Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I really loved this book, I’ve read it twice already and I know it’s one I will return to in the future 🙂 This is Jennifer Niven’s first YA book, and it has been getting a great response from readers.

All The Bright Places

All The Bright Places

Jennifer Niven

Penguin, 2015

YA (Contemporary)

Violet is counting down the days until graduation. Finch is counting the days he can stay ‘Awake’, out of the deep depression that leaves him helpless. Violet is popular, Finch is seen as a freak. They meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school. They talk each other down, and thus begins an unlikely friendship that slowly develops into something more.

Both Violet and Finch are strong, believable characters. Violet is depressed following the death of her sister Eleanor in a car accident the year before. With Finch’s help she learns to stop fearing the world around her. Finch is a more complex character, eccentric and unpredictable.  He is bipolar, but the novel resists labels. As Finch says ‘They explain people away as illnesses’.  Both Finch and Violet are troubled, but there is much more to them than their problems. Finch reinvents himself as a myriad of different characters and is a talented musician, Violet is a writer who ran a popular website with her sister.

The novel’s title is a reference to Dr Seuss’ The Places You’ll Go and Niven references a number of books, Virginia Woolf’s Waves. This is an honest and beautifully written book, and the characters feel very real. It is an emotional read which is both moving and uplifting. It is a book about noticing the good in everything around you, all the bright places there waiting to be discovered. A book that I will certainly be reading again and again.

Some of my favourite quotes from All The Bright Places:

“You are all the colours in one, at full brightness.”

“She is oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorous. The same elements that are inside the rest of us, but I can’t help thinking she’s more than that and she’s got other elements going on that no one’s ever heard of, ones that make her stand apart from everyone else.”

“sometimes there’s beauty in the tough words – it’s all in how you read them.”

Originally reviewed for LoveReading4Kids, check out the other reviewers’ opinions on All The Bright Places here.

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8 thoughts on “Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

  1. The quotes. Oh my gosh. I’mma cry right now. I can’t wait to read this one but at the same time I know I’m going to turn into mush at the very sight of it. Sigh. Sad books man, they get to me. Much like sad people. Sad people get to me too.

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