Read from August 19 to August 21
I heard so many good reviews about this book, I thought it was at least a few years old, something like The Fault in our Stars, and then I realised it had been published in 2015. I guess time flies. So I thought I’m not that late for writing a review, let’s give it a go. I just bought it a few days ago, and once I started it, I couldn’t put it down (except to prevent the tears from ruining it).
All the bright places, by Jennifer Niven. “The story of a girls who learns to live from a boy who wants to die.” That’s what’s written on the (gorgeous) cover. The summary is but a few sentences, and I didn’t really know what to expect, except that it was apparently amazing and heartbreaking. Well I wasn’t disappointed.
The story in a nutshell, if you don’t know what it’s about: Violet Markey lost her sister in a car accident last year and is still feeling the guilt. She is in senior year and counting the days til graduation. Theodore Finch thinks about death, about his death, and about suicide. His schoolmates call him Freak. He has but a few friends. At school, he is on probation. His family is unstable. The book starts with the first day of what he calls “the Awake” that is, he is feeling better and going outside again. Incidentally, it is the beginning of the second semester. He meets Violet on the ledge of the bell tower of the school, about to jump. And he decides to stick to her. Finally, Violets learns to live again. But Theodore is drifting away.
My opinion: In the acknowledgments, Jennifer Niven says that she wanted to write “something tough, hard, sad but funny” and she sure did manage that. The story is extremely beautiful, and the characters are appealing. This might be my biased opinion, but really, I couldn’t help falling in love with Theodore Finch. (Really. Tall? Blue Eyes? Dark hair? How could I not fall for him?) I got really involved in the story, and even if the ending was a bit predictable, I couldn’t help feeling it abrupt, unexpected. I felt so empty after putting it down. I tend to cry a lot when I read books but this one got me on a whole new level emotionally… I think it changed me too. It is beautiful, and sometimes light, but it is also serious and important. It is a book about death, about high school, about friendship, about love. It is a book about accepting yourself, about carrying on. I don’t know. It’s just so powerful and significant. This book is so important. And yes, my heart was broken to a million pieces, but it was worth it.
If you haven’t read this book yet, I recommend you do so right now. And if you feel like your heart wasn’t broken enough, check out the author’s note and the acknowledgments. And in case you were wondering, I gave it 5 stars.