasable ache deep inside my heart, as if Theodore Finch actually took a part of me when he found the Other World. What makes this book special is that nothing huge or surprising happened, only the smallest, the most ordinary stuff in daily life. However, Jennifer managed to make them no longer as blend as they seemed. She truly made me believe that every single moment in my life is worth living for. All the Bright Places is a story about a cardinal and a flower; a book filled with beautiful memories and bittersweet moments, making me ponder on something I’ve never thought about before. I think somehow Finch had already lived his life to the fullest and the brightest, and he also found that Other World through his wandering. And after all this, I am forever changed as well. So...I want to give you that rock: Your turn. Lastly, I picked some songs for this book and hope you enjoy them while reading this! Sam Smith-Writing’s on the Wall: For the whole story. The atmosphere sounds just about right. Gabrielle Aplin-Please Don’t Say You Love Me: For the unpredictable, broken Finch, who couldn't promise Violet a happy future together. Coldplay-Adventure of A Lifetime: For their U.S. Geography project wandering, and in search for the Great Manifesto. Keane-Somewhere Only We Know: For Theodore & Ultraviolet. Their friendship. Their relationship. Short, but priceless. X Ambassador-Renegades: The lyrics are meant for the purest Finch. Lily Allen-Littlest Things: This song and lyrics sum up the entire book. Almost. ***All in all*** This is what I feel after reading this entire book: Just like that, the story will leave you with endless strength, powerful thoughts, and positive energy. :目

  18. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    “My beloved boat is broken on the rocks of daily life. I’ve paid my debts and no longer need to count pains I’ve suffered at the hands of others. The misfortunes and the insults. Good luck to those who remain.” I was not prepared for this emotional upheaval! A damn good YA contemporary that deals with the complex issues around suicide. It is something that so many of us have dealt with first hand, I myself know two people who have committed suicide before I’ve even turned 25. “We are all alone, “My beloved boat is broken on the rocks of daily life. I’ve paid my debts and no longer need to count pains I’ve suffered at the hands of others. The misfortunes and the insults. Good luck to those who remain.” I was not prepared for this emotional upheaval! A damn good YA contemporary that deals with the complex issues around suicide. It is something that so many of us have dealt with first hand, I myself know two people who have committed suicide before I’ve even turned 25. “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.” Violet Markey and Theodore Finch meet on the top of their school bell tower. From there begins a wonderful friendship into romance, full of adventures and discoveries. It took me a while to warm up to both main characters, but once I did I couldn’t get enough of their story! “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Both have suffered trauma in their pasts, and find peace and understanding with each other. But sometimes that isn’t enough. “What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them.” A wonderful tale that highlights the taboo that still surrounds cases of suicide. A powerful story told in a heartfelt and relatable way. “Before I die I want to...be the person I’m meant to be and have that be enough.” “Before I die I want to...matter.” ************************** Fuck. My heart hurts. RTC

  19. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    2.5 stars I would rate Jennifer Niven's author note five stars if I could. We need more books about mental illness; authors should strive to tackle uncomfortable subjects like abuse, suicide, and bipolar disorder. While Niven's intentions come across as meaningful and good, her delivery through her first YA novel, All the Bright Places, falls short. Some reasons why: 1: These characters have QftSoQ (Quirkiness for the Sake of Quirkiness) syndrome. They - in particular, Finch - read as caricatures 2.5 stars I would rate Jennifer Niven's author note five stars if I could. We need more books about mental illness; authors should strive to tackle uncomfortable subjects like abuse, suicide, and bipolar disorder. While Niven's intentions come across as meaningful and good, her delivery through her first YA novel, All the Bright Places, falls short. Some reasons why: 1: These characters have QftSoQ (Quirkiness for the Sake of Quirkiness) syndrome. They - in particular, Finch - read as caricatures that spout literary references and send each other uncouth Facebook messages for the sake of evoking our inner John Green fans. I get that teens have intelligent and/or odd personalities. But slapping a character with an unusual sense of self does not do them justice: quirkiness does not equal depth. I wanted to get deeper into Finch and Violet, to learn about their backgrounds, their familial relationships, and other aspects of their humanities. 2: Finch and Violet's relationship felt like a shock of insta-love followed by a series of stalker-like advances. I wish I could see why they clicked, aside from their magical first time together on the rooftop of their school. Finch likes Violet's smile and creates a Facebook account just to add her; he pressures her to reveal her secrets and to hang out with him even after she says no. he bases his entire sense of self-worth on her existence, which acts as a huge red flag in any type of relationship. Niven treats this unbalanced romance as if it should make our hearts soar. I wish we got more complexity from Finch and Violet as individuals, in particular Violet, whose grief storyline felt overshadowed by Finch's perspective. 3: The parts of the book that pertained to mental illness lacked precision. I appreciated Finch's honesty with his suffering, even if sometimes Niven's voice superseded his own. I also enjoyed the ending of the book and how Niven handled the climax of the story. But so much of All the Bright Places felt more like an indie romance - starring Violet as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl - than an actual novel with serious themes. Niven could have replaced more of the too-overt symbolism and adolescent hyper-intellectualism with scenes that might have layered Finch and Violet as individuals, because people in real life go through similar struggles, and they deserve accurate representation. As someone who has a lot of personal experience and exposure to mental illness, I wanted more from this book. Other authors have pulled it off, like Michael Thomas Ford in Suicide Notes and Nancy Werlin's The Rules of Survival. While Niven writes well and possesses great motives, I hope that readers will recognize the problematic portions of this book and still appreciate its foray into the subject of mental health.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brian Yahn

    All the Bright Places is the story of how Theodore Finch and Ultraviolet are brought together by death--which would be gloomy, except the two personalities bloom, becoming something beautiful, as their wondrous adventures bring them closer together. Jennifer Niven takes a girl meets boy story, sets it in the dull landscape of Indiana, and turns it into a Seussical wonderworld with these extraordinarily conflicted characters. Saying their journey is a rollercoaster would be an understatement. It's All the Bright Places is the story of how Theodore Finch and Ultraviolet are brought together by death--which would be gloomy, except the two personalities bloom, becoming something beautiful, as their wondrous adventures bring them closer together. Jennifer Niven takes a girl meets boy story, sets it in the dull landscape of Indiana, and turns it into a Seussical wonderworld with these extraordinarily conflicted characters. Saying their journey is a rollercoaster would be an understatement. It's an amusement park. Every scene is a different thrill ride. With a character as explosive as Finch and one with a troubled background like Ultraviolet, falling in love and knockout fights go hand and hand. All the Bright Places takes you to All the Good Places and All the Bad Places and everywhere in between, and the words that take you there are spellbinding. Jennifer Niven just knocks it out of the park with this story in every way: the dialogue is so real it's haunting, she paints scenes so well you forget you're not watching a movie, and Theodore Finch and Ultraviolet go down with Holden Caulfield and Holly Golightly as characters you're sure never to forget.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katty

    Ugh. Just, no. Mental illness is not a cute little quirk. It isn't something that kickstarts a misfit, high school romance. It is not something that automatically makes you more witty, or intelligent, or really all that different from your peers. It isn't at all what is portrayed in this book. Niven's intentions may be wonderful, and she is right that we need more books about mental health and illness. But this makes a mockery of it. Please, YA authors, don't touch this topic unless you know wha Ugh. Just, no. Mental illness is not a cute little quirk. It isn't something that kickstarts a misfit, high school romance. It is not something that automatically makes you more witty, or intelligent, or really all that different from your peers. It isn't at all what is portrayed in this book. Niven's intentions may be wonderful, and she is right that we need more books about mental health and illness. But this makes a mockery of it. Please, YA authors, don't touch this topic unless you know what you're doing. Mental illness doesn't need this kind of erroneous portrayal just for the sake of being included in fiction.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Churchill

    Every now and then you find a book that not only makes you think, but changes the way you look at the world. 'All the Bright Places', in all its clever, poetic and honest beauty is one of those books. It will stay with me, forever. Every now and then you find a book that not only makes you think, but changes the way you look at the world. 'All the Bright Places', in all its clever, poetic and honest beauty is one of those books. It will stay with me, forever.

  23. 5 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    Horribly pretentious, overtly ostentatious, and highly deleterious! Niven concocts a controversial narrative about suicide and mental illness with the intention of bringing forth light into all the darkest places yet the way she handles/executes this story is both disheartening and callous to those who are facing their everyday "black holes and blue holes and bottomless bodies of water and exploding stars and event horizons, and a place so dark that light can’t get out once it’s in." Bartlett, In Horribly pretentious, overtly ostentatious, and highly deleterious! Niven concocts a controversial narrative about suicide and mental illness with the intention of bringing forth light into all the darkest places yet the way she handles/executes this story is both disheartening and callous to those who are facing their everyday "black holes and blue holes and bottomless bodies of water and exploding stars and event horizons, and a place so dark that light can’t get out once it’s in." Bartlett, Indiana - Theodore Finch has a history of extreme mood swings and suicidal thoughts. To add insult to injury, he's been a victim of bullying. Having a dysfunctional family doesn't help either. It is implied throughout the novel that he's manic-depressive. Violet Markey, on the other hand, suffers from PTSD and depression after a terrible accident. Unexpectedly, they both meet on a ledge in a bell tower. And from that unanticipated act alone, they find ways in helping each other out as they traverse the wondrous landscape of Indiana. I am going against the grain regarding this one. As a slice-of-life narrative, Niven portrayed the thoughts and feelings of depression well. I'm emphasising thoughts and feelings because that is at least what she gets right. The writing style was simple and straightforward yet not extraordinary, it's too much tell and no show, which I am not a fan of. Now, my aversion to this novel is due to the following reasons: 1. The characters were as flat as a piece of slate. Oh, dear! Think of mental illness. Put it in a meatbag, shake away and Bob's your uncle — you have Finch and Ultraviolet Remarkey-able thoroughly defined by their illnesses. Goodness gracious! Are you just using your characters as a mere plot device and emotionally baiting me to feel something for them? And for heaven's sake! The adults here felt like some kind of a fixture. What the bloody hell are they doing being so clueless about what's happening with Finch and Violet? Are they that stupid not to entirely feel that something's wrong with their son/daughter? Someone's village is clearly missing their idiot! 2. Suicide/mental illnesses as a quirky plot device. This is where all my feelings go! You don't use suicide as a quirky means of discussing issues like these. It's downright horrendous, offensive, and insensitive! I didn't find the humour of Finch hilarious at all! And here's what Niven says in her acknowledgement section: "I wanted to write something edgy. I wanted to write something contemporary. I wanted to write something tough, hard, sad, but funny. I wanted to write from a boy’s point of view." Aye, I get it. You wanted to have some kind of representation by using suicide/mental illness. However, to write something comical through Finch's thoughts just so you can tackle the issue lightheartedly? No, just no! 3. Suicide is handled poorly. This is not the kind of representation I'm looking for. I do not recommend this book for anyone struggling with depression for the fact that it intensifies the worst thing that the depressed individual can find in himself/herself and would likely to commit the act itself. This book leaves an acrid taste in my mouth which I abhor. "What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them." This isn't the kind of message that teens need to read or hear about. Those who are struggling with depression need a sense of hope and purpose/reason to stay alive! And you can STILL HELP THEM! 4. This book glamourises suicide and mental illness. Well, it's there all throughout the book, not to mention the various ways of sending oneself into another plane of existence which was presented as a trivia/fact. Inject humour and you have a disturbing passage: "'I’m fine. Believe me, if I decide to kill myself, you’ll be the first to know. I’ll save you a front-row seat, or at least wait till you’ve got more money for the lawsuit.' Note to self: Suicide is not a laughing matter, particularly for authority figures who are in any way responsible for you." How odd that suicide is not a laughing matter yet sarcasm says otherwise. And please don't insert sex and romance just to keep the plot going! There is nothing romantic about suicide or anything related to mental illnesses. Stop romanticizing it, for Pete's sake! 5. Treatment options and recovery for mental illness are highly stigmatised. Seeking help in the earliest stages of depression or other mental illnesses can save a life! The reason why I'm against reading this book, especially for depressed individuals, is that counselling and other available treatments are put in a negative light, which shouldn't be! Medical professionals know how to handle cases and the treatment varies per person. Please, if you think and feel you/someone are/is experiencing bouts of depression/mental illness, don't hesitate to ask for much-needed help. Your life matters, their lives matter NOW and not after they leave this world. I have read the author's note and empathise with what she's gone through. However, it doesn't excuse the fact that she used such a sensitive issue as a means of elucidating poignant tragedy completely bereft of hope. Mental health issues are dear to my heart and for one who has experienced depression, you wouldn't want that issue to be taken lightly or humorously. Niven might have the best intentions, but this story is problematic in all its bright places. CW/TW: Depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, suicide, suicidal thoughts, abuse, violence, bullying, self-harm

  24. 5 out of 5

    Warda

    “You make me lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love.” Well, my heart has been butchered again. But, I can’t complain because I chose to reread it. I woke up in a state of mourning. This is what this book was. It was honest and raw about mental health, parental neglect, lack of understanding about the topic in schools and society as a whole. Jennifer Niven did an amazing job showcasing all of this and I felt so deeply connected to the characters and their struggles. This book “You make me lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love.” Well, my heart has been butchered again. But, I can’t complain because I chose to reread it. I woke up in a state of mourning. This is what this book was. It was honest and raw about mental health, parental neglect, lack of understanding about the topic in schools and society as a whole. Jennifer Niven did an amazing job showcasing all of this and I felt so deeply connected to the characters and their struggles. This book isn’t for everyone. Trigger warnings for suicide, but if you are able to push through, it is the type of story that spurs you into action and makes you want to shout out about mental health and how it needs to be taken more seriously. This has to be one of my favourites that brings forth the importance of speaking about mental health.

  25. 5 out of 5

    demi. ♡

    ❥ 5 / 5 stars “No longer rooted, but gold, flowing.” Throughout the book, there were so many clues leading to what I did not want it to happen the most in the story and I tried, tried, and tried to ignore all of them, wishing that maybe this book would not be so cruel to me and there was still hope that the incident like this would not happen in the book. But unfortunately, as I had already presumed for some time, my wishes did not come true. And that, if I’m being honest, completely ripped my ❥ 5 / 5 stars “No longer rooted, but gold, flowing.” Throughout the book, there were so many clues leading to what I did not want it to happen the most in the story and I tried, tried, and tried to ignore all of them, wishing that maybe this book would not be so cruel to me and there was still hope that the incident like this would not happen in the book. But unfortunately, as I had already presumed for some time, my wishes did not come true. And that, if I’m being honest, completely ripped my heart out. I don’t know when I will stop crying since its story still sticks in my mind and seems like it won’t go away easily in a day or two or maybe a month, but the one and only thing I know right now is I have to thank myself and something inside me that made me pick this book up for at least a thousand times. It’s not easy to find a book that got you emotional and touched this much as this one did to me. It’s a sad yet truly beautiful story. Caution : Please prepare yourself a dozen boxes of tissue paper before starting to read this book. Don’t tell me if I didn’t warn you.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aly (In Wonderland)

    Is today a good day to die? All the Bright Places turned out to be one of the most personal books of the year for me. Although it's being marketed as "The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park", I have to violently disagree. As someone who detested The Fault in Our Stars and hasn't read Eleanor and Park, All the Bright Places touched something inside me that these books did not. Theodore Finch, seventeen, wants to die. He knows the best ways to commit suicide, as well as the intern Is today a good day to die? All the Bright Places turned out to be one of the most personal books of the year for me. Although it's being marketed as "The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park", I have to violently disagree. As someone who detested The Fault in Our Stars and hasn't read Eleanor and Park, All the Bright Places touched something inside me that these books did not. Theodore Finch, seventeen, wants to die. He knows the best ways to commit suicide, as well as the international percentages of those ways, and knows all the most famous suicide notes off by heart. Stood on the school's bell tower, Finch is ready to jump. "Is today a good day to die? And if not today-- when?" But then someone points at the bell tower -- not at Finch, who has been labelled 'freak' and 'weirdo' and whom no one really cares about -- but at a girl who has climbed onto the ledge beside him, Violet. She thinks she wants to jump, too. From down below, someone yells, "Violet? Is that Violet up there?" "Oh God," she says, so low I barely hear it. "OhGodohGodohGod." The wind blows her skirt and hair, and it looks like she's going to fly away. Violet has realised she doesn't want to die and, being popular and pretty and everything Finch is not, he decides to save her reputation by acting as if she climbed up there to save his life. From there, a strange friendship begins to grow, only to be fortified by a US Geography project Violet was planning on not doing. Together, Violet learns how to live from a boy who wants to die, and Finch tries to remain Awake for as long as possible. Because, sometimes, Finch's brain makes him forget things: a day, a week, a month. He goes Asleep, and he's terrified that one day, he will never be Awake again. "Listen, I’m the freak. I’m the weirdo. I’m the troublemaker. I start fights. I let people down. Don’t make Finch mad, whatever you do. Oh, there he goes again, in one of his moods. Moody Finch. Angry Finch. Unpredictable Finch. Crazy Finch. But I’m not a compilation of symptoms. Not a casualty of shitty parents and an even shittier chemical makeup. Not a problem. Not a diagnosis. Not an illness. Not something to be rescued. I’m a person.” All the Bright Places made me think, and it made me cry and it made me realise that although everyone feels alone at some point in their lives, we really aren't. Theodore Finch may be a fictional character, but his mental illness and the way he struggles every day just to get out of bed are incredibly real. Even now, there's a huge stigma on mental illness: if you can't see it, then you're not really "sick." Even now, every forty seconds someone commits suicide because of mental illness or because they felt like they had no other choice. I found myself relating to him on every single level, to the desperate way he wants to live to the desperate way he wants to die, and when I turned the last page, I thought to myself: It's sad, and beautiful and incredibly real. This is also a book that caused a lot of mayhem in the book blogging community. People either loved it or hated it. Many said it 'mocked' mental illness, just like Green's The Fault in Our Stars mocked cancer victims and survivors, and many said it was unrealistic. I disagree. In my honest opinion, All the Bright Places is the most realistic portrayal of mental illness I have encountered so far -- the helplessness, the exhaustion, the desperation. Theodore Finch may not be real, but what he goes through couldn't be more realistic. I couldn't recommend it enough. This review is also up on 100% Rock Magazine!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    I can't even scramble my thoughts together for a review. Unrealistic and incredibly irritating. None of the characters' actions made sense. The only time I liked the story is whenever Theo's depression (????) was triggered and he became aloof and dissociated, because that was more tolerable than his annoying antics leading Violet on and perpetuating this "Theodore Freak" label at school. As a reader, I feel really guilty that the only parts of this book that I enjoyed were the parts that the cha I can't even scramble my thoughts together for a review. Unrealistic and incredibly irritating. None of the characters' actions made sense. The only time I liked the story is whenever Theo's depression (????) was triggered and he became aloof and dissociated, because that was more tolerable than his annoying antics leading Violet on and perpetuating this "Theodore Freak" label at school. As a reader, I feel really guilty that the only parts of this book that I enjoyed were the parts that the characters' feelings were being annihilated by the author. Really disappointed with how this ended, as well.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    5 stars! This year instead of having New Years resolutions I won’t keep, I decided to make book goals and one of those goals was to read more YA. 25 is my goal for the year. This was the first on my list this year and it blew me away! For real, I had ALL THE FEELS while reading this. Powerful, memorable, smart, funny, sad, real… this book was completely authentic and moving. There were so many ‘quotable’ things in this book. I just want to talk about the story so much but I went in blind and l 5 stars! This year instead of having New Years resolutions I won’t keep, I decided to make book goals and one of those goals was to read more YA. 25 is my goal for the year. This was the first on my list this year and it blew me away! For real, I had ALL THE FEELS while reading this. Powerful, memorable, smart, funny, sad, real… this book was completely authentic and moving. There were so many ‘quotable’ things in this book. I just want to talk about the story so much but I went in blind and loved it all the more so I’ll not talk much about the story. What I will say is: 
~Theodore Finch is one of the most endearing characters I’ve ever read about ~This book made me want to wander, to get out and explore the world around me, or just the state that I live in ~This book made me think about my life ~This book hit important topics that people need to know more about and recognize (view spoiler)[ “I’m not a compilation of symptoms. Not a casualty of shitty parents and even shittier chemical makeup. Not a problem. Not a diagnosis. Not an illness. Not something to be rescued. I’m a person.” OH FINCH!!!!! (hide spoiler)] 
~This book will leave you emotionally drained, but it’s SO WORTH IT! All the Bright Places is a book that needs to be read. It’s a brilliant and beautiful and sad and everything! If this is the way all my YA books are going to be this year, I’m pretty sure I’ll exceed my 25 goal! “For what it’s worth, you showed me something, Ultraviolet- there is such a thing as a perfect day.”

  29. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    2.5 stars "He smiles out at the ugly trees and the ugly farmland and the ugly kids as if he can see Oz. As if he can really, truly see the beauty that's there. In that moment I wish I could see it through his eyes. I wish he had glasses to give me." Can someone give me their glasses too, because I can't see it. I don't see the appeal. I don't see what inspired thousands of reviewers to post sobbing gifs, and those that disliked The Fault in Our Stars to tote it as amazeballs when it's the exac 2.5 stars "He smiles out at the ugly trees and the ugly farmland and the ugly kids as if he can see Oz. As if he can really, truly see the beauty that's there. In that moment I wish I could see it through his eyes. I wish he had glasses to give me." Can someone give me their glasses too, because I can't see it. I don't see the appeal. I don't see what inspired thousands of reviewers to post sobbing gifs, and those that disliked The Fault in Our Stars to tote it as amazeballs when it's the exact same thing. (Heads up, I don't like The Fault In Our Stars or Paper Towns) I'll tell you what I do see: -Two overly quirky teenagers -Finch's borderline creepy obsession with Violet in the beginning. He practically stalks the poor girl, even though she's made it abundantly clear she's not interested. If this were a 2010s Paranormal Romance, we would be hitting the hooch and grabbing a pitchfork. -Cheap use of Virginia Woolf. She's like the patron saint of emo literary kids. You know, the kind that hangs out on Tumblr and reblogs deep, poetic lines over a blurred, black-and-white image. She is a famous dead writer (literary!), she committed suicide (torment!) but no one knows why (mystery!) -Insane The Fault In Our Stars overlap. Instead of cancer, it's mental illness. Instead of Gus helping Hazel to live life to the fullest, it's Finch. (view spoiler)[They close in the exact same way. Gus writes Hazel a letter, which she received in an unusual way, and Finch writes Violet a song, which she went through a treasure hunt to get. Both end with them contemplating their lives are forever changed. (hide spoiler)] They're both filled with obscure trivia and have their characters quote literature to demonstrate how clever they are. -The obvious plot twist -Romanticizing bipolar disorder. Black Iris does such a beautiful job of capturing the glorious highs and self-crushing lows of this condition. All The Bright Places airbrushes it, then put it in a bikini. Most of the novel is Finch's high, the rainbow-tinged happy phase. When he crashes, the episodes are still seen through a gothic filter, making it pretty and cool instead of dark and ugly. In Black Iris, the protagonist's mother destroys her marriage and family as a result of her disorder. You can argue Finch's life isn't great, but his mom and sister don't ever see Finch but great. They love him to pieces. His condition isn't the obstacle it is in reality. There are other ways to show his lows. Have him snap at Violet or turn mean. The whole book is centered around his love for her. It'd make more of an impact if his condition affected their relationship—more than it currently does. -Manic Fucking Pixie Dream Boy. The Fault In Our Stars has that too and All The Bright Places follows the formula to the letter. Finch's entire character arc is about helping Violet. (view spoiler)[We don't get his POV during the most crucial moments, when he's slipping away or committing suicide. It's all about Violet, how Violet reacts, how Violet grieves, how Violet decides to move on after Finch reaches from the grave to help her one last time. (hide spoiler)] I read the acknowledgements, where the author say she was partially inspired to write All The Bright Places because she was close to someone who committed suicide. And it draws an untouchable circle around them. Maybe that's what Violet's story is supposed to be, but Finch didn't have to be bipolar for it to function. No, it's there to add a element of quirkiness, make Finch "unlike other guys." Mental illness as a plot device.

  30. 4 out of 5

    exploraDora

    ***1 star, because I am not allowed to give this ZERO stars*** "Is today a good day to die?" Ugh. Hate at first sentence right there. I am surprised it took me so long to review this book, because I HATE IT WITH ALL MY BEING. (read it in 2015, reviewed it in 2019). I've honestly never been so revolted by a book, and I may have ranted about it every. single. chance. I got. Except here, apparently. 😂 I have so many issues with it, so here we go: 1. It glorifies suicide. Jennifer Niven makes suicid ***1 star, because I am not allowed to give this ZERO stars*** "Is today a good day to die?" Ugh. Hate at first sentence right there. I am surprised it took me so long to review this book, because I HATE IT WITH ALL MY BEING. (read it in 2015, reviewed it in 2019). I've honestly never been so revolted by a book, and I may have ranted about it every. single. chance. I got. Except here, apparently. 😂 I have so many issues with it, so here we go: 1. It glorifies suicide. Jennifer Niven makes suicide seem beautiful and romantic. AND I HATE THIS. Theodore Finch, the main character in this story, is suffering from bipolar disorder, and he eventually ends up committing suicide. I'm going to put it out there: I am not an expert in matters of mental illnesses. But I believe that it wasn't portrayed all too well here. I think that the main focus in this story was on Finch's highs and lows, and there were zero explanations or reasoning on why or what led him to take his own life. There was just a fun trail of clues and adventures left behind, all meant to help Violet (the other MC) learn how to move on. I strongly feel that this book could be harmful for certain teenagers, especially the younger ones, who may contemplate attempting suicide for the "they will all care when I'm gone" reason that this story is underlining. THIS IS NOT OK. It's not right to make it seem like counselors/family/friends can't be of any help when having such dark thoughts. The adults in this story are straight up fucking terrible and useless, by the way. I won't even hide any of this as a spoiler, because the book has been out for years, there's a movie coming out and oh well… I don't care. The book sucks, so if this is a spoiler to anyone: you're welcome, now you know how it ends, and you don't have to bother reading it. 2. The book is filled with a ton of YA clichés. I mean, first off - Theodor Finch and Violet Markey. These names alone make me roll my eyes so hard. Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster much? This book is basically a muuuuuch, MUCH worse version of The Fault in our Stars. Enough said. 3. This book offers no hope. What happens when a teen who is depressed or bipolar or suicidal picks it up, only to find that in the end, it doesn’t matter?? No one seems to see or care enough to help, and your love interest ends up being a better, more whole person because of your death. I think this book paints all these important topics in a negative light. 4. There are NO bright places. And no plot. The title is what made me think I'm in for a cutesy YA novel. Umm, yeah, no. It's only darkness in the end, and no one will ever be able to convince me that there's beauty in this story. It's a big fucking mess. The ending makes it seem like it's okay for those struggling with depression to just give up. There is no rhyme or reason to justify this in any way. Another issue I have with it is that there is literally zero plot in this book. Don't @ me. I cannot, for the life of me, understand how millions are loving All the Bright Places, when it's such a piece of crap. Six years have passed since I read it and the hate is still strong for this one!

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