I’m back today with another book review of a YA contemporary novel I read in March that was poignant, real and confronting. It raised some very important themes of teenage suicide and depression that I believe aren’t discussed enough in adolescent fiction. As my title promises, it will be 100% spoiler free so don’t be afraid to read on. Also, at the end of this post, you will find my affiliate link to Book Depository if you’re interested in purchasing a copy for yourself or for someone you believe will benefit from reading this wonderful story…
Violet Markey has just lost her sister in a car accident. She survived but Eleanor didn’t. Theodore Finch suffers from depression and has a difficult family life. The pair meet on top of the school bell tower where they had both been planning to jump and so their story begins. As their relationship develops, Violet finds more and more reasons to live whilst Finch (as he’s referred to in the novel) is pulled into a deeper, darker spiral. During their school year, they are set an assignment that requires them to explore beautiful places in Indiana. Violet & Finch partner up and go on epic road-trips together, writing in their journals about what they find and leaving little tokens as they go. Along the way, you learn more about the inner-workings of Finch’s mind as well as his resentment towards his angry father. Violet on the other hand, used to co-write with her sister on a teenage website they set up together. After Eleanor’s death, she creates a new website named Germ Magazine where any and all teenagers are allowed to contribute articles about life, love and inspiration. The cool thing about this is, author Jennifer Niven has actually set up a real Germ Magazine featuring all of these things and more. I looked it up straight after reading and found some of the posts really helpful. Click here to check it out.
Violet Markey: Violet is described as quite beautiful and somebody that is part of the cool clique at school. She wears her sister’s chunky glasses after her death and refuses to drive or go in the car with anybody. She is a detailed writer with a passion for real issues teenagers face. When she meets Finch, she is very withdrawn and embarrassed to be seen with him. You will understand why in a moment. There was quite a lot of character development with Violet. You get to witness her slow transformation from broken to healing. I didn’t find her quite as interesting as Finch but she grew the most out of the two.
Theodore Finch: Finch is one of my literary crushes. He is quirky, poetic and a lover of music. Finch frequently changes his persona to keep his life interesting and to serve as a distraction from reality. For example, for a period in the book, he is ’80’s Finch’ that listens to music in that era and dresses to suit the time. One of his most admirable qualities is that he doesn’t care what people think of him and flaunts these varying identities at school which is why Violet feels self-conscious in his company. Finch is a hopeless romantic and his love for Violet is evident in the way he fights to be near her at all times. Even though his world is falling apart around him, he makes her happiness his priority and does what he can to protect her from the darkness.
FYI: There are many more characters in this novel but for the purposes of this post, I think it best to focus only on our two protagonists.
THE WRITING STYLE
This novel is written from the perspective of both Violet and Finch. It is wonderfully descriptive and heartbreaking at the same time. At one point, Finch lists all of the reasons why he should be happy and grateful but depression won’t allow him to truly feel them. This writing is real and raw. I believe Jennifer Niven captured the plight of depression and hopelessness really well. It shed light on very serious issues like suicide, grief and mental-illness. I believe anybody, suffering or not, should read this book. Despite the dark themes, this story is also quite light, funny and full of silver-linings. The adventures Violet and Finch share throughout Indiana made me want to explore my own corner of the world. It gave me an appreciation for my own backyard and the natural treasures just waiting to be found.
“IT’S NOT WHAT YOU TAKE, IT’S WHAT YOU LEAVE…”
This book made me cry and laugh. It was incredibly touching and one I would recommend to any reader. It is aptly named ‘All the Bright Places’ because in my interpretation, light can be always be found in the darkness. I particularly loved the way it ended and how Jennifer created a love story from two teenagers that really needed one another in the saddest time of their lives. Please check it out. You will not be disappointed. Also, the film adaptation will be released in 2018 starring Elle Fanning as Violet. I am very excited to see it.
Click here to purchase a copy from Book Depository.
Let me know in the comments below if you have read this book or want to read it. Did you love it? Why or why not? I welcome your thoughts.
Peace & Love xoxo
Disclaimer: This post contains links to my Book Depository Affiliate which helps fund my blog, I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own