Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review and Giveaway: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published: January 6, 2015
Publishers: Knopf
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

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.
My Thoughts
True Fact: “Every forty seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide. Every forty seconds, someone is left behind to cope with the loss.”

I was looking for a YA Contemporary book to get me back into the swing of reading YA and wasn’t sure what to pick up next. After hearing that All the Bright Places was a combo experience of The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park, I was sold. I absolutely loved both of those books.

Well, for a good 25% of this novel, I just wasn’t feeling it. I almost called it quits because I was a bit taken aback with the levity the book assumed with such heavy topics as teenage depression, suicide and bipolar disorder. I’m not even coming close to trying to diagnose Theodore Finch, but I can confidently attest to the fact that he clearly needed help. So suffice it to say, this story took some patience. However, after a certain point, the characters and story wormed their way into my heart and truly grabbed hold of my emotions.

All the Bright Places is an odd combination of many things, but the elements that moved me most were the family dynamics Finch was forced to endure. His father was absolutely awful and when the full scope of his emotional and physical abuse came to light, my heart broke for Finch and that’s when I decided that I needed to finish his story.

“I’m fighting to be here in this shitty, messed-up world.” ~ Finch

Violet and Finch collide on a dark day at the top of a bell tower. Both are contemplating whether or not to jump, but a chance connection has them retreating for steady ground. Later, when Violet and Finch team up for a school project that involves wandering their lovely state of Indiana, they uncover not only some of the many wonders of their hometown, but also a side of each other that no one else is privy to. These two characters might have collided during one of the most darkest times in their lives, but it was clear one showed up to the save the other.

“For once, I don’t want to be anyone but Theodore Finch, the boy she sees. He understands what it is to be elegant and euphoric and a hundred different people, most of them flawed and stupid, part asshole, part screw-up, part freak, a boy who wants to be easy for the folks around him so that he doesn’t worry them and, most of all, easy for himself. A boy who belongs – here in the world, here in his own skin. He is exactly who I want to be and what I want my epitaph to say: The Boy Violet Markey Loves.” ~Finch

I adored happy Finch. I applauded nerdy sort of brilliant Finch. I embraced spiraling out of control Finch. But most of all, I broke for the Finch who felt he had no other choice. This is a tough story to handle when all of those emotions come colliding and you know it’s impossible to save a fictional character. When those feelings overcome me, I know a connection was made.

Violet Markey had her own demons to battle after surviving a fatal car accident where her best friend/sister was killed and Violet was left behind to make sense of the aftermath. By the conclusion of this story, I can’t remember a heroine more fierce, loyal, strong and absolutely praise worthy than Violet. She endured a tragic event only to later find herself falling in love with a broken boy that talks her off a ledge.

There was a moment in this book when Violet cried out for help. She did what a teenager should do, which was to reach out to an adult for help… not for herself but for Finch. I loved her fiercely in that moment and throughout the rest of the book. Huge applause for this character! That was the moment this book became five stars for me. Five solid and hard earned stars! I’m disappointed that the adults in this novel did so little to respond to that cry for help. What a let down!

So what did this book do for me? It reminded me how much I love YA. There were moments in this story that created some deep connections with the simplest of phrases and the most innocent of actions. That’s what I love about YA books like All the Bright Places. You don’t have to have constant drama, alpha characters or shocking moments. It’s the subtle flow in a story that creates an adventure I enjoy experiencing. Brilliant story with a touch of sadness and a pound hope.

“You make me happy, whenever you’re around I’m safe inside your smile.
You make me handsome, whenever I feel my nose just seems a bit too round.
You make me special and God knows I’ve longed to be that kind of guy to have around.
You make me love you, and that could be the greatest thing my heart was ever fit to do…”~Finch

5 Snowflakes
Song choice
If this sounds like a book you would like to read, WinterHaven Books is giving away an ARC edition of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. Simply follow us via GFC and Bloglovin' and don't forget to fill out the Rafflecopter for a chance to win. This giveaway is open to US Resident only.

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  1. It took a while for me to get into the book too, but once I the book got in, it was really all great! Amazing review and happy reading! :)
    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor: BLOG || VLOG

  2. I have been wanting to read this for a while now and your review certainly added to that desire. I've seen copies of this at the grocery store I go weekly - I might have to buy a copy even though I have promised myself not to buy any books before I'm moving. But oh well....
    Thanks for sharing this Arlene! :)

  3. Wow this book sounds amazing! Great review!

  4. this looks and sounds awesome!!! thank you for sharing :)

  5. I really liked the "road trip" aspect of this book, but I might be biased since I'm from Illinois and have been to some of those places.

  6. I love the road trip aspect, and truth be told, it kinda makes me want to road trip around my home state to find all the bright places in it.

  7. I didn't know this was being filmed, how exciting! It sounds really emotional and like something I'd love.

  8. This books sounds nice, i don't like very dramatic books, specially now because is very common and a lot time is unnecessary , love the road trip, they are the best, so fun

  9. Wow, this one sounds really emotional and great. I can't wait to read it!

  10. I am in love with the book. Don't have a physical copy since it's not available in my country. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. I've heard that this book is heartbreakingly good from EVERYONE. I cannot wait to read it then cry myself to sleep. Hah.