Review: All the Bright Places

It’s rather apt that this booked arrived at the start of suicide week in the U.S. as that’s the over arching theme of the novel. A theme that was captured so beautifully and tragically by Jennifer Niven. I’ve struggled for a long time to find a good, sit-for-hours-and-not-leave-my-bed kind of book and I’m glad I found this one.

All the Bright Places is about two teens brought together by fate. They met on the ledge six stories above the ground at the Bell Tower in their high school on a rainy day… I think that is a rather beautiful encounter.

 

A lot of people dislike the book because they say it is too similar to The Fault in Our Stars. But, I don’t think it has to be an original story to be an enthralling read. Perhaps if I’d read The Fault in Our Stars, I would be less excited about All the Bright Places, but in a way it was nice to read something without comparing it to another. I can appreciate its merit on its own.

What I love about this book is the simplicity. Nothing irks me more than a novel with 15 different story arcs and I end up so confused at the end that I don’t quite know what’s plotting and I spend more energy figuring out who’s who than immersing myself in the characters.

Finch and Violet are both easy to relate. I think that is possibly the key to a good novel. If it can get the readers to imagine themselves in the shoes of the characters, then it’s got the right hook. They’re quirky but they seem real enough that makes you think the quirkiness isn’t just something drawn upon by the author to differentiate her protagonists from the rest. They are emotional, powerful, raw. 

Before I die I want to know a perfect day.

Niven really captured the struggle of a boy on the brink of losing hope. He was fascinated by death in his every waking moment. As for Violet, she was battling to reconcile with the death of her sister and couldn’t find meaning in her own life. The two of them made a wonderful complement. The story unfolded in many little ordinary events that built up to a crescendo. The ending was one of the most heart breaking moments in all of the literature I’ve read.