You make me love you…
My eyes are heavy with all the tears I have shed; my nose is stuffed from the weight of crying and my mind is numb in the way it is when something takes everything from you and leaves you with nothing, with a blank space.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is funny and honest and heart-wrenching. I saw so many reviews and comments that gave me a pretty clear idea of the general direction of the story, but somehow, I was still shocked. The ending punched me, hard, and I was in complete and utter disbelief.
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.
After braving a rain/snowstorm to snag an early release of this book, when I got home all I could do for a good while was ogle the book. It’s just adorable. And even better than the cover was what was hiding beneath:
Ohmygosh, just looking at the cover is making me want to cry all over again.
I loved Finch in this book. He was just…awesome. Like inexplicable-crazy-quirky awesome. I think my first impression of him was, word for word, “lmfao what?” with my second being “LOL seriously, what??” He was just such a great character, and the things he thought about, like the epigraphs, were really interesting. He had a great sense of humour and I loved his different personas.
See, I excel at other, more important things – guitar, sex, and consistently disappointing my dad, to name a few.
Violet was also pretty great, herself. She had a quieter humour than Finch (I don’t anyone is quite like him, really) and she had this great ironic teenager voice that I love hearing. She was smart and actually made pretty good decisions 90% of the time. She felt very real, not like she was a character but like someone was telling me about this person they knew in real life.
I am not perfect. I have secrets. I am messy.
I felt like Finch’s fascination with death and dying was a little underplayed throughout the whole book, which I actually don’t mind entirely because it really gave the ending a sucker-punch. At one point, I wasn’t sure whether he actually wanted to die or not (like the description suggests) and that on-the-fence feeling kept me engaged and interested to see which decision he would make.
The tone of the book, and the writing style are great. Nothing ever felt awkward and I felt present in the moment of the book. I don’t think I was really expecting to cry (even though I’m an easy crier) although a lot of people said they did. Around the time things were getting a little sad, I was like, “Yeah, this is sad, but…” and then it hit me and I was bawling and sniffling and wondering how I was going to sleep with a wet spot on my pillow.
I think All the Bright Places was an amazing read, and it really has an important message about suicide and survivors of suicide. I think this is definitely a story that needs to be equally told and read, again and again, until people more than know, but they understand that, as Jennifer Niven writes:
If you think something is wrong, speak up.
You are not alone.
It is not your fault.
Help is out there.