All The Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Knopf
Source: Bookstore
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic, Romance
Spoilers: Mild

Rating: ★★★★☆
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Finch and Violet are an odd pair, or at least it seems that way from the outside. Finch is a boy who just doesn’t fit in. He’s constantly tying on new personas, getting in trouble, and disappearing for days on end. Violet is popular, pretty, and smart. Everything every girl in high school wishes she could be. But the outside can be deceiving, and Finch and Violet find that they have a lot in common one afternoon atop the bell tower at school. This is one of those contemporary YA books that gives you all of the feels, and makes you really want to get up and do something.

The book starts off a little slow, but that shouldn’t deter you! The slowness is only setting up for what is to come and when the plot thickens and turns, it happens fast. It is told from the views of both Finch and Violet, alternating back and forth for the most part. Niven thankfully tells us who is speaking when, and what day it is in their world. I find that helpful to place the characters, and what is going on in their lives in the context of the whole story. The characters are relateable for everyone. Even if you don’t click with Violet, a girl with a tragic past, who has given up the things she once loved most, you may be able to relate to Finch, the guy who just doesn’t fit in and has a hidden past as well. It was refreshing to meet two characters who didn’t fall instantly head over heels for each other. Granted, they do end up together, but not for a while and not until some serious groundwork has been laid.

Niven is a great author, and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read a great introduction into contemporary YA, or just wants to get out of dystopian land for a bit. The themes, while heavy, probably won’t make you cry as much as Fault in Our Stars did. It’s not going to make you want to start a revolution a’la Hunger Games, but if it moves you like it did me, it’ll make you step back and take stock of your life and what you really love to do. And once you do that, it’ll help push you to get started on whatever it is that you’ve pushed away for whatever reason. Plus, it may make you a little bit more loving towards any siblings you may have. I’ve got to admit it made me like mine just a little bit more.

Final Thoughts:
All the Bright Places is one of the subtly moving books that changes you without you really noticing until it is over. It’s well written, transports you to their town, and is easy to get lost in. It is one of my top picks for anyone wanting to get started in this genre. Violet Markey and Theodore Finch are two characters you won’t soon forget, if not for their pluck and courage, but for their wit and ability to quote literature in a way I can only envy. Four stars and a ribbon to you, Jennifer Niven for creating such a delightful book.

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