All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Penguin (paperback), 2015
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
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.
Is today a good day to die?
WHAT I THOUGHT
All The Bright Places made me roar and weep like a big baby. For the last fifty pages or so, I was a sobbing wreck with snot running out my left nostril. I needed a big hug when I was done. It’s safe to say that I loved this book. I’m not sure if ‘love’ is an appropriate way to describe how I feel about a book that is so dark, sad and bleak. To say this book got under my skin and will haunt me for a long time is an under-statement. All The Bright Places is incredibly, unbearably sad at times but there is also some moments of joy and a sprinkle of hope.