This review was published in The Buzz Magazine
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. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?
Did you know somebody committed suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world?
In most cases, they don’t leave any clue that could lead to a reason for their actions. It may be love, it may not be; it may be failure, and extreme ones at that; it may be Monophobia (that’s an easy one – just seclude ‘mono’, pun intended). We are yet to judge if suicide is right or wrong, since it is relative. But the grief it leaves the loved ones with is irreplaceable. Now don’t let this deter you from reading further, we are indeed talking about a love story, though it’s much more than just that.
Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet under ‘extenuating circumstances,’ on the ledge of their sixth storey school bell tower. We’ll keep the ‘who-saved-whom’ for later, for you to read the book yourself. It just so happens that both of them meet at a time when their own lives were shrouded by the cloud of ‘extenuating circumstances.’ Violet had lost her sister to an accident, and Finch (as even I began to fondly refer him) was going through a lot of trauma. They met, and gradually started to peel the layers off each other. They embarked on a journey together, and their pit stops are beautifully designed to be etched in memory forever.
The writing is wonderful, Jennifer Niven weaves each chapter with care, and the chapters are assembled in perfectly logical manner. In my opinion, the book belongs to Theodore Finch; he’s the heart and soul of their story. You can hate him for few of the things he does, but mostly love him for the character he is. Since this is a Young Adult book, Finch speaks as one, and he explains everything in quite a matured way. Violet is as bright as her name, though she remains subdued in most parts of the book.
For people acquainted with American YA books, ‘All the Bright Places’ might appear as a fusion of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Paper Towns’, both by John Green. I wouldn’t agree much though – Theodore Finch and Augustus Waters are quite different and yet similar in some ways.
I liked this one and would recommend it not only for YA readers, but most others too.
My Rating: 4/5
About the author:
Jennifer Niven is the author of the New York Times and international bestsellers All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe. Her books have been translated into 75 languages and have won literary awards around the world. She grew up in Indiana and now divides her time between Georgia and Los Angeles. Find her at jenniferniven.com and on social.
Language: English, Genre: Fiction / Young Adult
Author(s): Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Puffin, Year Published: March 2015
Binding: Paperback, Edition: First, Pages: 432
ISBN-10 : 0141357037, ISBN-13 : 978-0141357034
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