Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES - Jennifer Niven {Review}

TITLE: All the Bright Places
AUTHOR/s: Jennifer Niven

PUBLICATION DATE: 6th of January, 2015

Recently, best selling author Jennifer Niven popped into the Philippines. Unfortunately, (1) I haven't been able to attend her signing and (2) I still haven't read her book *cries*

Fast forward to a few weeks later, I finally had the chance to get my hands on this beauty! It's one of the titles that I've patiently waited for ever since I learned about it. Just by its plot, I knew All the Bright Places would be a book for me. And I definitely was NOT mistaken! :)

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.

Fun fact for those who don't already know: I have a weird fascination for things that has to do with suicide. Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT and have never been suicidal. I just think that there's a lot of misconceptions about suicide and depression that other people "glamorize" it as something "trendy" or something that probably makes someone look "cool". Reality check: Suicide and depression isn't fab.

Like Jay Asher's Th1rteen R3asons Why and Amy Zhang's Falling Into Place, All the Bright Places allowed me to get into the head of people experiencing these kind of mental illnesses. Although there were moments when I felt like the characters are "too fictional," they were still able to draw real emotions out of me. Though not fully relating with them, I got the chance to feel what they were going through and just by this secondhand experience, it seems like their dark vision of the world is truly difficult.

The highlight of the book was definitely its characters. Finch and Violet are two different people belonging to the opposite sides of the social spectrum. Yet, they were both able to reach a common ground that bonded them together and allowed them to see the brighter spots in their dark world. I was truly happy for the both of them because after all that they've been through, you'd want to believe that they deserve some safe haven with each other.

However, despite everything, Jennifer Niven did not fail to remind us readers how the real world works. I've already known the ending before I've even read it but as I was going through the pages, I DID NOT expect what happened. After *that* I needed a break to get a hold of myself and my feels. JUST BECAUSE.

Going back, I can say that even if he wouldn't rank high in my list of top book boyfriends, Finch is definitely one of the most complex characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. Just as you think you already got him, he does things that completely blows you off your feet. He's adorable and sweet and charming yet he could also be deep and thoughtful and would not hesitate to tell you the things you need to hear even if you don't want to. Despite his imperfections and flaws, you just couldn't help but root for him. However, there were times when he was downright creepy and stalker-ish especially during his initial encounters with Violet. Haha!

Meanwhile, I just really think that Violet *spoiler* has a reeeaaal rotten luck. In just a couple of years, she lost two important people in her life. Just as she was recovering for the first one, she is immediately dumped back into sorrowville. But if there's one thing I admire about her, it's her courage. Courage in facing the life ahead despite of all the losses that the world throws at her. If she isn't to be considered as brave and strong then I don't know who else. *end of spoiler*

Another thing I liked is the fact that Finch and Violet are real geeky and awkward sometimes. That part when they were throwing googled Virginia Woolf quotes at each other was entertaining :) Also, I think it's my first time to read about a character who blogs. It's interesting to see how bloggers really spent time and so much dedication to the things that they do. *bloggers FTW!*

Other things I'd like to point out is the accuracy of the description I've read: "A cross between John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park" Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of John Green *hides* but I definitely love Rainbow Rowell that's why I am so happy that Jennifer Niven's writing is a nice balance between the tones of the two previous authors. Her words are simple yet could be so deep at the same time. She didn't need to use challenging words in order to get her message across; she lets her characters do the talking. 

I want to say more but I'm afraid words wouldn't be able to justify the feels in this masterpiece. All there's left to say is: READ THIS BOOK. Though read with caution for this may be able to change your views in life completely. You've been warned.

“Because we all have to die someday. I just want to be prepared.”  -Finch

"I am not perfect. I have secrets. I am messy. Not just my bedroom but me." -Violet

"I learned that there is good in this world, if you look hard enough for it." -Finch

"You need shoving, not pushing. You need to jump back on that camel. Otherwise, you're going to stay up on the ledge you've made for yourself." -Finch

"The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it's the small things that count." -Finch

"Sometimes, Ultraviolet, things feel true to us even if they're not." -Finch

"You know what I like about you, Ultraviolet Remarkey-able? Everything." - Finch

"The thing I realize is that it's not what you take, it's what you leave." - Violet

"I am rooted, but I flow. All gold, flowing." -Virginia Woolf

It's been a while since I last read a book that made me feel so much feels that it made me cry. My tiny reservations are nothing compared to the overall emotions brought out by this book! 

Geez. The emotional ride I have experienced here is unbelievable. So thank you Finch and Violet for letting me into your world. And thank YOU Jennifer for bringing to life two of the most memorable characters I've ever encountered.

Now I know the answer when my friends ask me "Why do you enjoy books with this kind of themes?" It's because books like this one exists :)

Four point Five out of five rating for Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places!

4.5/5 Rating! :)

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