All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
‘You have been in every way all that anyone could be. . . . If anybody would have saved me it would have been you’
All the Bright Places is a story that needed to be told, even if it hurt.
Since this is a review, below is spoiler central, if you haven’t read the book, don’t read any further. You have been warned.
Trigger warning also, this book touches on depression, suicide, and abuse. This is touched on in my review.
All the Bright Places follows Violet and Theodore, two teens trying to deal with things that were out of their control. Violet lost her sister in a car accident, and in turn stopped living, and Theodore suffered from mental illness but when he was awake he was bright, adventurous and a perfect fit to make Violet feel alive. This story is summed up perfectly on the front cover, ‘the story of a girl who learns to live from a boy who wants to die’.
This book is young adult mixed with contemporary, and it was beautifully written from our two protagonists perspectives. It gave a complex look into the mind of a young boy suffering mental illness. Although sometimes he lived in dark places, this did not define him, he was light, lovable and the impact he made on Violet was such a beautiful read. I loved how he was unapologetically himself, he was such a wonderful character that I wanted to protect.
I liked Violets character development throughout. She was a young girl that was once popular, that suffered more loss than she should have. I didn’t know if I would like Violet at the start, but I appreciated the growth she went through and how her character ended up being able to grieve and start talking about the loved ones she lost. I think it is a very real step in grief and I am glad Jennifer captured it within this book.
Alright, now for the deep stuff and that ending.
I want to note quickly that this book was completely out of my comfort zone when reading. I am drawn to fantasy, but after a massive reading slump I wanted to read something more contemporary based in the real world. I don’t regret a thing, but at one point I did nearly put this in my DNF pile. This had nothing to do with the book, and more to do with myself as a reader. I find these stories are hard because they are so real, and I escape to books for relief from the real world. I want magic, happy endings and adventures that don’t leave me crying in a corner, but here I was sobbing quietly on my bed.
This book showed me that I can’t keep hiding from endings that I don’t like, because some stories do break your heart, but that doesn’t make them less important.
Honestly, I can’t give it five stars because as I mentioned it’s hard for me to read these books, but that is definitely on me, not on the quality of this book. This book was beautiful and heartbreaking, and in terms of plot and characters I would absolutely recommend it.
Favourite Moment: The wandering… I loved every moment of their wandering.
Favourite Quote: ‘She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can’t help thinking she’s more than that’.