My Thoughts About All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Book Review #99)

The book is a story about sufferings told thru the perspectives of the main characters, two broken 17 year-old high school seniors, Theodore Finch, the school freak, and Violet Markey, the popular school girl. It starts when Violet tries to kill herself by jumping from a bell tower only to be preempted by Finch who also suffers from his own suicidal tendencies. The book then follows the struggle of both as they try to survive from their own lives. Violet, who is still mourning the death of her sister. The car accident she blames herself about. The car accident her family is still trying to move on from. The car accident that caused her to drift away and become uncertain about her future. Finch, a boy with a complex personality caused by different factors. A boy from a broken family. He suffers from depression who was later identified as a bi-polar disorder where at one moment we’ll see him as this boy full of humor and positivity then in a day it will switch to someone who’s helpless and desperate, like he has all the problems in the world.

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The book follows their personal lives, the complications of their relationship and their budding romance, the adjustments and struggles they had to do to be together and their struggles for their dreams. The book took me on a journey across Indiana thru their wandering project for their geography class at school where they went out of their comfort zones and where their relationship developed. From a field of bookmobiles, to one of the highest spot in Indiana, to a backyard roller coaster, to a top of a tower, with each journey came their fears and hopes that readers will connect to. Finch teaches Violet the value of life but he himself can’t overcome his own ghosts. It’s not an easy job to describe how mesmerizing this book without you reading it. This book needs to be read for you to experience the message I would like to relay and to feel how emotionally-gripping it is.

The book has this great balance between being informative and edgy but at the same time delicate and sensitive in handling two difficult and heavy topics – mental illness and suicide. The book talks about not only the people suffering from it but also the people around them. The book also has themes about loss, bullying and complicated family relationships that we’re also well handled. I am really astonished as to how the book was able to be full of heartbreaks but is also teeming with hope at the same time. At some point, I was totally overwhelmed with emotions that it became so hard to continue but you don’t have any choice because you want to know what happened next.

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

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I am always a fan of stories told thru first person point of view. The alternating viewpoints between Finch and Violet helps in even more understanding their characters, history and eventually their development making it not hard to connect to them. It’s not hard to get into the character’s state of emotion. Their unique voices offers insights to what they are really going through. The author writes beautifully with lyrical prose that she took me on roller coaster ride of emotions. The incorporation of literary references also made the dialogues even more haunting. It doesn’t try too hard to be gripping because it resonates.She created characters that I felt like they were not just fictional. I felt like they were people who you can easily encounter somewhere.

Some may not be a fan of the ending but I understand why it took that route. It made the book’s message even more stronger. Depression or mental issues should not be taken lightly as we don’t know what goes thru the mind of someone who undergoes it. It’s a straightforward account. Some wins and some loses. Some fights and some gives up. This book offers a great insight about the value of being tactful about the people close to us who may suffer the same situation. I kind of already anticipated the ending though I hoped it won’t end like that. The way to the ending is painful but totally insightful.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”
― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

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I did not expect that this book will be emotionally devastating. I have read some reviews about it and prepared myself but it took me by surprise. The book goes thru some phases from being sad and depressing to eventually being inspiring and hopeful. The book offers an honest and raw reflection about the meaning and value of life, of love and of hope.

I can now understand the hype with this book.

5 stars out of 5.

A movie adaptation of the book is currently in the works which will star Elle Fanning who will play the role as Violet. The actor who will play Finch is yet to be named. The screenplay will be by Jennifer and to be directed by Miguel Arteta. The movie is set to be released by 2017.

Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter
Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter

And yes, yes, yes! Jennifer Niven will be visiting the Philippines this May!

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What: Jennifer Niven Book Signing Tour

When: May 28, 2016, 1 p.m.
Where: Northwing Atrium, SM City Cebu

When: May 29, 2016, 2 p.m.
Where: 2L Mega Atrium, SM Megamall

Additional Details:
#NBSevents #JenniferNiveninPH Join New York Times bestselling writer Jennifer Niven, author of ‘All the Bright Places’, for book signing events on May 28, 2016 at 1 p.m. in the Northwing Atrium, SM City Cebu, and on May 29, 2016 at 2 p.m. in the 2L Mega Atrium, SM Megamall. Registration starts at 10 a.m. for both events. Only books purchased from National Book Store, National Book Store Express, and Powerbooks will be accommodated. The events are made possible in partnership with Raffles Makati, SM Megamall, and SM City Cebu. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@nbsalert) or visit nationalbookstore.com/booksignings for more details. Tag #JenniferNiveninPH to join the discussion.

To know more about the guidelines, click this Frequently Asked Questions about the event.

BOOK SPECIFICATIONS:

Author: Jennifer Niven
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Part of a Series: No
Release Year: January 2015
Publisher: Random House
No. of Pages: 388 pages

About the Author

45592By the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson (“If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win”), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven’t stopped… I’ve written nine books (#9 will be out Oct 4, 2016), and when I’m not working on the tenth, I’m writing the screenplay for All the Bright Places, contributing to my web magazine, Germ (www.germmagazine.com), thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

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18 thoughts on “My Thoughts About All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Book Review #99)

  1. I tired to like this book but it took me to a dark place after reading and that ending….one thing I will say is don’t recommend this book to someone that is dealing with depression.

    On the plus side Jennifer Niven writing style is beautiful just wish characters didn’t become their mental illness.

    Great review and I can certainly see why to you enjoy this book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I also did not expect that I’ll enjoy this book that much but when I started reading it, I was surprised to find myself to be so totally invested to it. I’m looking forward for the release of the movie too. 🙂

      Like

  2. I’m so glad to hear that you loved this one, Mark! Although I haven’t read All The Bright Places yet (but will definitely do so soon), I’m completely excited for Niven to visit the Philippines! She seems like a great writer and those quotes you shared are lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! Looking forward to meeting er soon too!
      I actually found the inspiration in creating book quotes from your blog. I creature a book blog feature where I create book quotes. 🙂 And of course, I always tag and credit you on every post that I make. 🙂

      Like

  3. So I have not read this book (despite it’s popularity) but I definitely want to read it someday. (And I had no idea it was getting adapted in a movie; I hope it’ll live to the fans’ expectations). And yay, you’re almost at your 100th review. Anyway, fab review, Mark! So happy to hear that it was important and moving as everyone claims it to be (despite you not enjoying the ending as much).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for noticing that I’m 1 book away for my 100th review! 🙂 I actually already read that 100th book and for a change it’s a non-fiction. It’s Between the World and Me by Tanehesi Coates. Gladly, I did enjoy it. One of the best books I read this year. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You chose a great book! I’ve only heard good things about that one; and I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! I think it’s relatively small if I’m not mistaken. I’m certainly reading it someday! 🙂

        Like

  4. I am deeply in love with this book, and with Theodore Finch. I also didn’t expect the roller coaster ride of emotions as I thought it was just your typical high school romance . The first half was funny, and idk how to say it… maybe youthful? And the other half was utterly depressing. I was in a book hangover for a month because of this book. I’m loving your reviews, keep them coming! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey, I’m currently reading it! And I’m actually enjoying. Libby is not THAT fat though. (I think she, and the people around her are only exaggerating.)

        Like

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