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Review: ‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven

I received this book for free from publisher unsolicited in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer NivenAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 6th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: publisher unsolicited
two-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.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Chapters/IndigoThe Book DepositoryAmazon CanadaGood Reads


review

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Heard amazing things about this one.. But then again hype is overrated. I wasn’t expecting to be bowled over by it either. So when the blurb mentioned it Eleanor & Park meets The Fault in Our Stars.. Well I really had low expectations, I disliked both of those books. I’m sad to be one of the black sheeps.

Told in dual point of views from Violet, a girl who lost her sister in a car accident and Finch, a boy who is obsessed with death, they find each other at the top of their school’s bell tower on day. Paired up for a school project, they realize that the journey is just as important as the destination.

I’ll start off with the things that I enjoyed.  The wanderings and journey to places in Indiana, and leaving a mark at each place? That is one fun school project. The characters are fully developed even though I found their thoughts to be all over the place.

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Now for the bad.. Finch is one quirky interesting boy. He is intelligent and snarky. Though he has a little obsession with being put into distinct labels, he invents himself every day and becomes that person like for example, Nerdy Finch or Athletic Finch. His family life is unstable with an absentee mom and a father who is physically abusive. I wanted that side to be developed so much more. He never talked about it and wanted to just forget. He literally runs away from his problems taking off at various times to go and run around his town. Which is a good thing because he’s obviously trying to get out of a bad mood. I found him to be like a maniac-pixie-dream-boy? Does that make sense?

Violet on the other hand, is obsessed with the past and her sisters death. Even though she also doesn’t talk about it, she tries to be normal again and it only makes her more sad. She is mean to him. Not wanting to be nice to him in front of her friends? Also yelling at Finch when all he needs is support? When Violet confronts Finch and automatically wants him to get help, made it worse. Then she completely ignores him and moves on with her life? What?

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I didn’t find their love to be romantic at all. It was pure instant love. One minute they’re classmates and the next, they’re making out. Um okay. And since I wasn’t a fan of the romance, it even harder to like the rest of the book. The two didn’t even treat each other that well. Finch felt like a stalker, and Violet was mean and didn’t other standing up to her own so-called friends.

This isn’t about depression too much, it’s there but I felt it was more like a book that caters to people who have survived a loved one’s suicide, Jennifer mentions this in her Author’s Note in the back. I was never a fan of books about the journey and not the destination. I’m also sad that the ending had more of a plot then the ENTIRE book..

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I had a lot of trouble with this one, I even wanted to DNF it at one point. But alas, I’m no quitter. It did get loads better. The lack of plot was what got to me. The characters have strong unique voices, but other than that, I was waiting for something to happen. And it did in the end, but it was too late. I still want to see the movie adaptation because I really like Nicholas Hoult. It’ll be interesting to see him as Finch.


quotes

Come here often? Because this is kind of my spot and I don’t remember seeing you here before. (6)
Gentlemen are rare. They’re like virgins or leprechauns. (34)
I am not perfect. I have secrets. I am messy. (49)
Never bullshit a bullshitter. (58)
I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it. I learned that not everyone is disappointing. (105)
I guess you can be yourself, whatever that means—the best and the worst of you. And they love you anyway. You can fight, but even when you’re mad at them, you know they’re not going to stop being your friend. (128)
And sorry wastes time. You have to live your life like you’ll never be sorry. It’s easier just to do the right thing from the start so there’s nothing to apologize for. (129)
Before I die I want to know a perfect day. (136)
You know, you’re a lot friendlier when we’re by ourselves and no one’s around to see us together. (148)
What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good? (168)
I’m broken, and no one can fix it. I’ve tried. I’m still trying. I can’t love anyone because it’s not fair to anyone who loves me back. (227)
It’s hard to describe, but I imagine the way I am at this moment is a lot like getting sucked into a vortex. Everything dark and churning, but slow churning instead of fast, and this great weight pulling you down, like its attached to your feet even if you can’t see it. (267)
I am disappearing. Maybe I’m already gone. (277)
I can only tell you how I felt. Ugly. Disgusting. Stupid. Small. Worthless. Forgotten. It just feels like there’s no choice. Like is the most logical thing to do because what else is there? You think, ‘No one will even miss me. They won’t know I’m gone. The world will go on, and it won’t matter that I’m not here. Maybe it’s better if I was never here.’ (351)
It’s like that stuff is happening to someone else because all you feel is dark inside, and that darkness just kind of takes over. You don’t even really think about what might happen to the people you leave behind, because all you can think about is yourself. (351)
The thing I realize is that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave. (376)

rating

2/5

two-stars

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Wrap-Up: January 2015

  2. Kelsey

    February 4, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    I wasn’t really interested in reading this one to begin with, and after your review I probably won’t. It just doesn’t seem like one I would enjoy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • giselle

      February 4, 2015 at 12:16 PM

      It was probably the over-hype..Thanks Kelsey for reading the review

  3. K

    February 4, 2015 at 11:20 AM

    I’ve heard such good things about this book, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it soon as I don’t really like reading books with suicide in it. I’m sorry you didn’t like this all that much, Giselle! Great review! 🙂

    • giselle

      February 4, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      Yep, it’s about suicide and depression. Sometimes I don’t like reading them either, but I was in the mood to read something intense. Thanks K for reading 😛

  4. Natalie @ Browsing Bookshelves

    February 4, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    I liked this one but I didn’t love it. I thought Jennifer’s writing was beautiful, and the characters were interesting, but like you I wish other aspects of their lives could have been explored a little bit more. I thought the wandering was awesome, and the ending was okay. It didn’t really emotionally impact me or anything like that…..Still trying to gather my thoughts about it before I write my own review.

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