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All the Bright Places Paperback – September 13, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Violet Markey is on the ledge of her school's bell tower, six stories up, and frozen in terror. Theodore Finch, the Freak, stands on the ledge nearby. Before she can panic, he calms her down and gets her back on solid ground. He even lets everyone think she's the one who talked him out of jumping. Violet, until recently, was a popular cheerleader and Finch has a well-earned reputation for being manic, violent, and unpredictable. But Finch won't let their encounter rest. He's suddenly everywhere Violet goes and even signs her up as his partner on a "Wander the State" school project. As the two drive around Indiana, Violet begins to see the lame tourist attractions through Finch's eyes, and each spot becomes something unique and special. He pushes and challenges the protagonist, and seems to understand the effect her sister's death made on her. But though Violet begins to recover from the devastating grief that has cocooned her for almost a year, Finch's demons refuse to let go. The writing in this heartrending novel is fluid, despite the difficult topics, as Niven relays the complex thought processes of the two teens. Finch and Violet, with their emotional turmoil and insecurities, will ring true to teens. Finch in particular will linger in readers' minds long after the last page is turned. Give this to fans of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park (St. Martin's Pr., 2013), John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012), or Jennifer Hubbard's The Secret Year (Viking, 2010).—Heather Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“At the heart – a big one – of “All the Bright Places” lies a charming love story about this unlikely and endearing pair of broken teenagers.”
— New York Times Book Review
“…this heartbreaking love story about two funny, fragile, and wildly damaged high school kids named Violet and Finch is worth reading. Niven is a skillful storyteller who never patronizes her characters – or her audience.”
— 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 2015
A Miami Herald Best Books for Children 2015
GoodReads Choice Awards 2015 Young Adult Fiction Category Winner
A TIME Top Young Adult Book of 2015
A NPR 2015 Guide to Great Reads Book
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
This is a story of a girl saved by the boy who couldn't be saved himself. It's such a beautiful tale. Incredibly honest, gritty, moving and profoundly affecting. Possibly life changing. Probably even life saving.
I want to tell you about the plot. About Theo and Violet. About how they met, how their lives began to intertwine with each other, wrapping themselves around one another and creating the most breathtaking symbiosis of all times. I want to tell you about their feelings - for each other, for their families, for the rest of the world. Their fears and struggles and dreams. Their wandering project, all the places they've visited, all the things they left behind, all the post it notes and their meaning. I do want to tell you about it all, but at the same time I don't. I just can't. You need to experience all that by yourself. This book demands it. There's simply no other way.
To me, this book is perfect. The more I think about it - and I do think about it a lot - the more I understand. The more I understand, the more I appreciate it. Its gentle beauty, its insightfulness and sensitivity in handling such incredibly difficult subjects, its message - everything about it is perfect. The writing style (so lyrical, so transcendental, so compelling), the literary references, the complexity and all the underlying themes and messages... You don't always see all these things right away, you don't always catch what passes between the lines, but later on, when you go back and think about certain events, the meaning of certain thoughts and conversations, it really hits you hard and renders you speechless. It knocks the air out of you, quite literally.
I'm not gonna lie to you, this book sneaked up on me. I wasn't prepared for how much this story would affect me, the pain I felt while reading the final chapters was almost physical. It weighed down on me, making it harder to breathe. I realized where this story was going and I didn't want to get there. It was excruciating. But also oddly beautiful.
What more can I tell you? Read it. You really should.
This is young ADULT fiction; the appropriate audience is high school aged children and older. The novel is emotionally wrenching, but is also over dramatic at times, especially with bullying. The cliché popular group says unthinkable things to Finch, with no reprimand. Readers should consider the mature topic of suicide that is present in the novel before reading. This book is helpful for bringing awareness to suicide and opens the discussion to an otherwise controversial. This book may also aid readers to understand what may be going on in the minds of those who are suicidal, and also in the minds of those left behind from death and the grief and guilt they experience. Overall, readers will grow close to the characters, especially Finch, and will be grasped with affection while cheering them on.
That being said, throughout the book, I felt like there was an underlying theme of hope- that together, the two of them could help each other.
The ending felt to me like a bait and switch. And I'm afraid that it might give the impression that Finch had no other way out.
The obtuseness (if that's a word) of all the people who should have supported Finch was beyond ridiculous.
And for as much as Violet struggled with the pain of losing her sister, the way Violet handled losing Finch didn't make sense to me.
That being said, I felt like there were some really good parts too.