All the Bright Places

Finished All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.”

When I read this book in September of 2014, I felt like there was already a lot of buzz for this book.  It probably doesn’t hurt that there’s going to be a movie or that it’s compared to Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars.  It probably makes you roll your eyes, right?

But don’t.  It’s absolutely deserved (and you probably know how much I absolutely love those books).

In the letter in the front of the book, we’re told that we will never forget Violet and Finch.  I was skeptical, because I read a lot of books and most of the time, a few months later (sometimes a few weeks later), I won’t be able to remember the main characters’ names unless I absolutely love the book.  I’m willing to bet that I’ll remember Violet and Finch years from now, and for the rest of my life.  This is one of the few books that I want to re-read over and over, and one of the few books that I don’t really want to lend people.  I mean, I want you all to read it, but I want the book to stay with me.  In case I need it later.

This is one of those books that I don’t really know how to review.  It’s smart and sweet and sad and wonderful.  So I guess it’s like life, right?

This book will absolutely break your heart, but it’s worth it.  And it’ll fix it, too.

Anything that shows you how hard the world can be but still leaves you with the message to “Make it lovely” is worth it.

Highly recommended.

(Also, you may remember that I had an interview with Jennifer Niven in November as part of my Books to Watch For sequel.  I deleted two paragraphs because of spoilers.  Here they are:

“One thing I learned firsthand: losing someone to suicide is different from losing someone to cancer or a car accident or a stroke—or any other “acceptable” way to die. There is stigma attached to suicide. I didn’t feel as if I was allowed to grieve for this boy I loved because of how he died. If I was made to feel that way after losing him, imagine how hard it was for him to find help and understanding when he was alive.

Suicide is something we need to talk about. Talking is important, talking is necessary—who knows who might be listening. We need to make people feel safe enough to come forward and say, “I have a problem. I need help.” If we don’t talk about suicide or depression or mental illness, how can we expect anyone to reach out for help when they need it most? I want readers to know that help is out there, that it gets better, that high school isn’t forever, and that life is long and vast and full of possibility.”)

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