Review Blog

May 01 2015

All the bright places by Jennifer Niven

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Penguin, 2015. ISBN 9780141357034
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. This contemporary read follows the relationship between Violet Markey and Theodore Finch, an unlikely pair who realise they need each other more than they thought. Violet and Finch first meet at the top of the bell tower at school, where one of them is planning to jump. One saves the other and their beautiful yet intense romance starts from there.
Niven paints these two very different characters strikingly. Violet is the once popular girl at school who has retreated from her friends and her boyfriend following the loss of her older sister. Consequently, she cannot wait until graduation when she can leave it all behind. Finch however, does not care what people think about him. He is crazy, free, and erratic, but he is on a downward spiral. Finch comes from a broken home and is suffering silently in ways that no one can understand; no one but Violet. Whilst Violet is dealing with her sister's passing; Finch himself is fascinated by death and explores all the different ways that he could die. This pair of teenagers find each other when they need someone most, but it is Violet who must fight to save Finch from his worst enemy; himself.
In her debut novel, Niven explores the themes of loss, grief, suicide, and issues surrounding mental health. Despite these topics being delicate for young adults, Niven touches upon them gently, and explores how mental disorders and loss can be overcome with help from loved ones. Fans of John Green's The fault in our stars and Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park, are bound to lovingly devour All the bright places.
Emma Gay

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