Tuesday, August 25, 2015

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Book Review

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven 

Reading Group Rating: Sensitive Subject Matter/High School+

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Given Summary: 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.

Cover: The cover of this book is blue, like Finch's bedroom after he redecorates and his eyes.  It's also covered in post-it notes like Finch's room.  The post-it's are a huge part of this book and eventually become the missing piece to the puzzle that finds Finch.  One of the post-it's has a cardinal on it to represent the one Finch wanted so much to save but couldn't (Finch is the cardinal) and another has a violet on it to represent Violet (duh) and also the flowers Finch brings Violet and the ones he plants at the scene of the accident.

My Review: Okay...This book...I feel like my heart has been ripped from my chest and then tried to be put back.  I never cry at books or movies, but this one nearly got me.  I will forever be scarred by this book.  And I'm kind of okay with that... 
I literally just finished this book, that's why ^^^^ is there.  It's like my official reaction to this book.  But in all serious, this book is truly amazing.  Completely different to the typical happily ever after I usually read (I know now why I prefer those, I can't handle the emotions going through me right now) it's major theme was mental health which I think is a really important thing to talk about.  There's a part in the novel where Finch is afraid to talk about being bipolar because he doesn't want to be labeled.  And I think a ton of people feel this way.  They've already been labeled a freak or a weirdo or a slut or whatever, they don't need anything else.  I also thought how interesting it was how the chapters started.  It was either Finch or Violet's name, but then there was something else.  For Finch it counted how many days he was Awake.  However, it also felt like a countdown until he was Asleep again because the need for the count made you feel like it wouldn't last forever.  For Violet it started with a countdown to graduation.  She needed to have something to look forward to in her life, something to keep her going.  However, after she throws away her calendar it just starts to say the day it is.  Violet no longer needed something to aim for, she learned to live for the present day and not the future.
This book is so frustrating because Finch teaches Violet (and you) so many things about life and not only how to live and enjoy it, but also to deal with the bad things.  He tells Violet to write down the bad things, but instead of putting them on the wall rip them up.  However, he's the one who need the most help to see that life is worth living.  And it's so sad because I feel like that's always the case.  It always seem to be the kids who maybe have nothing to complain about.  And Finch knows his life could be a lot worse.  It reminds us that mental illness isn't just for kids who have hard lives, it's something in our brains.  It's how we're hardwired.  Something isn't right and we have thoughts we shouldn't be having, but that doesn't make us bad.  It's okay to ask for help.
Something else I found interesting was Violet and getting in the car with Finch.  It's been nearly a year since her sister died and she hasn't been in a car.  You have to imagine that her friends and family offered to drive her places.  Maybe they didn't push the subject too hard because they knew she was still suffering so they just took her decline and went with it.  But Finch didn't really need to push her too hard either.  She just got in the car.  And he was pretty much a stranger.  One who liked to drive fast.  Which he didn't do too much when Violet was in the car with him, but the fact that she got in the car shows how much trust she had in him.
There are so many themes that weave in and out of this novel.  It's definitely one for a book club.  There is mental health, bullies, post-it notes, quotes, death, wandering, water, cardinals, family flowers, etc. the list goes on.

So after you finish the book and you don't really know what you're feeling because so many emotions are flying in and out of you at a mile a minute (I couldn't have been the only one) you go on Jennifer Niven's website and discover that not only is Germ Magazine an actual thing, but so is EleanorAndViolet and just like that BAM! 50 more emotions are added to the fly list. 

Smile!  I'll Talk to you soon!xxx

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