Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this compelling, exhilarating, and beautiful story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
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.
It’s been quite a while since I picked up All the Bright Places, and still, I cannot conjure up the right words to review it. The only thing you really need to know before picking up this book is that the title is very deceiving. It is incredibly evil, you see, because this book is not about all the bright and happy things. Sure, there are uplifting moments but I’d be lying if I said this book was about all that. I’ll also add that All the Bright Places has been described as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor & Park. Now, I hate X meets Y comparisons, and this one is no different. While I can sort of see the comparison, all three of these books are so different in almost every way possible, and that becomes evident once you read this novel (which I HIGHLY recommend you do).
Theodore Finch and Violet Markey may look like they have nothing in common at first, but when they meet at the edge of the bell tower, their lives are changed forever. The book immediately pulls you in because of the distinctly one-of-a-kind narrative voices that Finch and Violet possess. Everyone at school considers Finch a freak because of his strange behaviour and spontaneity. But underneath all that high school gossip, he’s really just a fun and unique boy who views the world a different way. As for Violet, her narration is much darker. She may be a popular girl at school but she counts the days instead of living them. She’s still grieving from her sister’s death which is affecting her harshly and she no longer knows where she stands in the world.
I wonder what it’s like to walk down the street, safe and easy in your skin, and blend right in. No one turning away, no one staring, no one waiting and expecting, wondering what stupid, crazy thing you’ll do next.
With dual POV stories, there is the risk of the reader finding one POV more interesting than the other. Admittedly, I found that Finch’s POV engaged me more–perhaps because I could empathise with him more than I could Violet. As a result, I wasn’t 100% engaged with Violet’s story arc, which was a shame. However, that is just a small quibble that I had, and soon got over with as the plot thickened and moved along. That being said, I did have another criticism which was that sometimes I was bored. In some places, a lot was going on, other times; not so much. I felt that the pace could have had more smoothing over. Other than that, this book was nearly without flaw.
I cannot finish this review without mentioning the prose. Jennifer Niven clearly has a gift, for her writing is utterly beautiful and caught me at the first page. I definitely won’t be hesitating to pick up her future novels because this debut of her’s screams even more potential for the future. Ms. Niven is an author that y’all need to be closely watching, because she’s sure to break more hearts (heck, let’s make that a million) further down in her writing career.
All the Bright Places will surely capture several people’s hearts (and crush them slowly) with it’s stunning prose, authentic characters and brutal honesty. This excellent debut is one that everyone should be giving a go, because honestly, this book is bound to surprise readers with the emotion that is poured over those pages.
Believe the hype.
~Thank you Penguin for sending me this copy!~
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