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review 2017-05-26 02:26
Book 31/100: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

This is one of those books that inspires complicated feelings. Is it possible to write a book about teens and suicide that doesn't inspire complicated feelings? I've certainly never read one -- but it's something writers need to keep writing about, and that we need to keep talking about.

My biggest qualm with YA suicide books is that I always fear they run the risk of romanticizing the issue, and that is particularly true when the suicide is contextualized within a romantic relationship as it is here. And so what made me most uncomfortable about this book was that Finch and Violet's suicide attempt in the same place on the same day was essentially reduced to a "meet-cute" (this isn't a spoiler, it's the opening chapter.) And the road-trippy aspects of the story also made the whole thing seem kind of fun and sweet and exciting rather than truly harrowing. The book didn't make me cry, which considering the subject matter seems like a bit of a fail.

At the same time, the things that I can be most critical about in this book can also be interpreted as some of its greatest strengths. Dealing with mental illness does not mean your entire existence is bleak, or that there aren't moments of beauty and adventure and wonder. It doesn't mean that life doesn't continue to unfold around you. I thought that Niven handled Finch's mental illness in a way that was believable and nuanced. I was less impressed by her depiction of Violet. Violet was damaged in her own way, still grieving the loss of her sister, but I kept feeling distracted by the fact that her parents didn't seem to be grieving along with her. In some ways they seemed too "perfect" and "together" for parents who had gone through the tragedy of losing a child, but at the same time it was nice to see some responsible, competent adults in a YA book.

My book club spent a lot of time dissecting how things could have been different if this or that circumstance might have been changed, and although the book loses points for not tugging at my heartstrings the way it maybe should have, it gets those points back again by being the kind of book you keep chewing on for quite a while after the final page has been read.

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review 2016-11-19 00:00
All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven 5 Ultraviolet Stars
"It's not what you take, it's what you leave."


I loved this book soooo much that it hurts. I hateeee Finch but I loved him more. This book is really very beautiful. i had it on my shelf for around an year but i just couldn't read it.. I always thought i should read it soon, but now...when it has been finished, i feel sooo incomplete, so empty that i think may be i could have lingered on that book a bit longer to make it stay with me. To make Finch and Violet stay with me a little longer.
This book make you think about life. About what we are doing with this beautiful thing we've got while someone is fighting for it every minute somewhere in the World. This book is about survival, about seeing the little things in life and cherishing them.

"You are all the colors in one, at full brightness." -Finch


This book will stay with me for ever.
Highly recommended to every single person out there.!
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review 2016-09-07 04:33
All The Bright Places
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

I really have no clue what to think of this. As a person who doesn't remember a time she wasn't suicidal to some degree, I can sympathize with these characters. I also feel for Finch because his family is so bent on turning a blind eye to the obvious mental illness he suffers from. My mom never admitted I was sick. When I was in a bleak or black mood, she would always say "it's just part of being a woman. Get over it." I went years without help and nearly drowned in the emotional turmoil before I got help. The thing that bothered me about this was how much of a bad influence Finch was on Violet while also being a good influence. I just feel like some of his behavior was dangerous. But bless his heart, he needed help. This book is on the local school district's required reading for high school, but I think PARENTS need to read this. Read this and talk to your kids. And pay attention.

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text 2016-09-03 01:57
Reading progress update: I've read 22 out of 378 pages.
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

This takes place in Bartlett High in Bartlett, IN. I graduated Bartlett High in Bartlett, TN. Funny, huh?

 

Also, I just scored a free bookmark thanks to the last forgetful soul that checked this book out. Sweet.

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review 2016-08-17 15:15
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

I don't read much YA these days; my sister and I have been discussing the possibility that we've "outgrown" the genre, but I don't want to contribute to the argument that YA shouldn't be read by adults. I just haven't found myself interested lately.

 

I needed an audiobook for a road trip and this popped up on Overdrive. I was surprised by how much I liked it. The audiobook was sometimes difficult to follow, as there wasn't a good way to differentiate between external and internal thoughts. I had a hard time deciphering what was being said aloud and what was being thought internally by the characters. 

 

I think this book is best read generously: like a lot of YA, the characters and their circumstances aren't always believable, but the core is solid. Having experienced severe depression and suicidal tendencies as a teenager, I felt that the depiction of these characters and their mental states were more accurate than any other YA "issue" book I've read. Actually, this book didn't feel like an "issue" book, and I think that's why I liked it so much.

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