Sunday, 21 August 2016

All The Bright Places: A Book Review

For those of you who know me in real life, you will understand just how crazy my emotions get. Whether it's a soppy film, something I read online, or even just a cute message that I receive off someone, it's guaranteed to have me bawling. That's just a fact.

However, very rarely do I cry at books. I've always loved reading, ever since I was a little girl and don't get me wrong, I've read some pretty sad stories over the years; they just haven't been gripping or relatable enough to make me cry!

All The Bright Places was a completely different story. Being referred to as 'The next The Fault In Our Stars' by the Guardian, I can honestly say that I whole-heartedly agree with that statement.

A girl is learning to live from a boy who wants to die.

Theodore Finch, also known simply as Finch, is a teenage boy, who wants to take his own life. He doesn't feel as though anyone can help him and it seems to be that suicide is the only way out, in his opinion.

On the other hand, Violet Markey is left torn apart by her sister's death that was the result of a tragic accident they were both in. She feels as though life is pointless in their town without her older sibling to lean on and it seems that she also can't find a reason to stay there any longer, as she's longing for the future to come knocking at her door. She's desperate to escape the painful memories.

They meet one afternoon on the ledge of their school bell tower. Finch is ready to jump and end his life and Violet, the girl he has caught glimpses of in the school hallway is standing up there with him. They essentially saved each other, which was quite extraordinary, considering it was the first time they had met.

As the novel progresses, it very quickly turns into a love affair between the two. They work on a geography project together, where they have to travel to different places of attraction that are in their local town of Indiana. They meet up quite regularly, in secret and they end up growing very fond of each other. Both of them are broken, yet Violet manages to save Finch from committing suicide and Finch tries to care for Violet and make her feel happier and loved.
It really is like The Fault In Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park - All The Bright Places is the perfect in between.

The chapters alternate throughout the book, so it starts off with Finch and then it goes to Violet and it tells the tale through both of their minds and both of their lives. I think that by writing it this way, Jennifer Niven really allows you to connect with and understand both characters for who they really are beneath the exterior.

Over time, Violet begins to blossom into a much happier person. She seems willing to take risks, she appears to be full of life and it's almost as though she has learnt to surpass the grief that she was feeling after losing her sister.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Theodore. His issues continue to haunt him and no matter how much of a blast he is having with Violet, he can't seem to shake them.

Be prepared to bawl your eyes out whilst reading this book, because I know I certainly did and I'm not the only one. It talks about mental health and suicide in such a gripping, heart-wrenching way, but it felt so close to my heart and that's what really made me love it even more. I felt as though I was living the lives of Violet and Finch alongside them and the ending definitely took me by surprise - I wasn't expecting it at all!

At the end, Jennifer includes helplines for teenagers that may be struggling, regardless of what country they're from. There's a number for the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and I honestly do think that was such a good idea of hers.

Considering it was Jennifer Niven's first young adult novel, I think she honestly has blown the socks off of quite a large number of people, particularly teenagers. There's going to be a movie sometime next year as well and I honestly can't wait for that, but I'll definitely have to have some tissues at the ready.

Both Jennifer and this book have quite literally changed my life and I am forever grateful for her for writing it in such an admirable, touching way. Thank you Jennifer. Truly.

Have any of you read All The Bright Places? What do you think about it?
Lots of love always,
Jade xo

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