Book Review: All the Bright Places

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” 
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

Book Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publication Date: 2015
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Mental Illness
Goodreads Rating: 4.21 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

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.

1. All of the feels, all of the time. This book was so good y’all. I haven’t read true YA in MONTHS (which, holy moly for me…), and this was a great jumping point back into it. It was poignant, it was real, it was… It was so beautifully written, as you can see by the quotes down there.

2. But mental illness, y’all. This biggest downside of this story was the refusal to acknowledge the pretty serious mental illnesses going on here. Finch is very obviously bipolar. He “goes asleep” for weeks on end, then wakes up and pushes his adrenaline to the point of killing himself. There’s no median for him. Yet, his family just accepts this as normal behavior, even when he goes missing for days on end. Maybe Niven was trying to make a point about mental illness? It was truly the most frustrating thing about this novel.

3. Just not so sure about the ending. And I really, really don’t want to get spoilery here, but… I was with this book. I was so, so into it. I read it in one day. But the ending just.. It just wasn’t right. It was not supposed to end that way. And I’d hate to ruin it for y’all, but if you want to stop at the end of the second section, you will save yourself heartache and frustration.

This book is not a light read, but it is beautifully written and makes you feel ALL OF THE FEELS.
“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.” 

“When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?” 

“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.”

“The great thing about this life of ours is that you can be someone different to everybody.” 

“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 bump in the ground can feel higher than a bell tower if you’re standing next to the right person.” 

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