Saturday, December 30, 2017

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Pages: 388
Rating: 💜💜💜💜
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository
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. 

I'm not sure what I think of this book. It is simultaneously a heart-breaking and uplifting story of love and loss and I really have no idea what to think of it. There were parts of it that I adored but now on reflection there were a couple of things that I did not agree with at all.

Things I loved:
  1. The whole travelling and adventure plot of the book. I love going on adventures to different monuments around the world so to see it in this book was incredible. I loved the descriptions of each place and I got intense wanderlust from it.
  2. The mental illness representation in this book was actually pretty good. Okay, it wasn't great but it was pretty incredible. The funny thing (possibly not funny but kind of) is that it deals with two different types of mental illness, PTSD and bipolar, without making it very obvious.
  3. The writing style was incredible in this book. I flew through it and actually managed to finish it in a day. The chapters alternate between Finch and Violet which leads to an interesting reading experience as they are both so different. Finch is a raw ball of energy that has no limits whereas Violet is calm and gentle, just trying to get through each day.
  4. The fact that nothing particularly special happened throughout the course of this book set it apart from all the other YA books I've read recently. It was just a book about two people doing ordinary things and living their lives.
Things I didn't like:
  1. I thought the relationship between Finch and Violet was a little abusive. Finch would 'force' Violet to do things with him and then leave her months on end without talking to her. I understand that he wasn't in the best place mentally but I do think that more YA books need to promote healthy relationships.
  2. Both of the characters became their mental illnesses at certain points in the book which is also not a healthy message to send to young people. Neither of them seemed to have a life outside of their feelings so it became hard to identify with them. Finch was literally always consumed by his mental illness and Violet dipped in and out. I would have loved to have seen both the characters as humans rather than mental illnesses because it would have made the story more interesting.

It wasn't the best book in the world, but I didn't hate it like some people did. I loved the whole plot and premise of this story but I felt it could have been executed better. If you do suffer from any mental illness this book might not be the best read for you as it does romanticise suicide and depression, but it is for you to judge. Personally I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun adventure contemporary with a darker undertone.

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