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All the Bright Places Paperback – September 13, 2016
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From the Publisher
— Entertainment Weekly
“Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"In her YA debut, adult author Niven creates a romance so fresh and funny. . . The journey to, through, and past tragedy is romantic and heartbreaking, as characters and readers confront darkness, joy, and the possibilities—and limits—of love in the face of mental illness.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The writing in this heartrending novel is fluid, despite the difficult topics… Finch in particular will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page is turned.”
—School Library Journal, starred review
"Ultimately, the book, with narration that alternates between Finch and Violet, becomes Violet’s story of survival and recovery, affirming the value of loving deeply, grieving openly, and carrying your light forward."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Have The Fault in Our Stars withdrawal? Pick up this heartrending novel about a girl who vows to live with purpose after bonding with a boy who plans to end his own life.”
— SELF Magazine
"It’s touching, vibrant, and an impressively honest depiction of depression."
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Miami Herald Best Books for Children
GoodReads Choice Awards Young Adult Fiction Category Winner
A TIME Top Young Adult Book of the Year
A NPR Guide to Great Reads Book
About the Author
- Publisher : Ember; Reprint edition (September 13, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385755910
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385755917
- Reading age : 14 - 17 years
- Lexile measure : 830L
- Grade level : 9 - 12
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.44 x 0.86 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from the United States
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I do not think this book is for everyone. There are some big triggers. I do not think this is a book for those struggling with suicidal thoughts. It may be a book for those who know someone who committed suicide, but I question that too. There is nothing here that would make me say a teenager shouldn’t read it, but conversations should be had around it. There is light and love in this book but my my more overwhelming emotion was darkness and anger.
Ultimately, I’m glad I read it and I enjoyed the book, as much as one can with this difficult topic, but a few things hold me back from loving it.
I loved the premise of the story. I loved the feels that the circumstances the characters dealt with gave me. But that’s about it…
For me, the characters were flat. They didn’t show enough emotion given the situations that they dealt with in their lives. Violet doesn’t show much emotion around the death of her sister, the death of Finch, the way her family doesn’t talk about Elenore, the way her friends treat her or Finch. Finch is just as bad, he doesn’t show much emotion over the demise of his family, or the way his dad treats him, and not about the fact that his mom is just a shell who drinks wine and doesn’t care about her children. They bottle it up and that leaves the reader with nothing to relate to, or feel. Feelings your characters have is a way for you to reach out to your reader and pull them in. Make them want more. Essentially, you’re their feels dealer and you must give them the first hit to pull them in and keep them coming back for more. In order for you to do that you have to have some emotion for the reader.
There is so much going on with these characters and I don’t feel like the author even touches it. I understand that teen suicide is the main focus of the story, but there is more to it than that. The bipolar disorder, and anxiety, depression, they are just mentioned almost as a way to explain how the characters may have gotten to that point. The book just kind of ends and there is no epilogue to tie up how the characters are doing. Finches parents, where did Violet go to school, did her online magazine take off. There was so much I was left wondering.
I was told by several people that this book was a must read and that I would love it. I guess my over-all thoughts were that for me this book was lacking. I expected and wanted so much more from this book and these characters, and at the end of the day it just didn’t do it for me. So, I’m giving this a 3 star rating. This is a subject that should be read about and should more prevalent. There needs to be an awareness amongst teens about suicide. They need to be told about the signs and what to do if you think someone you know is contemplating suicide.
Most importantly remember if you’re ever in crisis and you need someone to talk to just text 741741 which is the number for the Crisis Text Line. You will be able to speak with a trained Crisis Counselor.
Top reviews from other countries
It deals with difficult issues of loss and surviving and left me in a puddle of tears, but I would recommend this book to anyone, it gives hope to those who have suffered loss.
I read lots of books but this had such an impact I think I'll have to have a few days of mourning before picking up another.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story Jennifer Niven.
The story starts where finch is on the bell tower attempting to suicide and violet comes their and saves his life and becomes the hero of the school after this, even though violet is also willing to kill herself due to death of her sister Eleanor one year back, both violet and fich get into a school project being a partner and they wander different amazing places across indiana and gradually violet learns to live from the boy who wants to die, both are in love and wandering but finch is not well with his suicide attempts and one day they found swollen death body of finch in lake and violet shatters again but she completes the project with the traces of finch.
They don’t, and that’s the mainspring of the story.
Niven tells it powerfully, through the voice of each of the two in turn, not always in strict alternation, but always one or the other taking the narrative on or commenting on the same events from another point of view. They frequently use the present tense, giving the events they describe a powerful immediacy. It’s a tribute to Niven’s skill that she was able to create two distinct and believable voices in this way, and let them interplay so effectively.
The first voice we hear is that of Theodore Finch, known as Finch, but by the many who dislike him in his high school as Theodore the Freak. There is a hint of why he’s viewed as freaky when he tells us ‘I don’t remember climbing up here. In fact, I don’t remember much of anything before Sunday, at least not anything so far this winter. This happens every time – the blanking out, the waking up… I can’t tell you what was different this time around, only that when I woke up, I felt deader than usual. Awake, yeah, but completely empty, like someone had been feasting on my blood.”
Finding out just what he means by being asleep or awake is the main discovery we make about Finch as we work our way through the book.
Violet Markey, on the other hand, is popular with everyone. She had, indeed, been a cheerleader until her life was blighted by a single, stark, shocking event for which she blames herself and with which she can’t come to terms. It is her pain that drives her, too, up to the top of the bell tower where she will find Finch, starting the relationship in which they learn so much about and from each other.
At first, I was concerned about what kind of book I was going to read, not least because it was recommended to me by my thirteen-year old granddaughter. I wasn’t sure we had the same taste. Was this merely another of those cookie-cutter high-school kid stories? Young people at the end of their school days coming to terms with the urges that overtake adolescents, with the responsibilities of entering the adult world, with the hopes and disappointments around them? Were we going to get lots about makeup and baseball and love and sex in long conversations in coffee shops?
But 'All the Bright Places' only shares its background with those boilerplate tales. It is something far deeper and far more compelling: an account of two young people trying to deal, in completely different ways, with two different types of suffering; of their finding joy and hope and disappointment and despair; of handling them with humour and wit and insight. It’s an immensely funny, deeply poignant and strongly inspiring book which tells us a great deal about much we need to understand, while both entertaining and moving us as it does so.
Above all, it’s well worth reading. My granddaughter was right.
I just couldn't find myself connecting to the characters in the same way that I have with other love stories. Violet especially felt very underdeveloped, and I just couldn't bring myself to care about her relationship with Finch as much as I could have.
The story was obviously intended to be an emotional read, but I just didn't get there. It is great that the authour is talking about mental health, but I just felt that with a bit more depth it could have had a much bigger impact.
I won't cover the plot, nor will I go into much detail. It's not necessary. What I can tell you, as someone who sometimes enjoys a light YA read (at 29yrs old), has a long and continued history with mental health problems and who - much to my regret - rarely find books which pull me in and take me down with them, this one took me by surprise and ended up drawing me into a world which felt familiar and yet so wonderfully created to seem new.
The novel covers mental health, that much is obvious, and the intricacies some sufferers find themselves tangled within; it offers to the reader two young people with very different lives who connect and create a deep (and beautifully cultured by Ms. Niven) bond through difficult and sometimes dark circumstances, likeable characters who I came to love deeply by the end (particularly Finch, whom I could identify with on almost every level); it also brings a sense of hope amidst all of the gritty, complicated corners, even when you don't expect it to.
I was charmed, to the point where I bought it yesterday, finished it last night and am going to read it again after I finish this review. What can I say? Ms. Niven's easy, flowing prose and the exquisite twisting of this story have me sold entirely.
Take a risk if you're looking for an easy read with a lot of bite. Go into it with no expectations, and come out of it wishing for so much more, in so many ways.
A final word: take care reading if you've experienced bereavement of a close family member, mental health issues or suicide ideation. It can cut a little close to the bone at times, even for a YA novel.