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All the Bright Places Paperback – September 13, 2016
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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The beloved New York Times bestseller that Entertainment Weekly described as sparkling and says get s under your skin You won t soon forget this heart wrenching unflinching story of love shared life lived and two teens who find each other while standing on the edge Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning Theodore Finch is fascinated by death Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself but every day he also searches for and manages to find something to keep him here and alive and awake Violet Markey lives for the future counting the days until graduation when she can escape her small 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 six stories above the ground it s unclear who saves whom Soon it s only with Violet that Finch can be himself 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 A do not miss for fans of Eleanor Park and The Fault in Our Stars and basically anyone who can breathe Justine Magazine 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 The New York Times Book Review A heart rending stylish love story The Wall Street Journal A complex love story that will bring all the feels Seventeen Magazine Impressively layered lived in and real Buzzfeed com
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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.
Where do I start? For all the reviewers who say this book is a rip-off of The Fault In Our Stars, I can understand the sentiment, but I disagree. It's a book about teenagers dealing with death and finding each other in the midst of their pain. That is where the similarities end to me. The two main characters are intelligent teenagers in the information age, so they can Google quotes and full passages of books. They are not pretentious SAT-vocab-using teenagers. These characters were so much more relatable to me than Hazel and Augustus.
Violet is recovering from the death of her sister, a death she blames herself for since she directed her to the bridge where the accident occurred. She gets out of doing most school work due to the "extenuating circumstances". She appears fragile and is not expected to participate in life until we meet her. Her parents are just now trying to get her to begin to participate again. She is doing so unwillingly until she meets Theodore Finch.
Finch is different, but he doesn't know why. He used to be friends with the bullies, but as you grow up and the differences begin to separate you from the pack, they no longer can relate to him, and what is different must also be wrong. They call him a freak and he lives up to the name. Constantly trying on new identities to see which one fits, Finch focuses on death (suicide in particular) as a means to control his day to day living situation. While Violet's parents are involed (but trying to let her live her own life), Finch's parents were horrible people. He took the brunt of the abuse from his father growing up, and yet still can't get over the fact that his father left his family to create a new one. His mom has shut down and notices nothing around her while his older sister is his parental proxy at school. His younger sister is largely ignored and trying to make sense of the world where it seems like only bad things occur.
These two characters meet at a pivotal moment in their lives. Theo attaches himself to Violet and she can't shake him, despite all her efforts. He knows all too well how she is feeling, and takes responsibility of her rejoining the living. It gets to the point where finally Violet doesn't want to shake him. And then, maybe she starts to have real feelings for him. They begin to "wander" their state together, exploring the interesting and the unusual.
I kept hoping for a happily ever after, where he saves her and she saves him right back, but real life isn't always that neat and pretty. Depression is common in teens, and so many times it is chocked up to hormones and high school. I think the author does a good job in representing the different teenagers found in school, and put even the secondary characters to good use in the story. This is not a book that you can read and remain dry-eyed. It is an important story to tell, and it is geared towards the audience that most needs it.