All The Bright Places (Not So Bright) - Book Review - Blogging Competition

Title- All The Bright Places

Author- Jennifer Niven



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.


"You make me so lovely, and it’s so lovely to be lovely to the one I love."

When I first picked this book, I really didn’t expect it to be so poignant as it is. It’s a heartbreaking novel that would literally make you shed down all the tears left in your body and one would still have the capacity to fill another bucket with tears.

Everyone in the school has an impression that Theodore Finch is the casual, rebellious and weird person and  was bullied and called a ‘freak’ since they ‘knew’ he didn’t really care. He had a deep manner of thinking and every other time he would refer to different facts he knew about and tried to connect himself with it, mostly suicidal. Most of his references are of people who committed suicide, renowned people, and musing about various ways to die. He has many sides and often these dark thoughts are lurking his mind even though he won’t show it.

"She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can't help thinking she's more than that and she's got other elements going on that no one's ever heard of, ones that make her stand apart from everybody else."

Violet Markey is considered this ‘popular’ student but has been cut off from her old life since her sister’s death which still haunts her. When Finch meets Violet Markey, it’s like the beginning of a whole new life for both of them.

It’s a bitter-sweet love story of two teenagers dealing with depression but not the same problem. I love the development of characters and by the end I was able to connect with them so well as if I knew them in reality hence it became a little difficult for me to part from them. Honestly  I wasn’t as connected with Violet as I was with Finch. I wasn’t able to explore Violet’s mind as much as Finch’s.

There are a lot of fun parts in the books, where you can’t help but laugh. Then the sad parts are the ones that just ripped my heart and I really have no explanation as to how this happened, no book has ever made me as sad as this book did. One of my favourite parts in the book is when Finch helps his little sister cut out all the sad and unpleasant parts in their mothers’ books because “they shouldn’t be mixed with the good.”

"What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good?"

One cannot deny the reality portrayed in the story like the depressed thoughts of Finch and the days when he’s simply not aware of the world around him, every vague and vivid detail about his conscience is perfectly described. His inner conflicts are reflected in every word you read, his happiness when he meets Violet and the ‘bright places’ he finds in his extremely dark world. I also love how Niven used one of Finch’s childhood memories as a metaphor for his present state. I really cannot write it here in case it’d ruin the story for those who haven’t read.

I wish there was a warning at the beginning of the book, because this book completely grips at your heart and it can be very triggering for many people as its effects can last for a long time.  I’m still very much affected by the book, one can’t help but cry. So for all those who think it’s just a book on teenage love, think again, it’s not always flowers and rainbows.

All The Bright Places has been compared a lot with The Fault In Our Stars because both books comprise of two teenagers who are going through the same difficulty, but I would suggest you don’t compare these two books because they are completely different stories. Don’t go by ‘The next The Fault In Our Stars’ on the cover page because it isn’t. It’s like comparing two siblings who are completely different from one another but are still expected to act like clones as they share the same blood. No. These two books are not the same, and two different stories, unique in their own way.

I won’t be saying much, though I really want to (like the metaphor bit) so I would just say that I do love the book but at the moment I don’t as it has evoked some feelings in me that I had been trying to avoid for a while. I still couldn’t believe a fictional world could have affected me in such a way. Jennifer Niven has certainly done a great job writing this book which seems to me like a sad piece of poetry but still a beautiful one. I want to end this review with one of the quotes (this book is full of beautiful quotes) I liked-

"The thing I realize is, that it's not what you take, it's what you leave."

(For more quotes- )

  4 1/2 out of 5

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